Living without cards for a week resulted in some interesting habits. For one, I developed a fear of being without small bills.  I found that I always liked to keep a couple $1, $5  and $10 dollar bills on me. Whether I was splitting a bill with friends, tipping or making sure I always had emergency T fare, life was less complicated knowing I had small bills in my wallet to make these transactions easier. Of course, having withdrawn my cash from the ATM, most of my cash was in 20 dollar bills. Many times I found myself breaking a $20 for my $2 coffee, even when I had smaller cash on me just so that I could preserve my stash of smaller bills.

I also found myself living like my life was in denominations of twenty.  If I had to pay a friend back, I found myself giving them $20 even if what I owed was less. One because I finally had cash on me and it was just easier that was. I figure it made up for all the times I couldn’t pay people back completely what I owed them due to a lack of small bills.

Many times during the week I would be sitting in the campus center dreaming about food or caffeine. Normally, I would go down to the café and indulge. However, knowing that I couldn’t use my jumbocash posed a serious barrier. Why? Because I was lazy! I couldn’t quite believe it myself, but the thought of pulling out cash and getting change back was too much of a hassle to satisfy my need for food or coffee. Oh how I longed for the days when I would just swipe my ID… it was so easy!

A lot of this post talks about how I just wanted to make life easier for myself. Cards are a lazy person (aka me)’s dream. One swipe and the transaction is done. No need to worry about carrying the right cash and dealing with change. During my week of card deprivation is was the effortlessness of cards that I missed the most.

Alas, when the week was over, I went to Dunkin Donuts and swiped my card for my 99 cent iced tea. Ah freedom!

PS.  I have to confess I had one indiscretion during the week. Senior pub night tickets were sold online on a first come first serve basis. I tried to turn it into a cash transaction but they were only sold online and it was one per student ID so nobody else could do it for me. I bought one online with my credit card and secretly celebrated the fact that I wasn’t actually cardless.

PPS. As a follow-up to my last post about being caught on the bus with the wrong (currency) change, I developed a baggy system to make sure that I would always have the right bus fare with me. Worked like a charm!


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