Cold hard cash

So our house has a basement apartment that we rent out. When we first moved in, there were a couple of young men living there. They came with the house, thanks to the generous tenant laws in D.C. The two men were lovers and clearly this was their first experience living on their own.

At first, they seemed fine enough, but soon they became problematic. Late payments, late parties, demanding, rude, and so on. At the time, we were renovating the house and my wife was pregnant. It was a hectic time.

Maybe I’ll offer up a post describing the Hell we went through with them — eventually leading to eviction — but for now, I’ll just say that we’ve had better luck since them.

Our current tenants, a grad student and her chef-husband, are nothing like our first renters. Perhaps the most striking difference is that not only do they pay their rent on time, they pay in cash. Cold hard cash. Green. Money. Bills.

The first time, it was a slim envelope of 100s. Occasionally 50s and 20s work their way in, but usually it’s just 100s.

Tonight, it was thick floppy stack of 20s. “What the Hell am I going to do with this,” I thought. Put a rubber band around it and carry it in my pocket? Peel off 20s to hand to the valet, as if 20s are my pennies?

Well, what I will do with them is put them through the ATM. But even that will be a bit of a chore. You can’t just stick an inch of 20s into the machine. The envelopes can be only so thick. So I’ll have to make multiple deposits.

Oh, there are worse things, I know. But who carries a stack of cash around? I almost never have more than $10 in my wallet. In fact, I don’t even write checks any more. I use credit cards for most payments and Quicken for most bills.

Cash rarely, if ever, enters my mind. I wonder if that is common, and if so, if that’s part of the reason the national savings rate is the lowest its been in 70+ years. That would be since the Great Depression. Could that be a sign of things to come?

Hmm, that makes me think Maybe I’ll stick those 20s in my mattress. Might come in handy one day.

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