Growing up there was no such thing as a debit card or a credit card.
Dad came home with his wages in a little brown envelope and he dished out some to Mum for housekeeping and some was taken to the bank and written up in a little bank book. Mum rode the bus in to pay the electricity bill and other household bills. It was the way we lived. And we lived very frugally in our little weatherboard home in the depths of kiwi suburbia.
Weekly we would take a small amount, perhaps a shilling to school along with our bank book and the school would deposit it into the bank for us to learn how to be good little kiwi ‘savers’. Pocket money was pretty scarce in our house, so we saved it up in our piggy banks for special purchases.
In my first holiday job at the factory where my dad worked, I was thrilled to get my own little brown envelope, and as I grew up and left school to go to teacher’s college, things changed and my pay was deposited into my bank account. But, we would take out cash to have in our purse and to pay bills. Hopefully, there was some left to save up in our bank account.
Before the days of either ringing up the bank or checking your bank account online, we had to keep tabs on where our money was. I can remember as a young married mum how I put certain amounts into envelopes to pay mortgage, rates and power bills. Also some for car expenses and little luxuries.
Over the years most of us have become accustomed to doing online banking and receiving our income this way. However many elderly people who are not computer savvy still like to go to the bank and withdraw what they need to pay bills and buy groceries. Two years ago, the local branch of my bank was destroyed by a hail storm and we had no local bank for a long time and no ATM. As we are in a semi-rural area, elderly people had to either drive or catch public transport to their nearest branch to do this.
Our bank reopened last week, but I am concerned that both our government and banking system want to go cashless. Over Covid, I stashed a small amount of cash for emergencies and it’s a habit that many of us like to keep. However, the debit card was king as cash was considered to be a germ carrier, and now that feeling seems to have remained. It’s inconvenient for banks to deal in cash and they are trying to get us to do everything online. But cash is so handy. I have lots of little fresh veggie and fruit stalls in my neighbourhood. I leave cash in an honesty box for them and take home my bananas and avocados. And giving the grandkids a few dollars for washing the car or to buy an ice cream. Garage sales, buying a coffee when you’re up the street. Having the security of a few dollars in your purse is just part of the way I am. And I want it to stay that way.
What do you all think? Do you still have a stash of cash in your sock drawer or are you happy with living in a cashless society?