My week in paper is chugging along well, but it definitely has me thinking about the costs of lacking choice. There have been financial costs and benefits with my cash-only lifestyle, in addition to some costs and benefits in terms of time and social capital.


– ($0.37 x T rides this week) Without a CharlieCard, I was unable to purchase my monthly pass, which, with an average of about 36 T trips a month, usually has me paying about $1.63 per trip. Now I am paying $2 dollars for every trip to school.

– ($0.20 x number of cups of coffee I buy at the cafe on the Boston campus of Tufts) On the Medford campus, you can purchase items without tax as “student cash.” In Boston, however, in order for tax to be taken off of the transaction it must be done with JumboCash. I have to pay about an extra 20 cents for a coffee!

+ ($0.56 x the number of cups of coffee I replace from the Boston campus cafe with the cheaper coffee from the cash only “Coffee House” in Chinatown) Added bonus of the cash-only place is that they fill your cup and use cream in their coffee, which I would never do in a dress-your-own-coffee situation, but who wouldn’t actually prefer cream? Although maybe I should be considering potential health costs as well…


– I had to *GASP* wait in line to see a teller at the bank in order to take out some cash. Luckily I happened to have an old bank slip on me with my account number to make this happen. The combined wait and transaction time was significantly longer than it would have been at the ATM.

– It’s really miniscule, but annoying nonetheless: The T card reader machines seem to require some sort of excessive massage time for the paper cards that takes a much longer than just tapping your CharlieCard.

Social Capital:

+/- As mentioned in Anna’s earlier post, we have a system going. I scratch her back with my pile o’ cash, and she’ll take care of me in the future with her card. I see this as potential social good or social ill. On the one hand, Anna and I now have a mandatory future date where she will have to buy me dinner and we will get to spend some time together. On the other hand, now my friend owes me something, and I have been told that in friendship, neither a borrower nor a lender should I be.

-/+ I, personally, really enjoy interacting with humans. Thus, the idea of going to a teller for monies is actually quite nice. But the teller seemed a bit confused as to why I would be coming to her for cash, and asked me “You don’t have your card?” I lied and said I did not. And lying might be a cost that my soul will be paying for in the future.

– My mom’s birthday is on Thursday. Mostly because of my own delinquency, I have not gotten her anything yet. In order for me to send her a gift on time I would either have to buy something tomorrow and take it to the post office for overnight shipping that I would pay for with my limited cash funds, or I would have to find a flower shop that delivers in DC and place an order for delivery tomorrow with my limited cash funds. I sent my mom the Cardless/Cashless Smackdown blog, so hopefully she will see this, not think much less of me, and accept her late birthday present, which I will most likely buy online with a credit card after the smackdown is over.


One Response to Cash is costing me

  1. Joan Kerrigan says:

    Not only do I not think less of Brooke, I think she is terrific to have taken on this challenge with such good humor and acute analytic bent. She has lost no social capital in my book!

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