Sunday, March 12, 2006

Check cashing

Welcome to EveryDay Money,
Let me jump right in from the beginning. People, me included, do some of the dumbest things with money. If we can minimize the number of stupid things that we do with our money, then we may find that we can simply do more things with our money.

Hmm.. Perhaps I should stop, jump halfway back out and mention a few things first. I am NOT a professional money person, any and all information, pictures, ideas, stories, mistakes of the dollar, clever thoughts or usage of same are not meant to solicit, force, demand, you to buy, subscribe, read, think or ponder your EveryDay Money. Make no money or life decisions without first being ready to take responsibility of said decisions. If you do any of these things, let’s see, it is because you are a free thinking responsible human being. In short reading, thinking, doing is your own responsibility and can not be delegated or transferred to another every time you screw up.

Back in we go. The other day I am standing in line in the lobby of Bank of America waiting to cash a small check. I was in Bank of America because they have my small account, so I bring them my small checks to cash. They are happy, I am happy. So, I am standing there in line, two people behind me was this young man about 18-19 years old. He too had check in hand. Come to think about it the guy behind me also had a check. Perhaps a trend for that day? As it would happen we all get to the counter within second of each other. I have one on each side of me. My BOA lady takes my check and is using the drive-up computer on the other side so I have a minute. The kid beside me is cashing an AMC theater payroll check. (Sound travels in a quiet bank.) I am thinking good for him, has a job and everything. (I always try to applaud those that can work and do, beats those that can and won’t.) The lady asked him if he has an account. No. (What! A job and no savings account... say it ain’t so. Hasn’t your mother ever told you… perhaps not?) The nice lady informs him that since he doesn’t have an account it will COST him $5 to cash his check. He replies, “No problem.” He says no problem to someone taking $5 of his money for a 2 minute conversation. Interesting. Stay with me here: Pay check every two weeks (I am guessing, I know nothing about AMC theaters besides they are big and evening shows cost enough that they should come with an autograph of every actor in the movie. Free.)

Cost of cashing check: $5. Cost of two cashing per month: $10. Cost of cashing 12 months in a year: $120. $120 of his money in the bank’s pockets at year’s end: price…. Oh! Can’t say that, lawsuits and all. Anyway, I submit $120 a year to cash checks is stupid. I know of at least two banks and there may be more around here that $100 will open a basic savings account, no fees. Cost of cashing checks Zero, interest on the $100 in the account something greater than Zero.
Teach your children better. That’s it for this one.

Keep a close eye on your EveryDay Money.

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