The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

11 September 2007

Maybe it fell between the sofa cushions

There's something a trifle disquieting about this:

Cash slips through the pockets of Americans each day and by the end of the week memory fades. A new survey has found that 48% of Americans suffer from "mystery spending." The VISA USA survey found that Americans lose track on average of $2,340 annually. Nearly half of consumers say they can't account for more than one-third of their cash, spending an average of $120 in a typical week, but losing track of $45.

I am no one's idea of a great money manager, but here is every cent I spent yesterday:

  • Breakfast, such as it was: $2.05
  • Copay for doctor's appointment: $30.00
  • "Can I bum a buck, or a buck and a half?" $2.00
  • Packet of crackers to go with lunch (Dinty Moore stew): $0.75

Thirty-four dollars, eighty cents, nicely accounted for, and I'll get the $2 back soon enough.

Of course:

VISA obviously suggests that the cure for "mystery spending" is to put small transactions onto plastic.

Out of sight (until the bill comes), out of mind, I guess.

Posted at 6:56 AM to Common Cents

Maybe I'm remembering this wrong, but I thought I saw a report once that said that if all the out-of-circulation coins (the ones trapped in couch cushions, under car seats, in change bowls, etc.) in America were recirculated into the economy - deposited in banks or whatnot - it would amount to a huge surge in the economy. When I think of all the random loose change sitting around my house I'm inclined to believe it.

Posted by: Nate at 12:18 PM on 11 September 2007

I have a little penny bank that holds around $6; once a year or so I get to dump it out. And usually there's a dime or two in there because I can't sort worth a flip, but still: six bucks or so, max. I used to save quarters, but now I have my own laundry equipment.

Posted by: CGHill at 1:01 PM on 11 September 2007