A New Old Experience

The Curmudgeon manages his financial affairs in a pretty orderly manner. He has rules, he has practices, he has his ways of doing various things.

One of those practices is that he doesn’t like using credit cards. Oh, there have always been certain things for which credit cards are okay – appliances, hotel bills, large car repairs, orthopedic shoes, things like that – but in general, he doesn’t like using his plastic.

He’s had to modify that rule a bit over the years with the emergence of internet commerce – remember when, if you wanted something, you had to go to a store to buy it? – but in general, his philosophy has long been that if he can’t afford to pay for it with the cash he has in his pocket then he can’t have it and should just put aside cash until he has enough to make the purchase.

He’s reasonably generous to himself when it comes to cash for spending money, especially since he more or less assumes that he’s not very long for this world. (If he reaches retirement age he will be in very, very deep s—t.) But when gasoline prices skyrocketed about a dozen years ago and he saw what a dent filling his tank put in his pocket money, he reluctantly decided to move gasoline purchases out of the cash-only category and into the “acceptable use of a credit card” category.

As you know, gasoline prices have plummeted of late – although they now seem to be creeping up just a bit – and The Curmudgeon has noticed how much less filling his tank now costs compared to just a year ago. Consequently, when he pulled up to a gas pump last Saturday, rolled down his window, and requested “Fill it up with regular, please” and the attendant asked “Cash or charge?” he found himself, for the first time in maybe a dozen years, saying “Cash.”

The bill was $17 (small car, small gas tank, and in the winter he fills it when it’s half empty (or half full, for you optimists)).

And handing over cash instead of a credit card felt very, very good.


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