The End of Cash


2019…The year I stopped using cash.

The evidence:

  • I dump nickels and dimes into a coin bank. Last year, I accumulated $16 and this year, only $8.
  • My bank no longer gives out wrappers for rolling coins. They have to accept coins, though – even obsolete pennies! (which ended production in 2013)
  • I intended to pay for items under $5 by cash, to save local merchants the Interac or credit card fees. But they don’t care anymore – they just turn the payment machine toward me.
  • My favourite independent coffee shop has no issue with me buying a $2 coffee and adding a tip on a card.
  • I am no longer the old lady who counts out exact change! If everyone uses tap, it speeds up lines in busy stores and everyone is happier.
  • I paid for a jacket with cash, and the “cashier” (sales associate?) had to call a supervisor because they hadn’t learned to take cash or make change!
  • I can pay for parking anywhere via credit card or app.
  • If I split the cost of a gift or a meal with family or friends, they’d always rather give or receive money by bank transfer.
  • I am guessing the young people in my life would rather get e-transfers for their birthdays than cash in a card! (Although no complaints either way, yet) 😊
  • All my charitable donations are set up through direct debit, automatic credit card billing or payroll deduction.
  • Likewise all my bills.
  • I finally found a banking plan with unlimited free Interac transactions and e-transfers.

And the closing argument:

  • The last time I withdrew cash to keep in my wallet “just in case,” it sat there until I re-deposited it to the bank a month later!

I think I am officially responsible enough to view electronic transactions as real money.

Do you use cash?


  1. I have moved over to card payments for the vast majority of things now. My hairdresser, window cleaner and a couple of market stalls and charity shops I use only accept cash, but that’s a small percentage of monthly spending.

    Contrary to many things I’ve read I spend less if I use my card, cash just runs through my hands, so it’s money saving as well as convenient for me.

    • In my area, I can think of very few places that take cash only now – flea markets, small donations and fundraisers. I buy less when using a card, too – maybe when I have cash, it feels like there is money waiting to be spent!

  2. PK

    Interesting. For 2020, I am switching to the cash envelope budgeting system to manage all my non-fixed expenses. I have talked myself into believing that not having my card on me, will help me limit spending on non-essentials. .. we’ll see.

    You have to share this top secret banking plan with free Interac and e-transfers. 🙂

  3. I mainly go cash free. But always need some cash handy – the school canteen, sausage sizzle, fundraising at work, splitting the bill, an occasional cash only shop which are mainly tiny traders or Asian food shops. Problem is I rarely have cash on me. Last two times my sons used my cash and repaid me with direct transfer. “Thanks but not helpful as I find it just as much bother to get cash as you do.” Local ATMs have closed down as govt introduced a no-fee regulation. So my only way is to get cash out when at the supermarket or find a cash machine.

    Without cash it is easier to control populations. And when the computer system or electricity goes down, you can’t buy anything. So I always want to use cash more. But cards are easier. So I don’t. I do worry what may happen if cash totally goes.

    • I’m not worried about cash going, as long as we all use the same currency. I am worried about alternative currencies, whether it is bitcoin or new ones created by huge companies like Facebook.

      I don’t use Apple or Google Pay. The first time I had to use my card with Square pay, I felt nervous about it! (It was the only way the vendor had to pay). So many competing payment methods. I’m surprised that PayPal hasn’t found a way to roll out its services to offline vendors.

  4. We’re almost there here in the U.S. but we still need to use cash in many places and for many things when we’re traveling, especially in Japan. I honestly still find it too easy to spend when I’m using a debit or credit card, although that’s gotten better over the past few years. Still, going cashless is a worthy goal – hats off to you!

    • Ah, apart from airfares and hotel rooms, we always use cash when we travel outside the country! Where we go in the UK, a lot of small vendors don’t take credit cards. Plus, I hate paying the currency exchange rate on my credit card – it’s never as good as the rate to buy cash. Using ATMs in different countries is not reliable – they use lots of different networks, some of which aren’t Interac-compatible. (Interac is the comprehensive debit payment and cash withdrawal system in Canada). I can’t picture ever going cash-free outside Canada because it would require an internationally-compatible system with fees that merchants were willing to pay. Not much chance of that! Or, dealing with only big vendors – and what is the point of that when travelling and wanting to get local experiences!

  5. I’m the opposite — I use cash for everything, where possible. I don’t do ANY banking online, unless PayPal transactions count(?), and if a service does not have any other option but to pay by card, I simply refuse the service.

    I am self-employed, so my income comes from various contract sources, and most of my payments come via paper check. I have only one direct deposit, from which I have direct transfers to my 401(k), which I suppose would qualify as electronic banking.

    I keep cash on hand – always – in both large and small bills, and the idea of going ‘cashless’ is… 😱

    It’s not something I’m even remotely prepared to contemplate.

    • Well yes, PayPal and direct transfers are electronic banking. I can see why you’d trust them and not others – the transfers are within your own bank, and PayPal protects your banking information from being exposed to vendors. Assuming you trust PayPal with your banking details!

      I have no issue paying bills or buying things by credit card online – I go with reputable web sites, and I know I can dispute any charge to my credit card provider and they will deal with it. (It happened once and I was pleased with the service). I rarely leave my credit card details on file with web sites but I have made some limited exceptions. As you might guess, I check my account details and statements regularly. I’ve only had one “bad” payment since I started electronic banking (a vendor took a monthly payment out twice) but it was resolved in 2-3 days. Quite an acceptable error rate over 10-15 years! I probably had worse experiences dealing with cheques lost in the mail or claimed not to be received. I had a look at my cheque register – I have only written one in the past 3 years! I’m surprised that your business transactions still take place by cheque and I wonder how long that will last.

      My parents’ bank stopped issuing and updating “passbooks” this year and you have to pay extra for paper statements to be mailed to you ($2 each!) versus checking your account online. Not surprising since the cost of a stamp is $1.20. So everyone is being dragged into electronic banking!

  6. Oh yes I use cash!!

    I try to buy coffee ($4-5) in cash. SOme cafes I frequent are much more card friendly than others, so I’ll pay by card at those.

    My “locals” (friends) pay for our group meals in cash, or settle who owes who in cash. Admittedly for fancier meals we do transfer but for $15-40 there’s a sense we’d have cash to transfer. It’s two couples and me often and it feels I’m the “worst” for having cash, so will sometimes pay for us and get their cash!!

    I don’t give cash at church – though I often forget the little card to put in the plate that says “I give online”. I like that I’ve set an amount and don’t need to fret about breaking bills like a friend does (upside? He usually invites me to breakfast, to split that bill!)

    Overall, for small businesses and less than $10, I try to pay cash. Oh and my pedicure or leg wax? They (illegally) charge +$1 for card payments, so I always get cash for them.

    • I thought I was doing a favour to small businesses by not using a card for small purchases, but locally (and I think in Canada generally), payment-system fees are an expected part of doing business for the merchants. It is really at the point where if I offer cash, they are taken aback and they exclaim over it. They don’t keep much change in their float and they worry about having the right change to give back.

      I just thought of an exception – I get cash to pay at the farmer’s market.

  7. We don’t use much cash but keep a substantial amount on hand in case of earthquake or fire emergencies when the electronic services would not be operating.

    • We had a massive storm in 2003 in which electricity was out for the whole area for up to a week. No ATMs! Some businesses did open during daylight hours, but cash-only. So I have kept some cash in the house for that reason ever since. It’s unlikely we’d ever have to evacuate, but I can see why you’d need substantial amounts, where you are.

    • This! I went from cash free to cash full when I moved countries and my money didn’t move with me and local shops don’t take credit (only debit) cards, to cash free again when my new country money started filling up. I try to have some for markets and beggars, as well as a stash for emergencies.

      • Happy New Year, 1VG! You’re right – I also have some cash for panhandlers, and kids who come to the door doing fundraising for school and activities.

  8. I hardly use cash in Melbourne, but back home in Singapore, I do use cash for taxi fares. And Mum always slips a $50 or $100 note in my wallet when I am going out. 🙂 Happy New Year, Dar! May 2020 fill your home with laughter, heart with joy, and life with love. I’ve missed your posts!

  9. Just came back to tell you that I love your Facebook profile picture.

  10. I went cash free a couple of years ago. The only time I ever have to get any cash out is when my nail lady decides eftpos is not working for the day.

    For me the biggest benefit has been a lot less colds and flus. Money can be very dirty, in general. But also the benefit of not having to carry heavy coins around and I was able to downsize the handbag considerably. 🙂

    • Haha, payment machines can be really grubby too, which is why I like using tap! I like not having to count out bills and coins. I also never liked that feeling of running out of cash and going out of my way to get more from the bank, ATM or grocery store.

  11. Fiona

    I think the last 2 things that we have to keep cash in the house for each week are basketball stadium entries ($3 per person, almost none use card machines on game day) and school fundraisers ($2 bake sales every few weeks, it seems, with 2 teachers in the house.)

    We withdraw $50 notes then have “change” acculumulating in our cash tin in the kitchen.

    Much prefer cashless as money runs through our fingers when we use cash!!

    • I was really surprised recently to see that the default amount from Australian ATMs is $50. In Canada and the US, it is $20. I have gradually caught on that the cost of living in Australian cities is astronomical compared to here, or even our big cities like Toronto. The Canadian and Australian dollar are usually at or near par, but if I travelled there, I’d need to bring 150-200% of what I would spend at home for meals, admissions, etc.! It’s a good thing your salaries are commensurate 🙂

      • Fiona

        I’m not sure if it’s the same for all banks, but we can get $20 from ATMs for both the banks we use (fortunately!) Yes, cost of living is pretty high in Australia but wages are also fairly high, at least in semi-professional or professional jobs.

  12. joan

    I always use cash with my own envelope budgeting system. Every five or six weeks, I walk into the bank and withdraw my set amount for groceries, gas, lunch/dinner out with my sister nearly every week (we don’t go anywhere fancy), getting my hair trimmed, stamps (to mail cards and bills) and little donations here and there.

    I’ve been through extended power outages often enough to keep some cash in small denominations on hand and, now that I live on an island, I keep a stash of fives for the bridge tolls. We have two bridges. One is county owned and free; the other is privately owned and the toll is $2.50 each way. You know which one is in poorer shape and closes frequently without warning.

    I have one credit card for online purchases and one for in store purchases because I have had problems with online fraud. I write checks for all but one of my bills.

    This works for me. I know someday I will be forced to change but I’m fine as is.

    • I’m glad this works for you, Joan! I do think it’s an ideal way to live, to budget and to live within one’s means, as long as theft or loss isn’t a worry. I agree that cash is necessary for power outages. It’s funny; there’s a popular coffee shop in the building where I work, and occasionally the payment system stops working, maybe 2 or 3 times a year. Co-workers spread the news, “Debit is down!” and everyone panics 🙂 – since almost no one carries cash, and the ATM in the lobby charges an outrageous extra fee.

      Do you mail cheques? As I mentioned in another comment, it is $1.20 for a stamp in Canada. Although you can order cheques online, it costs over $60-80 to get a new supply of cheques from the bank. I suppose because they want to discourage people from using them.

      • joan

        Stamps are .55 in the US. I love getting mail and I send a lot of cards to family and friends. I send cards to the kids for all the Hallmark holidays and tuck a dollar in or a $2 bill if I can find one. The $2 are always a lot of fun because they are so rare.

      • A $2 bill would be fun to receive! Canada has had $1 and $2 coins since the 1980s.

  13. NicolaB

    I never have cash- it’s not usually an issue, except if I go out for a meal and we are leaving a cash tip. I can’t think of anywhere that I use that doesn’t accept card payments or bank transfers- even one person businesses! I’d imagine that, for a small business, the hassle of going into town, paying for parking, going to the bank and paying in cash and cheques would be as much of an issue as card payment fees!

    • I agree! As you said, I bet they dislike customers paying cash because they would have to do more frequent bank deposits. And go there in person 🙂 I didn’t even think of that. When I was a student, I often worked until closing time at a retail store and then I had to take the cash deposit to the bank on my way home, and drop it in the “night deposit slot.” It is scary to think about now!!

      • NicolaB

        In a couple of my past jobs, I had to go and pay the takings into the bank- luckily I could do it whilst the bank was open, rather than at the end of the day!

  14. Mary

    I always keep a decent amount of cash on hand for times when the power goes out–usually due to weather-related issues. Still give cash to grands/nieces for presents. My hairdresser and DH barber only take cash. However, since I am not a coffee drinker, don’t frequent cafes and don’t have any farmer’s markets around, there is not much else to pay with cash. Banks in my area have closed with great rapidity in recent years, so while I do keep an account with a small local bank for emergencies, my main banking source is 2,000 miles away. I have a phone app where I may check transactions and even transfer funds to other accounts. Since I have a credit card, house and car insurance, and an IRA with the same firm, all those items may be checked whenever needed. Everything may also be done on their website, too. I get an email whenever there is a charge to my card, so that helps nip any fraud issues (knock wood-none so far). When overseas, I do get cash out from an ATM for daily spending, but pay larger purchases like hotels, etc, with my credit card. None of my cards charge foreign transaction fees and I have consistently gotten very good exchange rates using the credit card. I always make sure they charge the expense in the local currency and not in US dollars (as one is frequently asked for your preference). Never choose your home currency in these situations.

    • I have a bunch of accounts, investments and a credit card with one bank, so I use their web site and app all the time. I also get email notifications for all transactions and it does make me feel that fraud would be spotted immediately! I will follow your advice and check the terms of my credit card before I travel again – maybe my fears of extra fees or bad rates are unwarranted!

  15. Just popped over to say Happy New Year to you. I use very little cash now since contactless came in. Like you I have money sitting in my purse for ages unspent.

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