Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Great Cash Free Challenge

Last week, I asked a question concerning whether you'd rather live in a cash-only society or a cashless society. In turn, I was curious as to how long exactly I could survive without using one piece of paper money or coinage. TPS frequenter Rob Holub priced the over/under at 95.5 hours. So as of today, 12:00pm, the challenge is on. How long can I go without using cash?

I think I can take the over, and with quite a bit to spare. I had a test run in New York this weekend and devised the following ground rules. Any objections, please let me know (soon):

- Obviously, no purchases of any kind with cash. Cash equivalent purchases, i.e. debit cards directly linked to bank accounts, are fine as they do not use the actual, physical cash. (I don't buy things like this, so that's not too big of an issue one way or the other.)

- Covering an entire tab for two or more and being reimbursed in cash is allowed. Paying someone for your portion of a tab in cash is not allowed.

- Should you find yourself in a scenario where a cash purchase is unavoidable, allowing another to cover the purchase in return for a corresponding non-cash purchase is, while following the letter of the law, not in the spirit of the game in my opinion. Activities as such should be avoided at all costs; for example, eating at a cash only restaurant with the intention of avoiding the bill in return for picking up the next tab is completely and wholly unethical. However, eating at credit card allowed restaurants and alternating tabs is completely allowed. As a rule of thumb, if you were partaking in the activity by yourself and cash could be feasibly avoided, then you are on the right path.

I'm heading to Montreal this coming weekend, and that could make things interesting. Eating, drinking and general activities shouldn't be too much of a problem. I'm most worried about airport activities; specifically, small purchases at or around boarding time and transportation to and from the airport. I think I can effectively self-regulate myself by never acquiring any Canadian currency. I do like foreign coinage though; it will be an interesting challenge to get Canadian coins without spending any cash.

By the way, 95.5 hours from today at noon is Saturday at 11:30am. I should be in the air to Montreal at that point.


The Chosen Rob said...

Hope your bags arrive in Montreal with you.

Tough to tip the baggage guys with Visa.

Dana said...

Game on, Matt. Game on.