I use cash for purchases and pay most of my bills using money orders
Am I behind the times?
Yes. And not only are you wasting money on buying money orders and stamps, but it's not very green either.
I know. I seriously need to catch up.
No, but you're probably a fugitive.
Do you own a pre-pay phone too?
You did this thread from your WebTv, didn't you, OP?
Have you a beeper, OP?
Just kidding. You might need to open a bank account by now. Online banking is really easy.
I used to do it that way when I couldn't balance my checkbook and was never sure of exactly how much cash I had on hand at the time.
But now I link up to the bank and pay everything through their website. I like that they don't charge for the postage if they have to mail a bill, which they rarely do. I like to think I'm getting one over of them. I know a lot of people who still pay their bills with stubs and checks in envelopes with postage. One of them is my father. He doesn't trust the computer.
The odd thing is, I do have a bank account--two, to be exact (savings and checking). I occasionally use my check card for purchases, but for the most part I withdraw cash from the ATM and use that.
Paying in cash is always a good idea.
[quote]Paying in cash is always a good idea.
Walking around with it, however, is not. If you get pick-pocketed, mugged, or lose your wallet, you're screwed.
Aren't money orders expensive?
R12, there's a place near my job that has free money orders. The other end of the spectrum would be buying one at a supermarket, which can run you up to a dollar. I only get them there if I'm in a hurry or don't feel like treking to the place that has them for free. As for carrying cash, when I go out I only take what I think I may need and my I.D. I never carry my entire wallet with all of my money.
Do you ever buy things over $100?
So if you buy tickets for you and your bf for Pippin, you will actually pay the several hundred dollars at the box office in cash?
Do you use Compuserve and Telex money?
I used to do that, R14. I've gotten better, and will break and use my card for things like that. However, when I pay my rent, I withdraw the cash from the bank and go get a money order. Same thing for when I pay my cell phone bill, cable, car insurance, etc.
R15, I think the money orders are Western Union.
[quote]However, when I pay my rent, I withdraw the cash from the bank and go get a money order.
Carrying around huge amounts of cash like that that could get stolen is not a good idea, nor is getting a money order for a huge amount considering if you were to lose the slip somehow, you're basically screwed. At least with checks you can cancel them if something happens to it.
Do you still use a button hook for your shoes?
[quote]Paying in cash is always a good idea.
Paying in cash may be a good idea for some people, but for other people there are equally compelling reasons to use very little cash and to pay by other means.
When not travelling, I usually get three or four hundred dollars from a cash machine and it will last easily a couple of months, sometimes a full four months with a twenty or two still in my pocket.
Over time I used a debit card more and more extensively, gradually replacing cash and check payments. Now I barely use the debit card at all and use credit cards almost exclusively. Everything online, restaurants, hotels, purchases of more than a few bucks, most everything. The few checks I write now are mostly for tax payments, donations to some charitable organizations, purchasing a car, the occasional payment for home and yard maintenance work, etc.
Credit cards are convenient; they minimize the risk of carrying wads of cash and provide protection for many purchases; the risk of loss or fraudulent charges is minimal; they make record keeping easy; paying the full balances every month, there's no cost to me; and I earn enough rewards points to take a couple of cross-oceanic flights and a few hotel stays each year.
Were I watching every penny and concerned about being very disciplined in spending, I would use credit cards only for things like airline tickets, car rentals, and hotel reservations -- instances where NOT using a credit card would be very difficult. Certainly it's easier to spend more when charging everything, but the extent to which that is a problem depends heavily on the individual.
You have way too much time on your hsnds
You're supposed to keep a couple thou cash on hand as part of a disaster preparedness emergency kit. Remember, credit cards and atm machines are useless if the power grid is down!
R18, you've given me some food for thought. I pretty much just take that chance whenever I withdraw big sums of money like that, and I should know better.
R20, you've given me something to think about as well.
[quote]When not travelling, I usually get three or four hundred dollars from a cash machine and it will last easily a couple of months, sometimes a full four months with a twenty or two still in my pocket
I wish! That amount of money wouldn't last nearly that long with me.
Trying to stay off the grid, are ya?
R12, no, money orders are expensive only if you buy one from a bank ($4, 5, more if you don't have an account with them.) THe Post Office ones are only like - $1.30? does anyone know exactly? and you can get them at WalMart for $.89 or a bit more, I think.
Money orders are often a great idea. You know who uses them exclusively? THe AMish. Not mentioning this for comparison to OP! Just a little piece of trivia I picked up from my sister-in-law who occasionally fills in at the Post Office.
(back to sleep with me now.)
[quote]I wish! That amount of money wouldn't last nearly that long with me.
It all depends which pocket you dip into by habit, R23.
If I paid cash for everything and were constantly reaching into my front pocket, I'd need wads of the stuff. It's only because it's my habit to reach into my back pocket to pull out a credit card that a small amount of cash will last ages.
When I travel, I blow through a lot of cash on taxis and small purchases and the more cavalier attitude about money that comes with being away.
Question is why OP? Even if you write checks (rather than pay by computer) for bill, it's more efficient than money orders.
It's weird but I'd rather deduct the money from an ATM than write a check.
Because I am over 60 years of age I get free cashier checks from my bank. I make a list of payees and amounts and visit the bank at the first of the month, get my cc and mail them. I also take the ladies a couple of dozen cookies and they love to see me.
OP, why do you use money orders to pay bills rather than using checks?
Money orders --in any but some exceptional circumstance-- are so, well, trashy.
Why anyone solvent enough to be able to maintain a checking account would prefer money orders calls many things into question.
It's good to move your cash out of the USA to a safe place.
R32, I guess it's just he way my brain works, but I'd rather deduct the cash from my account and get a money order because I have immediate knowledge that the money is no longer in my account, versus writing a check, waiting for it to clear, etc.
The OP has a right to pay the way he wants. I think money orders work wonders when you are behind with your credit card bills. Then, creditors can't take $$$ from your bank account.
That's right, R36. I feel like I have more control over my acct. if I'm the one taking money from it, obtaining a money order and sending payment as opposed to companies deducting from my account electronically.
[quote]Money orders --in any but some exceptional circumstance-- are so, well, trashy.
Good luck collecting on a bounced check if you're selling something privately, like on Craigslist, for example. As a private citizen you don't have the ability to electronically verify funds so you should always insist upon cash or a money order/bank check.
Ah, R36, using money orders is a trick and ploy for those who are behind on their mortgages and other bills such as credit card bills. It allows the offender to pay without having payments traced to their checking accounts and thereby, the people who need to be paid cannot somehow electronically remove money from the checking account.
I knew there had to be some sort of semi-nefarious reason someone would use money orders.
We once had a money order bounce, so we never accept them!
[quote]I knew there had to be some sort of semi-nefarious reason someone would use money orders.
Some people don't have checking accounts, so they come in handy.
[quote] Good luck collecting on a bounced check if you're selling something privately, like on Craigslist, for example. As a private citizen you don't have the ability to electronically verify funds so you should always insist upon cash or a money order/bank check.
Of course there are instances where money orders and bank checks and other more secure forms of payment are superior to paying with personal checks. But despite OP's stubborn insistance on the delights of money orders, convenience can hardly be one of them.
Yes, when trading large sums of money for titles to used cars, real estate, or perhaps for renters who may be asked to pay first and last months rent and a security deposit before taking possession of a property, money orders and bank checks may be good options. There are other situations where, too.
But paying your monthly mortgage or rent, your utility bills, property tax, a renewal for insurance, license fees, a subscription to Cat Fancy, or to send $20 to save the children? There's no fucking way that money orders are anything but a pain in the ass alternative to credit cards, debit cards, and personal checks. Even if I worked in the money order store writing money orders all day, I'd still prefer to pay routine expenses with some more reasonable method; and it would be more convenient, too.
I've started using my ATM card most of the time, to keep better track of my purchases. I could just save my receipts, and I think I'll start doing that, but first things first, I have to figure out what's going on and the bank's records will help.
I used to use money orders to pay my monthly bills too, OP.
I was bad at balancing my check book, and for about 5 years or so I did it that way.
Mainly because with a MO, once you bought the money order it was OUT of the account, and so I had a clearer picture of what to spend. It helped me really get a sense of "cash on hand" and a budget.
In the last several years the banks I use now do bill payment services (free) where the amount I pay is deducted from my balance right when I click send to pay. So I don't do money orders anymore.
I do prefer the USPS ones as they are easier to track and fix. Some of those cheaper ones cost more to look into than the amount you'd send.
And if I was selling something of value on Ebay, Craigslist et al and someone wanted to give me a money order, I would ask them to get a bank issued money order or cashier's check.
[quote]once you bought the money order it was OUT of the account, and so I had a clearer picture of what to spend
That's why I do it
I just pay all my bills with Amex. If the bill is over $100, I don't even have to pay it all off that month; it can be paid over time (with a nominal amount of interest), which has occasionally proved to be a lifesaver.