Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why I Cashed a Check for 18 Cents

Yes, the title is true. I got in my truck, drove to the bank, and cashed a check made out to me for the amount of $.18. You're probably wondering why I even got the check in the first place. Last month, I made my last payment on my truck (9 months early, but who's counting). When I called for the payoff, a computerized voice told me how much to pay as long as I paid before a certain date. A couple of weeks later, I received the title to my truck and a check for $.18. So, given the fact that I have more than that sitting in the cupholder of the truck I just finished purchasing, why would I bother spending the time and gas money to go cash that check? Some would say that I was destroying mother earth by even burning the fossil fuels in my V8 to drive to the bank and make such a ridiculous deposit. (In case you're wondering, it was about 2 blocks away from another errand I had to make.) So here is how I rationalized driving to the bank to cash a check for $.18.

1. Money is money. My wife and I went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University over a year ago. And while it took us a while to get on the same page and discipline ourselves, it has really changed our marriage, and our finances. Therefore, literally every cent we have can be utilized for something good, which right now is buying food/groceries or paying off debts.

2. I'm reminded of all the people in the world who don't even have that $.18. In 21st century America, we may be whining about the economy and the recession we may or may not be in, or the economic projections various experts are giving us. But the fact remains that we are still one of the wealthiest countries on earth (at least as individuals we are based on our incomes and our bank accounts). So while that $.18 won't even buy a decent gumball in a dispenser, cashing that check is a matter of principle.

3. Somewhere out there, there is a young lady (or man) working in a cubicle who has been given the task of tracking that account. If I had just torn up that check, or left it in the console of my truck, her books would never be reconciled. Of course this is given the premise that the bank truly runs their books the way we all hope a large bank should. Now, don't think I want a Nobel Prize for being a great humanitarian, but I did have to weigh the consequences of my decision and ultimately I realized there was someone else involved in this greater process.

So what about you? Would you have bothered to cash it? What menial task did you have that seemed like it could have been a waste of your time, but maybe it wasn't?

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