Cash, credit, check, or other: How do you pay for food?

Recently, I was listening to a feature on NPR about credit cards, and one 'financial expert' mentioned how with 'problematic' cardholders, one red flag for the company is when the holder begins charging groceries and other basic necessities.

It popped into my head that unless I have to (like I haven't had a chance to get to the bank) I almost always pay cash for groceries and other basic necessities, like gas. On the other hand, I know some people who always charge necessities as a way of keeping track of how much they spend (and pay the balance off, needless to say, and the end of the month, to make this system work in their favor).

However, growing up, my mother ONLY paid by check in the grocery store--it was her rule you could NEVER charge groceries. I guess on the same principle of never charging basic necessities.

I also only pay cash in restaurants, unless it is avoidable--I hate being the one who charges the meal, and then takes other diners' cash in payment. Usually ends up not working out in the card holder's favor, if you know what I mean.

So, maybe this is an unserious question, but just out of curiosity--how do you pay for food? Cash? Credit or debit card? Or are you the little old lady who is always in front of me in the Express 7 or Less aisle when I have to go to the bathroom, who makes out a check, balances her checkbook, and then gives the cashier a check to pay for her stuff?

And of course, any interesting 'others'--like bartering garden produce with neighbors, mooching free food at work, is always interesting to hear about!


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