Pay Me in Checks, Please!

I just remembered something about myself that I forgot about for a long long time: I LOVE GETTING PAID VIA CHECK!  You don’t see it very often these days (they do still exist, though!), but every time I get one I feel like a million bucks up in here… like it’s real, old-fashioned, hard-earned money. Unlike this wimpy e-stuff we pass around all day long ;)

Remember what it felt like to hold pure value like that in your hands? To really see it and feel it, and know that it equates to a lot of goodness?  Maybe it’s just me, but seeing a hundred dollars in my online account vs. holding a check for $100 are completely different feelings. Even though I know it shouldn’t be this way at all (money is money, right?).  The more I see it in “real life” though, the more it really feels like I WORKED for it. Especially in my industry when everything gets paid via Paypal all the time and I feel like it’s all weird Monopoly money…

It also reminded me of that time I got my paycheck in all *CASH* instead of auto-deposit – remember that? And then our company went out of business a couple years later? Haha… I received $1,800 in a stack of pretty much all $50s, and the entire day I felt like a king. Even after I took it all to the bank, and did my best to not get robbed in the process ;) I knew keeping it in its purest form rather than electronify it (new word) would force me to keep more of it over time, but at the end of the day it just really isn’t all that convenient, which is a shame.

I don’t really have a point here other than sharing these experiences with you today, but I would love to hear your own thoughts on these different types of payment methods we’ve got going on.  How do YOU prefer to get paid in a perfect world? Do you spend more, or save more, when you get a lot of money in cash? I’ll admit I very much like the ease and simplicity of getting paid online every time, but a small part of me also knows it’s getting harder and harder to *understand* the true value of money too as time goes on. It’s starting to get un-exciting seeing it all transferred electronically than through my hands these days, am I the only one?

(Photo by Robin Hood Tax)

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  1. Shawanda @ You Have More Than You Think June 12, 2012 at 6:53 AM

    Money is great in any form, but nowadays, I shy away from receiving payment via check. Yeah, you have to pay PayPal their ridiculous fees, but I like the ease of collection. Plus, I’m more likely to lose a check. Come to think of it, I need to contact my former dental insurance provider about a check they said they sent me months ago that I didn’t cash.

  2. Lance@MoneyLife&More June 12, 2012 at 7:09 AM

    I like getting it online or direct deposit because of the simplicity (I use online banks). However it was really cool when I got paid $3,200 in cash for selling my last car. I was afraid I’d get robbed, hid the money, then took it to the bank as soon as it was open :)

  3. MadlyClumsily June 12, 2012 at 7:23 AM

    I love getting cash in hand, but I couldn’t get my whole paycheck like that, I would siphon too much off. Electronic is boring, but I’m less likely to waste the money if I have to take it out of the bank. If I have to put it in, it might not make it in every time.

  4. Sarah Fowler June 12, 2012 at 8:15 AM

    I guess I prefer electronic payments because I hate “the check is in the mail,” but I can’t believe you discussed checks without talking about how awesome USAA’s Deposit@Home feature (depositing checks with your iPhone) is! I LOVE that capability.

  5. SMB June 12, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    I love getting paid by check. Any amount feels like so much more than if it’s just deposited. I also love the feeling of going to the bank and depositing it which is weird cause with the time and gas money spent on depositing checks, it’s probably more of a waste.

  6. Call Me What You Want Even Cheap June 12, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    I like checks as well, but I avoid them because they can get lost in the mail, I can misplace it, or forget to cash it.

    I much prefer Paypal, but hate their fees of course. Does Paypal have any competitors?

  7. Squeezer @Personal Finance Success June 12, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    I still like getting paid via check, because checks usually have zero to little fees. My credit union has an overnight deposit box that I put the checks in. I’ve never had a problem getting them cashed.

  8. jolie June 12, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    ahhh the sweet joy of diving into my pool of cash and coins, a la Scrooge McDuck.

    I don’t really get paid beyond my work, and that is direct deposit into my account. Less exciting but I am still glad to get the $

  9. Brian June 12, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    I don’t really like getting checks all that much because banks like to hold them. Banks will even hold tax refund checks (which they aren’t supposed to do). The good news is my credit union now lets me send them a picture of the check for deposit so I don’t actually have to go in, if I don’t want to!

  10. Miriam June 12, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    I love getting paid in checks because I love using USAA’s deposit@home. Even if the checks are usually only 3 bucks from doing a survey (I save up 4-5 of them then deposit all at once), it makes me giggle to scan them in and see them in my bank right away. I will say that was a blessing when the Bank of Mom sent us a rescue check for emergency truck repair.

    Handling cash money isn’t that big of a deal to me because at one time I worked in a casino. I got kind of jaded about it all after a short time. “$10,000 tray of chips? Sure, here you go. Good luck!”

  11. StackingCash June 12, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    I get cash all day long! Almost :) I have a job that depends on tips so I enjoy touching that filthy money everyday. Builds up the immune system I think :) I get direct deposit because my company will pay me on Friday instead of Sunday if I opted for a physical check. I hate waiting for money.

  12. Carrie Smith June 12, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    I love getting paid via checks too! It all feels very old skool and nostalgic. A paper check, sent with a real envelope/stamp and having to the check the mailbox and see the awesome paycheck surprise! You don’t see much of any of that these days. I do love cash too though :)

  13. Joe @ Retire By 40 June 12, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    I’d rather get paid in cash. :) A check doesn’t evoke any feeling at all and it’s the same as getting paid online for me. Cash on the other hand is cash! :)

  14. J. Money June 12, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    @Shawanda @ You Have More Than You Think – Yikes! You’re like my wife – she just found $250 in checks that she never deposited from Xmas! What the heck? :)
    @Lance@MoneyLife&More – Haha, yeah that’s def. a bit freaky :) I’d have done the same!
    @MadlyClumsily – I can undersand that. It’s good you know yourself so well :)
    @Sarah Fowler – OH yeah! Haha… I love me some USAA iPhone apps! Just deposited a couple checks through it this weekend :)
    @SMB – EXACTLY!! I love that too! It’s fun and kinda “important” feeling for some reason ;)
    @Call Me What You Want Even Cheap – Yup, there are a few others but they all take fees one way or the other. Overall I’m happy with Paypal too (it IS pretty easy), but the money just doesn’t seem as real anymore from it – which is a bummer. Although it could be worse – the money could literally not be worth anything! Haha…
    @Squeezer @Personal Finance Success – Oh yeah, that’s true too. I wasn’t even thinking of the fees with this stuff!
    @jolie – That is the most important part, I suppose ;)
    @Brian – There you go! Your bank and all the others out there copied the original one: USAA ;)
    @Miriam – WOWWWWW!! I want to hear more about your casino working experience! Want to do a Side Hustle post for me? Paleaaaaase? :)
    @StackingCash – Haha, you’re right about that dirty money! But I love it oh so much still :)
    @Carrie Smith – Yeah!!!! Surprises in the mailbox are HOT, yo!
    @Joe @ Retire By 40 – I’ll agree with you on that any time of the week :)

  15. The Happy Homeowner June 12, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    I have a stack of checks to deposit today!! :)

    I was quite excited that my mortgage company sent me two separate paper checks when they closed my original escrow accounts during my mortgage ReFi. They could have just sent it electronically to the new account but this is far more fun.

    Plus, my roommate gives me rent and utility checks every month so I always have something to cash. Aside from the annoyance of remembering to deposit them, I’m with you on the check thing

  16. Eric J. Nisall - DollarVersity June 12, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    I’ll take money in any shape, form or fashion. It all ends up in the same place, and at least to me, the number that I like to see ballooned up is the account balance in any (preferably all) of my accounts. I really wouldn’t mind receiving a check since my bank is literally on almost every corner I can run to the ATM and deposit it or cash without going out of my way. Of course, it would help if I had access to mobile deposits, but Wells Fargo is behind in that department.

    As long as the bills aren’t counterfeit, and the checks don’t bounce I will welcome them with open arms.

  17. Stephanie June 12, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    I would rather have all my checks go through direct deposit because there are banks out there that will put holds on checks for a ton of different reasons. The bank I work for will not put holds on anything that comes in directly and it’s available immediately. Cash scares the crap out of me to carry so I would have to deposit all that anyway!

  18. PB @ June 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    I get paid using direct deposit… then my account takes care of all of my billing and savings. Its really sweet using ING!

  19. SavvyFinancialLatina June 12, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    I love money in any way, shape, or form, as long as I am not paying any fees. Cash is king. Holding stacks of cash is very empowering and scary! Electronic deposits are fun! Who doesn’t like to see their bank account go up by a staggering amount? Checks are cool, but a hassle. I can’t remember the last time I went to the bank. Maybe when I opened the account?

  20. Jacob @ iHeartBudgets June 12, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Please tell me this is a Happy Gilmore reference! Getting paid in check or cash definitely has a different feeling than everything else. I sell on Craigslist a bit, and love getting those crispy new bills! Getting paid and managing my money online feels more like monopoly than real life. I just make sure the numbers stay positive. It’s just paying your negative numbers (accounts owed) with your positive numbers (money in da bank) and make sure you keep collecting those accounts receivable (income).

  21. Peter June 12, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    I still like getting those checks in the mail from the companies that I work with. There’s something about opening up that check in the mail that feels like Christmas. “Oh look, it’s just a plain old envelope… but it has MONEY in it! Woohoo!”

    Plus when getting paid via check vs. paypal often you don’t have to worry about paypal fees, which suck.

  22. A Blinkin June 12, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    That’s hilarious that you love getting checks. They scare the shit out of me. When money hits my paypal account, I know it’s there. When I’m holding a check, I can’t guarantee the money is available.

    When I used to play poker online, I remember the first sizable check I received from Partypoker. The check was coming from some flower shop in California. Sketchiest thing I’ve been a part of.

  23. Edward Antrobus June 12, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    I’ve always worked such crazy hours that checks are a pain. A couple years ago, I had one coworker who went 3 weeks of collecting paychecks before he was able to get to the bank to cash them. He went from broke to having $1600 in his pocket in one day.

  24. Laura June 12, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    What I hate about direct deposit is busting my ass for two weeks, putting in long hours, dealing with endless crap, just to be rewarded with some numbers on a line on an electronic page on my computer…and just so I can send some electronic numbers to my creditors. I often feel the reason we got so in debt is the disconnect between the lines of type and the fact that they actually represent real money! I can’t imagine actually taking cash and paying creditors with it, but I imagine it would “bring home” the reality of our situation. I love the ease of direct deposit as well as online billpay, I’m just not certain it reinforces the reality of our financial situation as well as actual money would.

  25. Craig June 13, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    I would love to receive a check some day. Everyone once in a while, I’ll get a check back from paying too much on insurance or taxes or something like that and they cut me a check! It’s nice to take it to the bank!

  26. Slackerjo June 14, 2012 at 7:17 AM

    What’s a check :-)?

  27. J. Money June 14, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    @The Happy Homeowner – Nice! You’re like in my heaven right now :)
    @Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity – Haha, amen brotha – I can get down with that.
    @Stephanie – Good point on the holds, I didn’t even think of that… probably because I put everything on a credit card so I only really “pay a bill” once a month so it doesn’t matter much *when* the checks clear to me, as long as they do.
    @PB @ – ING is great, I agree! Esp. with all those sub-accounts you can do with it. Makes saving for goals MUCH easier for ya.
    @SavvyFinancialLatina – Haha… I could go for a good cash stacking right about now ;)
    @Jacob @ iHeartBudgets – HAH! No, no Happy Gilmore reference here but I am a big fan of the movie :) And I totally agree that it’s like monopoly money – just seems so fake! (but very VERY glad it’s not!!!)
    @Peter – Yes indeed! I very much enjoy heading to my mailbox every single day :) Only nothing ever comes from Bible Money Matters :(
    @A Blinkin – HAH!!!! Didn’t that place go under too? Or couldn’t use real money or something? I was never an online poker player during the last trend, but it did get me to play in Hold ’em tournaments with friends – I miss it… I could play every single night if my friends were closer :)
    @Edward Antrobus – Haha… he should keep trying to break his record too and go for like 6 weeks and then 12 weeks! ;)
    @Laura – YES!!! EXACTLY!!! I can gaurnatee that if we had to pay our cable bill in CASH (and in person) every month, as well as all other bills – like our mortgage – we’d double think a LOOOOOOT more of our habits than we do now, that’s for sure. And even if we kept things as-is, at least we’d appreciate it more!
    @Craig – Yup! The random “free” ones are always the best, too ;)
    @Slackerjo – It’s something you need to send me today! Just write a 1 and then a whole bunch of 0’s on it, okay? Thanks :)

  28. Hannah June 17, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    I work for a very small company that doesn’t offer direct deposit and I LOVE getting checks. It feels like I worked so much harder when I feel the paper in my hands.

  29. J. Money June 17, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    Haha yup! And really you have no choice in the matter anyways if they don’t even offer it ;) But enjoy it while you can before they upgrade one day!

  30. Chris August 1, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    Direct deposit. Pay-day is every other thrusday but my money comes in Wednesday nights around 11pm due to my bank being chase I get paid it’s there. I don’t have to cry or worry about going to the bank and stand in long lines. If I loose the check or cash I’m screwed. Notification comes in on my phone letting me know a deposit was made…

    1. J. Money August 3, 2014 at 12:40 PM

      True, it’s def. a lot easier/safer going the automated route. Gotta go with whatever’s best for your situations for sure.