I've always liked using my credit card because it was a good way to keep track of what I purchased and I always earn some cash back from their reward system. I'm starting something new. I'm using cash. It's harder than you'd think if you are used to not carrying cash. I always have emergency cash on me to make sure I can get from point A to point B if credit or ATM machines are down. But to use cash all the time? It's been almost 35 years since I did that.
I'm still going to have some automatic payments that I make out of my bank account (rather than writing the check). These expenses my sister charges so she can still get rewards: the electric bill, gas bill, Internet and cable, house payment, taxes, insurance, etc. Big companies have this information so trying to pay cash to stay under any radar is silly. Using the charge is an interesting idea here, as long as you are the type to pay it off each month, otherwise it's a foolish idea. Whether I start to charge those types of bills or still just have the bank send out the payment (saving me the postage) is still up in the air.
I'm talking about paying cash at the store or gas station. Sure it's an inconvenience to carry around cash for everyday expenses but becoming a bit more anonymous is a good idea. Around here you can still buy ammunition for cash. They may want to see your ID to make sure you are old enough but they don't always make note of it. Do you really need your bank or charge card keeping track of purchases made for your preps? Rather than buying some of these items on line just to get the best deal, perhaps it's a bit wiser to pay a little more to a local store and not have the post office or UPS keeping track of what you get? Don't think they don't know!
A month ago I ordered some clearance items for Girl from Target. They shipped it UPS until it got to the local post office and then it was supposed to be delivered to my house. It never arrived. Target was able to look up the list of items and tell me exactly, to the minute, of when the UPS driver picked it up and what the driver's name was. UPS could show me where the package was each day for three days. Then it came to the post office at the nearby city. They are now looking into what happened between their post office and our local post office. This package will be able to be tracked down. Don't think you can order anything on line anonymously.
My Costco membership is a joint membership with a friend of mine who lives out of state. We share paying the Costco and Sam's Club memberships (like getting two for the price of one!). I bought something for Army daughter last March...a year ago...and my friend, who has the first line on the membership, was notified that one of the items was being recalled. They were able to look up on their computer something that I purchased a year ago and send out an email to notify us of this recall. This isn't something that you have to send in a registration card. They keep track of every purchase. I don't know for how long, perhaps forever?
Most of the grocery stores around here have their club cards. You have your number and using this will get you the discount prices. How do you keep that anonymous if you want the discounts? It's really easy but people don't know they can do it. First off, they will give you the little discount card. You can fill in the info and turn it in or you don't have to fill in the info. Your choice. My friend makes up a name and phone number. As long as he remembers the phone number he can punch that in rather than having to carry around the card. He picked an Alaska area code 907 and the seven digit number was his birthday 2301969 (Feb 30, 1969 -you didn't really think I'd give away my friend's real birthday, did you?). He always uses the same phone number. He always pays cash. If you use a check or charge the store can and does keep track of your purchases.
I vary my stores now, and I will continue to do so while paying cash. For example, there are four feed stores I can shop at with decent prices. If I rotate those stores I can really stock up (recleaned wheat) without anyone questioning my purchases. Same with the grocery stores. When my kids were young I'd shop once a month (as compared to my several times a year now). I'd fill up three or four shopping carts. That sure kept them remembering me, even though I didn't come in often. Shopping in the larger city rather than in the local town is also a good idea. I'll give it a try and see how it works out.