A couple of bucks for a haircut was all I needed.
When I looked in the ol’ billfold, I realized I didn’t have quite enough.
The Bank of Dad was out of cash — again.
For parents, there’s something about autumn that sucks all the cash right out of your pockets. It doesn’t matter if you have enough money in the bank. You’ll never have enough in your wallet.
Maybe it’s the assorted fees and needs that pop up at the start of the school year, needing a five-spot for this class project or a few bucks for a new protractor.
Perhaps it’s the return to athletics. Twice a week, my eighth-grader plays volleyball. She wants to grab a snack before her matches. We want to watch her, so we’ll pay for admission wherever she’s playing. If we end up bringing other children, particularly our 7-year-old, there’s going to be a trip to the concession stand in our future. Too many times, I’ve fallen for handing her $1 to buy a 25-cent lollipop, only to see her return with no change but four suckers. We all know who the sucker is in this scenario.
Then there are all the donation opportunities for classes. If you want to wear jeans on a certain day, you can pay this much. They’re raising money for the underwater basket-weaving club. And there’s always a school T-shirt the kids just can’t live without.
When it comes to all these micropayments, cash talks.
Cha-ching. Cha-ching. Cha-ching.
I don’t mean to complain that there’s a cost to having children. My four daughters are my favorite investments. I’m happy to spend my hard-earned money on them. I just wish it didn’t all have to be cash.
Despite all my old-fashioned tendencies, I’ve always hated carrying cash. I haven’t been mugged, so it’s not from experience. I’ve just noticed over the years that the more cash I had on hand, the more likely I was to spend it on things I don’t really need.
The world seems to be moving to a cashless society, which I applaud. I remember being thrilled when more gas stations let you pay at the pump, as I was less likely to grab a snack or a drink inside the store.
Lately you’re really hearing about only allowing credit cards in sports. I enjoyed a minor league baseball game a few months ago, and that park had gone cashless. The only difference I noticed was I never had to pass along some drunk’s wadded-up dollar bills to a vendor walking up and down the aisles for another can of that tasty poison.
Cashless even worked its way down to area high schools. Our family enjoys going to high school football games together. It’s more accurate to say in the same car, since our teens go to find their friends when we enter the gates. Anyway, many local schools have moved to online ticketing. I’m ecstatic to be able to buy the tickets ahead of time and get them on the correct kid’s phone.
In fact, our local school allowed us to buy 10 tickets at a discount ahead of time to a variety of sporting events, and it’s been great to not have to find eight dollar bills every time per kid.
Not everyone’s to that point yet. Few junior high games seem to be doing that. Most concession stands still require cash. And my barber still takes paper, not plastic.
Luckily the Bank of Dad can always visit the local ATM to load up for another week of the little pickpockets taking his hard-earned cash, one buck at a time.
David Trinko is managing editor of The Lima News, a division of AIM Media Midwest. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.