The average amount of cash carried by Canadians is just under $45, according to a recent survey by a company in the payments business called Square. But a lot of us are going around with wallets loaded with plastic and zero cash.

I asked on Twitter how much cash people had in their wallets and the most common response was zero. A few people carry a token amount of cash – around $20 or so. And a couple of people said they carry large sums because you can get good deals on some items if you agree to pay cash. They weren’t more specific on exactly what cash bargains are available.

The amount of cash you have in your wallet is to some extent a generational thing. The Square survey found that millennials carried an average of about $28. Women carried $7 less than men on average. Quebeckers carried the most cash – an average of almost $49, while Maritimers carried the least, at an average of just over $41.

Square said the overall amount of cash carried on average fell by $1.80 from 2018 levels. The slow march toward a cashless society raises an issue for parents – should you raise your young kids to be cashless?

For example, you could give them an allowance by transferring the money into their bank account and encouraging them to pay for things with a debit card. Another option is to use a reloadable prepaid credit card. A parent could load a specific amount on the card and then have their children manage that money until it runs out.

Piggy banks for kids? Right, and be sure to buy them a typewriter for school assignments.

The Globe and Mail, July 9, 2019