Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cash is Money

 = $$$

I hate carrying cash. In the last five years, I have hardly ever done so. It's heavy. It can be misplaced. And in an age of digital bookkeeping, it creates a huge hassle when I am trying to track and categorize our spending to fall within our monthly budget.

But for small businesses, cash is money. Literally. A recent interaction with Bob, the owner of Coffee Adventures near my new office location in North Beach, reminded me of this. While I was apologizing for not having cash on my tiny purchase, Bob told me about his current dilemma. His Credit Card fees are going up and he has to decide whether to take the hit, or start charging a minimum transaction fee. Current market price on Credit Card fees means my $3 cappuccino, for which I used my credit card, costs Bob around a 1.5% debit fee on the purchase price + $0.25 transaction fee. This ends up being about $0.30, or 10% of my purchase fee! In no way can a small business sustain that type of overhead on minor purchases and remain competitive. 

Since our move into the Mission District, we have made the conscious decision to start carrying more cash. Sure, on bigger purchases, the transaction fee is much less significant, which means a credit card purchase makes much more sense for everyone involved. But for our local coffee shops, restaurants, and produce markets, I now understand why so many can't afford to take on the extra burden of the credit card.

So how will I track all this cash flow in our budget? Well, there's an app for that...

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