But do credit cards grow on trees?

We're rich!!
We’re rich!!

Our credit union started offering mobile check deposit. Or maybe they’ve had it forever and I’m just now getting to be in the know. But anyway, I’ve been so excited with this phone app. I don’t ever plan on having to set foot in the credit union again. I may be exaggerating a bit, but it will definitely be less banking errand trips.

Apparently I like the banking phone app so much that I attempted to deposit the same check twice. I can just imagine the people who audit this mobile check deposit. (It IS people who double check, right? Or is that automated now as well?) I gotta wonder if they are thinking I’m trying to make some money out of this deal. I mean, I can do this cool check deposit on the same check over and over again. You never know, maybe a few of the duplicates would slide through. Boom! More money in my pockets! Do you think anyone else has figured out this little loophole yet?

This little accident (really!) reminds me of when I was a little girl, and I saw my mom pay for groceries at our local Piggly Wiggly using these little rectangular pieces of paper. Visions of color TVs, shiny new cars, mountains of candy, mounds of money, and fancy new clothes all danced around in my head. Hell yeah, we’re rich! We’re gonna be living the big life now! We’re movin’ on up! I didn’t get, after all this time, why my mom didn’t just write on these little papers to her heart’s content. Hot check? Well, I don’t know what that is, but it doesn’t sound so scary.

Nowadays it’s probably more credit cards the kids may think of as an unending entertainment source. Oh wait, and so do many of their parents, unfortunately. I gotta say, Gerald and I were both taught right, of course after my mom had to explain that money really doesn’t grow on trees and that the little slips of paper were like an official IOU note. Oh.

Gerald and I have always been of the mindset that credit cards are convenient, most definitely, but we won’t make a purchase unless we actually have the funds available. And we always pay the balance in full when the bill comes due. Not sure if we’ve instilled this sort of thinking in our boys though, but we’re working on it.

You can pay for anything using this little piece of plastic...
You see boys, you can pay for anything using this little piece of plastic…

–kd

14 thoughts on “But do credit cards grow on trees?”

  1. Thanks again for adding to the understanding of “everyday American life” that I’ve accumulated from watching sitcoms! I love this, it’s kind of like having a penpal πŸ˜‰
    Credit cards used to be something only rich(-ish) people had around here, but now that you need them to pay on the internet, most people have them. Still, our standard way of paying for stuff is our debit card. Still seems weird to me how it seems to be the norm (? correct me if I’m wrong here) to buy everything on credit in the US. How do they not see that will only end in massive debt?

    1. IMHO, credit cards are safer (than cash, checks, debit cards) because it’s not coming directly from your bank account. I feel more protected against fraud by using credit cards. Plus you can earn bonus/reward points and sometimes get discounts. But you’re right, it’s scary that there are so many Americans swimming in debt because they’re buying beyond their means. And one day, the piper will require payment.

      1. True, but you can’t use a debit card without putting in the secret code. If you steal my credit card you can use it just like that. I never understood how it worked when people hand out their cards to servers at restaurants to take into the back. Don’t they just need the number on the card to steal money from you? I guess that’s where the card company comes in to protect you? Anyway, I love these little cultural differences πŸ™‚

        1. Not sure how, but the crooks somehow either know your PIN or know a way to bypass having to entet the PIN. And yes the restaurant thing, pretty sure that’s where we’ve been hit with fraud, but we’re not held liable for any fraudulent charges. Same with debit cards, you’re not liable for any fraudulent charges, but then it’s a battle to get your account refunded (because the $$$ was drawn directly from your account).

  2. Yea. Then you learn that they charge you 40 bucks a pop for trying to cash (deposit) a bad (used) check!

  3. In college, before I had my first credit card, a friend of mine got herself into insane debt by using one credit card to pay off another. It was a good lesson in what not to do. Now I suspect a credit card is mandatory for college students, and even then some carried a “for emergencies only” credit card. Sometimes the “emergency” was “hey, we need ten pizzas!”

    1. I believe my parents were very good role models when it came to using credit cards. I’ve managed, thus far at least, to stay out of any debt trouble like that. I remember finding it amusing, probably more sad really, when a friend would get store credit from wherever, and then feel inclined to spend to the max. I’m guessing they just didn’t know better. Painful lessons to learn, that’s for sure.

  4. The mention of your Mom using checks when you were a child reminded me of this– do you remember spending unbearable long amounts of time waiting in the bank with your parents as akid? I do. This was before ATM’s so if you needed cash you had to take a trip to the bank. I remember groaning every time we had to go. It was SO BORING just standing in line with my Mom. . I remember our bank built a drive up window which seemed like major progress. The wait was still boring but at least you were in your own card. I remind my son of this anytime he gets annoyed while running errands with me. It could be so much worse child.

    1. Didn’t some banks give the kids lollipops? Not all the tellers though, just the nice ones. So at least there was that. Haha. And did y’all do those green stamps? That memory popped into my head while writing this post. I loved looking through the green stamps catalog. πŸ™‚

      1. That brings back memories of popping up in the backseat when we went through the drive-thru to make sure the tellers could see me. Some bank drive-thrus now have dog treats too if they see a dog in your car.

        Gina’s comment also reminded me of a prank I’d seen on SNL: you go to the stack of withdrawal slips and write “THIS IS A HOLD-UP. PUT ALL THE MONEY IN A BAG” on the second or third one down. Once I was in a bank with a friend and said, “Hey, you wanna hear a fun thing to do in a bank?” A nice security guard came over and explained that it wasn’t as funny as I thought it was.

        1. Yeah, someone would probably end up getting shot just trying to make things more interesting at the bank. Sheesh. I had forgotten about the dog treats. Good times. Good times.

  5. Karen, You and Gerald sound smart when it comes to money. You pay off your balance. You don’t live beyond your means. So many children don’t get that lesson. And when retirement comes around, you’ll be happy you did all that. Laurie

    1. Thank you, Laurie. Not sure if our boys have a good grasp of money/credit ‘things’, but hopefully Gerald and I are leading by example. And I’m sure there are many talks to come, of course. I hope you’re doing well. πŸ™‚

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