Isn’t that illegal?

I’ve been noticing all about town here signs at various Stop-N-Robs and Fast-Food joints stating they won’t take $100 dollar bills or will accept nothing larger than a $20. It got the best of me so I had to go look it up.

You see, I know that paper money has “This note is legal tender for all debts public and private” printed on it, and it was my impression that they couldn’t turn down money like that. I understand that there are rogues and rebels (lots of those in Oxford!) who operate on the fringe just for the sake of being on the fringe, but after I’d seen nearly a dozen of them, I had to find out if that wasn’t illegal or not, because I thought it was.

Turns out, it’s not!

But, there’s a fine line. If a store has signs clearly stating they won’t accept large bills before you ring up debt, then they can tell you what they will and won’t accept. However, if they do not have signs clearly marking what they’ll accept and you pump $120 of gas into your truck, and they tell you as you’re trying to pay—then that is illegal and they must accept your money. So, it boils down to what information you know before you incur the debt.

Knowing that helps us at the bank, as the bank likes to give out the big bills any time they can. Don’t ask me why, they just do. Maybe the tellers like to feel that money whip through their hands just as quickly as it tends to pass through mine.

While on the subject of money, BJ and I are big believers in the Dave Ramsey financial concepts. Not long after we returned from living several years in California, we had somehow amassed about 25k in credit card debt. To this date, I still don’t know what it all was. We’d struggled with trying to knock it down for some time and then I attended one of Ramsey’s Financial Peace seminars at our church. It literally changed our financial lives. With some creative monkeying (which Ramsey suggests you NOT do) by transferring balances to zero interest cards, letting that run out and then doing it again AND by using the snowball plan, we knocked it out in about two years! Yeah, that’s what I said—pretty incredible.

We’ve been very fortunate and very blessed in that now we only have two major debts: the house (which we just bought), and my student loans—which just don’t seem to want to go away! We’re in attack mode on the student loans now, and are putting pretty much everything extra towards it.

We stopped using credit cards (well, as a rule) and I destroyed about 10 of them after we paid them off. We’ve gone to the cash and carry system—or, the grandma system as Dave calls it. By doing away with the credit cards, our purchasing becomes pretty simple: if we don’t have the money in the checking account, or don’t have the cash, we don’t buy it.

Like I said…pretty simple.



Filed under General

6 responses to “Isn’t that illegal?

  1. Hope Ermert

    My mom and dad got into credit card trouble as I was growing up. I quickly learned as a young woman that credit cards were not good. Hee. My parents are doing good now, after some “creative monkeying.” Jerry and I never have owned a credit card. Sounds like we made the right choice.

  2. Dave

    Roland: You and B.J. deserve a big GOOD JOB!!!
    Something that I don’t understand is
    why so many Christians accept scripture
    as the word of God in reference to sexual
    morality, the abuse of alcohol, and
    respect for life. But, when scripture tells
    us to avoid debt the attitude is “Oh that
    God – He is such a kidder”. I don’t get it.
    Keep up the good work!

  3. Gwen Rieves Rodery

    Hi, Roland,
    We have been married 51 years and have only had one credit card. I got a new tv with it and as soon as I paid it off, I canceled it.
    But the thing that burns me up is when you go to buy something and they want a credit card more than they want cash. They look at you like you are crazy, when you tell them you don’t have a credit card and are paying cash. I even had someone once that wouldn’t take cash. Go figure. I just went to another store.

  4. Sid

    Sounds like a good way to go. I have friends who have credit card debt and I feel for them. I’m an impulse-buy kind of guy. Fortunately Christine tempers me.

  5. Rob Fraser

    Marson Fedrick, (yeah, that’s a name from the ’90s) is the manager of a Waffle House in Hattiesburg. He called me out of the blue in April.

  6. Hope: Yes! Y’all definitely made the right choice. I won’t QUITE go so far as to say they’re from the devil…but they’re pretty close. 🙂
    Dave: Yeah–I don’t like the pickin’ and choosin’ stuff…doesn’t make sense.
    Gwen: 51 years? CONGRATULATIONS! Yeah, folks don’t like that cash anymore…also, it irritates them when they ask for your phone number and you respond “I’m paying cash.” SOME cashiers aren’t sure how to respond to that!
    Sid: Impulse buy–good ONLY if you have the cash on you! 🙂
    ROB: WOW! How are you? Haven’t heard from either you OR Marson in ages!

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