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Why more American families are going cashless

The Sutton Family has gone from cash to plastic. They're just one of a growing number of families using less cash for everyday spending.

According to mom Julia Sutton, "We don't deal with a lot of cash. Even their lunches are now automated through credit cards, so they're very used to this and not used to cash."

Buying lunch, shoes, even an iPad, the Sutton children make purchases on their own from a weekly allowance they get on a card instead of cash. Their parents use a mobile app or go online to transfer money into each child's account. Then Bridget, Hannah and Samantha Sutton use their "allowance card" to spend their allotment.

Research shows that using cash isn't all that cheap. The cost of using cash to consumers, business and governments is about $200 billion a year in everything from ATM fees to theft to lost tax revenue. For the average American family, that's more than $1,700 a year, according to Tufts University.

Allowance Manager founder Dan Meader said using plastic and tracking spending not only saves families money, it helps children learn how to make transactions in an increasingly cashless society.

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images