I've been doing the grocery shopping for my folks. They are 86 and can't drive to the store. To save money, I've been going to WinCo. WinCo does not take credit cards; so I got three of these bad boys from the bank. (I also got the bills because I wanted to take their picture).
Now, I must confess, I've been a maven of electronic transactions. I buy everything with credit cards or paypal. This gives me a complete audit trail, which is helpful when being audited.
Politicians have been seeking to eliminate cash. Eliminating cash makes it easier to collect taxes and control how people spend their money. Notably, Greece and France are making transactions over 1000 euros illegal.
According to this blog, Louisiana made it illegal to buy and sell used goods using cash.
Although I appreciate the convenience of cash transactions, I am not sure about the political effort to end cash.
Personally, I suspect that, due to inflation, the US will stop using change in the near future. A 2016 dollar bill has about the same buying power that a penny had back in 1916. (Inflation figures are hard to calculate as technology has radically changed the price of goods and services.)
When I took this photo, I thought that $300 was great deal of money. I filled up one large cart at WinCo. The total bill came to $250. The food lasted about two weeks.
I did a second experiment. I needed to make a $40 purchase from a local business. I gave the business owner a choice between a hundred dollar bill my credit card. He snapped at the c-note explaining that the transactions fees of the credit card really sapped his profit margin. He also mentioned that he like hundred dollar bills because they are easier to count than twenties.
Money is printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (MoneyFactory.gov. Curious to see how much money is printed, I combined information from their annual report and made a table showing the amount of currency printed each year. (NOTE, the Federal Reserve creates money electronically by interbank loans. Printed currency is about making money available for transactions.