My Journey out of Debt

Featured customers currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Relief Plan, share journey to become debt-free; hear how they juggle family, finances, and more.

I Still Need to Carry a Check-Book

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I Still Need to Carry a Check-BookWe've all seen them. The signs that seem to be popping up in businesses everywhere these days that say, "We no longer accept checks.  Sorry for any inconvenience." 

No problem; I'm a big proponent of paying for things with cash. So are a lot of people who are trying to stick to a budget. If I have amounts budgeted for expenses, and I carry and pay for things with cash, then I'm less likely to overspend. I can see how much money is in my wallet, and that's how much I have to spend.

Of course, I always have my debit card handy for those special circumstances: 

  1. When I haven't withdrawn cash from my account
  2. When I encounter an unexpected expense
  3. When I don't want to carry a large amount of cash

I never carry a checkbook anymore-it's just not convenient. A wallet is bad enough to have stuck in the back pocket of my pants, adding a checkbook is just uncomfortable. Plus, with the modern conveniences of debit cards and online bill pay, my checkbook is commonly left to collect dust in the kitchen drawer.

However, apparently there still is a use for the old 6x3 folder. 

I recently ran across two instances where a checkbook may not have just been convenient, but even necessary.

Recently, my wife and I were invited to join some people for dinner at a restaurant in a very small town about 40 minutes from where we live. The invitation came with little notice. But we discussed what this meant to our budget, and decided we could do it. We settled on an amount as the max we wanted to spend, hopped in the car and headed out of town. Time was of the essence, so we didn't have time to stop at an ATM from our bank.

No problem, we'll just use our debit card, right?

As we walked into the restaurant, taped to the door was a yellow piece of paper with black lettering:  "This establishment does not accept credit or debit cards." 


I didn't have cash, and as mentioned, I don't carry a checkbook. How exactly was I going to pay for our meal? Luckily there was also a sign that indicated there was an ATM on the premises . . . that charged me $3 to withdraw my own money.

My car license tags were due in February, so the first day of March (of course I procrastinated until the very end), I drove to the license bureau. I entered and walked up to the counter, on which sat a sign that read: Cash and checks only. 

That's right; the entity that is in charge of running the day-to-day operations of the great state of Minnesota doesn't have the technology to accept my debit card as a method of payment for vehicle license tags.

Seriously, help a guy out and get with the times.

Do you still carry a checkbook? Have you run across any instances lately where you needed to have one?

Related Links:

Balancing My Checkbook Sucks

What Does Living Paycheck To Paycheck Mean?

I'm on a Debt Management Plan, Why Can't I Use My Credit Cards?

Travis Pizel CareOne Debt Relief Services Customer BloggerTravis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt blog and is a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis very candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family. You can also follow along with Travis on his personal blog, Our Journey to Zero. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

Follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles

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  • LOL, snwilliams100, I don't think I even know how much a stamp costs anymore it's been so long since I bought one.  You're the second person that made a comment in regards to having a checkbook in the glove compartment.  That's not a bad idea....

  • I still write checks for charitable giving. It makes it feel more like real money and thus a closer to connection to the act of giving.

  • There's certainly nothing wrong with that, Brent (and giving to charities is definitely an admirable thing to do) - AND you're making the choice to write out a check (and know ahead of time you're doing it).  It's when the "forced check writing" is a surprise that burns me...  :)  Thanks for sharing your perspective!

  • In wisconsin dvm u can renewal ur plate online which is cheaper. It is 3 dollar more when u go somewhere to get sticker and u do it online it is 1. I only use my checkbook for rent and electric and water. Since my bf open a new checking account u go online and write a check out then they sent it to whom it for so it save us enevelope and stamp so we decide to do that less stress on me all i have to do is call my landlord and told him about it becuz my bf isn't on lease and I live where I am for 7 yrs which my bf have a bad credit so we just put it in my name and the city I live in for the water doesnt use debt card or online so I write check so I can use my check to see if I pay that bill and i also use my check for my family who need recipent like my lil brother own my older brother money so my lil brother give me money and I write a check for my older brother and when the money went through I just rip the recipent and give it to my lil brother so he know how much he own. I am on new checkbook that had my address the last one was my old place address which I live the place we are now 7yrs. I also use for my kids and my sibling school events. So I know I just pay for my daughter and nephew pre college for summer learning and hope they get accept.

  • Hi Michelle, it certainly sounds like checks still play an occasional, yet important role in your life, and that it is working well for you.  Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and thoughts!

  • This may sound funny but I do the exact opposite. I've realized the conveince of carrying a debt card is part of my debt problem. Writing checks makes me think about my purchase and makes impulse buying more difficult.

  • That is a GREAT perspective, ncarrier0920!  Although I do not (normally) carry a checkbook, I do have a checkbook register in my home office area in which I balance my account.  I could see how writing checks out would make you think more about your purchases, though.  What do you do when checks are not accepted - as seemingly more and more common these days?

    Thanks so much for your comment!

  • One solution is to fold a single check and stash it securely in your wallet. You have the check for an unlikely emergency, but need not carry a checkbook.

  • That's a GREAT idea, Mike!  As long as I have some way to remember how much I wrote the check out for when that unlikely emergency occurs. :) Thanks for the suggestion!

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