This was a challenge, especially when the world is programmed to use cards. One would think that using cards would save money versus using cash but that isn’t true. I can tell you I did cheat a couple of times but it wasn’t intentional. My day 1 started with me stuck at home finishing a paper that was due at 4:00pm so obviously I didn’t get the chance to withdraw money. Stuck in a soup, I had no option but to ask my friend to cover me for the weekend. His roommate was also in the program who borrowed money from him. His very words were, “I feel like I am the biggest sponsor of this program.” I decided that I will legitimately get cash from a branch on Monday. Somehow I was able to get through Monday, eating food at home and getting free food from Fletcher. I generally don’t have even a dollar on me and that’s how true I am to my cards.
Tuesday comes and I know now I need cash since I will be travelling to Harvard. I stop by at a branch at Davis. When it’s my turn the lady asks me what was it she could help me with but first she asked me to swipe my card so that I could show up on her screen. Damn!! Now here goes where she will think I am a psycho. I very courteously responded saying that I can’t use my card and I need cash from my checking account. She said I could use the ATM but I told her that I want to use my Driver’s license to get cash from her. She was perplexed and asked why. I decided to tell her the truth, “I am involved in a class project and prohibited from using cards.” She pretended to understand me and looked at my license. Another problem, my license was EXPIRED!! So I tried to convince the lady by saying that I need only 60 bucks. She agreed but how could it end so smoothly; she said that withdrawal transactions that go through a teller cost 12 bucks!. I thought she would kill me by what I was going to say next. I told her to cancel the transaction and I went to use the ATM. And this is where I had no choice but to cheat; for a student 12 bucks is equivalent to 10 coffees that adds up to 3 papers 😉 Since this episode took so long I had no option but to take the T instead of the bus where I could use cash. Hence I cheated again by using my Charlie card since I was getting late for class.
Since I had only those 60 bucks till Friday, I was very cautious with how much I spent. I didn’t walk in to Starbucks to get a Mocha Latte because I felt like it but I spent only so much that I could eat lunch and dinner. I agree that it is easier to manage money digitally and one doesn’t know where cash disappears especially when you go partying ;). But since I didn’t have the option to withdraw (since I had an excuse), I used my money efficiently. Generally with cards, one gets liberal and spends on small things which add up. If there was a way to keep track of how much one has spent over the course of the week and one can set a limit for the week so he/she can get alerts when they are reaching their limit, cards can actually be very useful and everyone can notice the cost of cash!