Write A Check??? What Is That? - Penny Lane Blog at Allrecipes.com - 249470

Penny Lane

Write a Check??? What is that? 
Sep. 8, 2011 12:18 pm 
Updated: Sep. 18, 2011 8:55 am
Last week I delivered dinner to a family who's mother had just had surgery on her right shoulder.  She couldn't lift a thing and could not even write.   When it came time to pay me she called her 20 something daughter down to write the check.
I noticed that this college student didn't actually know how to write a check -
"What goes here?  Her name?  Do I have to actually write out the amount?"
I was both amused and alarmed.  I realized that although I write far fewer checks than I used to - this college student didn't even own checks.
I have been cleaning out old file drawers and ran across a box of unused old checks for an account that has been closed for at least 15 years.  I was going to shred them when I got around to it....
An idea was born....
My grandkids spend a lot of time with me.  I am going to teach them how to write a check and balance a check book. 
The little ones can use whole dollars - the older ones can handle dollars and cents.  They will each start off with a set balance -
Snack?  That will be $2.00 please write me a check....
You need a ride?  That will be $3.89 - please write me a check....
You need me to deliver a forgotten homework assignment - that will be $25 - please write me a check. 
They will each have a check register - enter checks, subtract - keep a running balance etc... 
I think they will be able to earn "Deposits" by taking out the trash or other chores. 
We will see how it goes - I will let you know! 
Sep. 8, 2011 12:28 pm
I need you to refresh me on check writing. I needed to write a check during the storm aftermath a few months ago. The fourth check was acceptable. The prior tries were destroyed.
Sep. 8, 2011 12:29 pm
great idea! though these days I write a check about once a year, it is important to know how to do it. :)
Sep. 8, 2011 12:29 pm
LOL - Mike! I have no doubt that my hubby would have the same difficulty. Amazing isn't it?
Sep. 8, 2011 12:31 pm
Not only could 20-something daughter not write a check but she apparently couldn't make dinner for her recovering mother.
Sep. 8, 2011 12:34 pm
goodfood - I don't write many either but they should know how. In addition - keeping that running balance is important. My eldest grandson just learned an expensive lesson when he over drew his account. :(
Sep. 8, 2011 12:36 pm
Muddy - I am a private chef and provide meals to this family all the time - none of them cook. They do know how to "Drive Thru" but are working toward breaking that bad habit. Mom usually pays me with a check.
Sep. 8, 2011 1:03 pm
Baking Nana - It has occurred to me that if the 20-something doesn't have a checking account, what are the odds your grands will ever need to write a check, for anything? Now, knowing how to compute your bank balance, yeah, that's a useful skill that isn't going anywhere. They'll thank you later. But check writing? That's so 20th Century!
Sep. 8, 2011 1:15 pm
Lucy - you might be right - it will be a story they all tell at family gatherings in the future..."Remember the time...." Still - I think it is something they should know how to do. There will come a time when they either write a check or have cash.
Sep. 8, 2011 1:17 pm
Oh and these yound adults all have "Checking Accounts" they just don't order checks. They also tend to trust the bank to display the correct balance... that isn't always the case.
Sep. 8, 2011 1:22 pm
What an awesome idea! I remember learning how to write checks in school. It was part of a math workbook in something like third or fourth grade. It's scary how many things are going to the way-side simply because we rely so heavily on technology to do things for us. Did you know schools are not even teaching children how to tell time on a standard clock anymore?!?! My 15-year-old daughter complains any time I won't tell her what time it is in our home if she can't see the microwave...because all the other clocks are standard clocks. Why? because "It's too HARD to tell time on those!!!" It frightens me how many cashiers don't know how to count change, too. I don't know how many times I've been in the grocery store and the cashier accidentally entered the wrong dollar amount when putting in how much money I'd given him/her and I had to tell them how much change they owed me! Technology is great, but not when it's used at the expense of education.
Sep. 8, 2011 1:32 pm
That's a great idea! I'm going to try something like that with my 10 yr old. Great lesson in budgeting, too. Thanks for sharing your clever idea.
Sep. 8, 2011 1:37 pm
Keri - there was a power outage at Subway the other day - the girl couldn't compute tax or make change. Not even with a calculator.
Sep. 8, 2011 1:38 pm
Michelle - I think they will think this fun - I hope so. "Bank of Nana" - it isn't too far from the truth!
Sep. 8, 2011 1:58 pm
OK, so maybe I am dinosaurish and still write checks for all my bills instead of the faster better way-ONLINE- but I did the same thing with my kid and he knows how to use checks. The funny thing I have to share about checks is the canceled ones I saved of my grandfather's. He wrote them in PENCIL! Can you imagine doing that nowadays?
Sep. 8, 2011 1:59 pm
BTW, you are a cool Nana for taking the time to do this with the grandkids :)
Sep. 8, 2011 2:23 pm
Great idea, BN! I'm gonna keep this one in mind for when my little guy learns to write. Hmmm, maybe I'll do it w/ my nephews too! :)
Sep. 8, 2011 3:22 pm
We had a little storm here called Irene, which left many without electric for the better part of a week. We may not need the old school methods all the time, but they are very necessary to know. There were actually cashiers in many stores unable to calculate tax or make change and those ATMs weren't battery operated. I think your idea is excellent and I plan on stealing it. Thanks for sharing.
Sep. 8, 2011 3:44 pm
Baking Nana, my son is 22 and is in his last semester of college. When he turned 18 I took him to the bank and we opened a checking account. He got 100 checks, I think he has about 95 of those checks still! He alarms me - he uses the debit card all the time, but he never (and I mean never) balances his checkbook, nor does he ever even write anything down. I found his check register is his room not too long ago. The only thing in it was the beginning deposit he made and the first time he bought gas. He goes online and checks his balance. Somehow it works, he's never bounced a check... I, however, am constantly on his case about it, I believe he should be keeping an accounting. :-)
Sep. 8, 2011 3:47 pm
I think its a great idea just for the exercise. They may never have to write a check but learning that finances need tending is never a bad idea. You shoudl add in a savings accxount and whenever they amass a certain sum, they get real cash like a penny for ever dollar, something simple, yet tangible.
Sep. 8, 2011 3:58 pm
I ran this past the kids today and they are excited! The two in Jr. High said they knew how to write and check and subtract but what to do it anyway. I told them I paid $3.89 a gallon for gas today and any ride anywhere was going to start at $3.89 - they were stunned. One asked how much watermelon cost! :)
Sep. 8, 2011 4:00 pm
Randy - the saving account is a great idea. In fact they love going to the movies....if they SAVE X number of $$ it could be worth a trip with No Baking Papa to the movies! (I don't do movies - so I will pass this on to him.)
Sep. 8, 2011 4:01 pm
Mother Ann - your son is the norm not the exception. My grandson overdrew his account because his direct deposit didn't get credited in time - he loves to swipe his card! And the bank loves to collect those fees!
Sep. 8, 2011 4:04 pm
BSM - steal away! I hope it works and makes financial for more financially responsible kids. Oh BTW I told them any fighting is costing them $5.00 - that shut them up! :)
Sep. 8, 2011 4:06 pm
Cat - banking used to be simple and any more it really isn't. There is much to understand and learn. Fees? hmmmm - you mean they CHARGE you to keep your money? they charge you to move your money? This is really more than just writing a check - although as BSM pointed out - there are times when it is either cash or check.
Sep. 8, 2011 4:20 pm
excellent idea, Nana. We still live in a world with cheques. I write them in our small town, with our business, I write several every couple weeks. Just to be safe, I know it is a closed account, but I would still cut off the bottom account number. Also teach the kids how to read the bottom numbers-transit number, account number, cheque number and bank number. My oldest started working part time while back to school and they are direct deposting to his account. He learned how to fill out his own direct deposit from bank statement. It all helps. Knowledge is power.
Sep. 8, 2011 4:36 pm
I just realized you all write check not cheque, another spelling difference -like flavour and flavor, or honour and honor:)
Sep. 8, 2011 4:49 pm
No problem RNG - I read Cheque! Honour and Flavour! I also read tyre! :) I planned on using a black wide tip sharpie to black out the account numbers - but yes - they need to know what those numbers are. BTW - these "checks" aren't leaving my house - they will keep them here and I will "deposit" their checks to an envelope with a statement. :) They are excited about "Nana money"!
Sep. 8, 2011 4:51 pm
On second thought I have a void stamp - I will stamp the endorsement area with VOID. :)
Sep. 8, 2011 5:30 pm
Void is a pretty good description of where the money all goes too.
Sep. 8, 2011 5:59 pm
Oh oh oh, even better Nana, instead of giving them pennies on the dollar, you let it amass til you an open them each a real savings account and then make an event of watching them grow.
Sep. 8, 2011 6:31 pm
Randy - that is an excellent idea! I am a big believer in save some, spend some and give some. I think we will have to pick out a good cause that they can get behind. I could "pay" them Nana Bucks for public service. Hmmmm - the wheels are a turnin'
Sep. 8, 2011 6:43 pm
This is an EXCELLENT idea! More and more, young people do not have a clue about the real world of finances. A debit/credit card transaction does not visually track the money or the balance. Yes, we still write checks for a lot of bills. I will not pay anything online. I like getting that statement, showing the check was cashed, and detailing the bill-paying records. (Easier than managing receipts for debit-paid bills) Some people, though are like Blondie, and think that as long as you have blank checks, you still have money in the account! Somewhat OT, but important: Did you know that a major TV service provider KEEPS your credit or debit card number on file, even though you specify it's a one-time payment? They then automatically withdraw your monthly bill randomly from your checking or credit account. (Happened to a bank teller friend.) When I checked this out, the answer was "we keep the last-used numbers until they are replaced with another set of numbers. We cannot (will not)remove them until then!" I found this out when I loaned my card number to a relative for a one-time pay-by-phone payment, then saw the next month's bill was automatically charged. Had to change card #, & got the charge reversed through my company. The TV provider would not.
Sep. 8, 2011 7:12 pm
Brilliant idea - I love it!!! I had some elderly neighbors (in their 90's) and when the husband passed away, I would go check on her. One day I noticed her mail was stacking up and there were bills in this stack. I asked her if she needed help with getting her bills caught up - thinking that her grief was causing her lack of attention to this matter. She went to the desk and got the check book and handed it to me - she didn't know how to write a check. Her husband had always handled all the finances all through their marriage and she never learned how to read a bill or write a check. So . . . good for you BN - teach them young and they will not end up like this poor widow.
Sep. 8, 2011 7:16 pm
OH - P.S. - - that 20-something college student - - I think I would have been tempted to say "Oh that part where it has a dollar sign and where it says amount - - you can just leave that blank - - I'll help you out with that part." - - LOLOLOLOL!!!!
Sep. 8, 2011 7:21 pm
You know, Baking Nana, yet again you have brought up something to think about. I went to the gas station and the girl said "swipe the debit card please". I said "oh, I'm using cash" Odd how things have changed over the years.
Sep. 8, 2011 7:54 pm
Cat Hill - CASH!!! Really???? You are old school! :) These kids like to swipe like there is never ending $$ in that plastic!
Sep. 8, 2011 7:59 pm
luv2cook - how sad that after a life time a person could not have a clue as to how to handle the family finances. :( As for that college kid - she is no dumbie - for sure - she would have got a laugh out of that .
Sep. 8, 2011 8:01 pm
Mamaw - I would be inclided to file a complain with that company. Depending on the state you live in - the law is different - but I have found that you must authorize recurring payments - maybe the person who borrowed your card inadvertantly did that. These are things that we all need to be aware of....not just the "kids".
Sep. 8, 2011 8:06 pm
I have considered a complaint, and w/ BBB. No, a company cannot retain a cc# without your authorization. They also are not allowed to keep it temporarily in their computer, even for same-day back-to-back payments, ie. insurances. The borrower did NOT reuse the card# for the next month, but the (major) TV company DID, without their permission or mine, as the cardholder. My CC company rep was quite helpful, and disgusted with the tactics used when I tried to get the # and charge removed. He changed my # and removed the charge. The TV co actually said they have had a policy in place for over a year, to retain the last-used cc#, and would not remove it. I said it was not legal. When at the bank the next day, one of the tellers had the same bad experience, with them reusing a one-time #, charging the subsequent amounts on an erratic schedule, evn after phone calls to stop it. They dropped the company asap. I was shocked. I always check my paper) statements for errors, and found this immediately. It's a whole new electronic, shady at times, world. Live and learn! Again, I love your concept of teaching the G-kids about finances.
Sep. 8, 2011 8:29 pm
BN, great idea. Love the Nana Bucks idea too. But my comment is for Keri if she happens to come back and read this. Not teaching how to read a regular clock in school???? Is this happening in all schools or just in Keri's area? Sometimes you have to wonder about the curriculum in our schools.
Sep. 8, 2011 8:42 pm
Mamaw - that is shady indeed. I would contact your States Consumer Affairs office and/ or the State Attorney General. Buyer beware!
Sep. 8, 2011 8:46 pm
Magnolia - thanks for stopping in. We live in a new commnity with new schools - all the clocks are digital - cursive wrting isn't stressed and there aren't even white boards let alone chalk boards - Digital image boards that erase themselves with a push of a button. The kids have text books to take home for the term and ipads instead of texts for each desk. It is a digital world.
Sep. 9, 2011 5:04 am
I'm old fashioned. I still write out checks for all the bills that won't take a credit card. That first week of the month I usually have a sore hand. I may actually be singlehandedly keeping the post office in business.
Sep. 9, 2011 9:02 am
I am an older college student in a business math class with a lot of younger students average age 21-23. We were doing checkbooks and when the teacher asked how many students kept a checkbook, only 2 did. When she asked how we paid bills we all said, online bill pay or cash. She was so amazed that so few people knew how to keep a check register. I don't even keep one. I budget and because there is no extra I use my cash budget to buy anything that isn't already a bill that is on autopay from my monthly budget, when it's gone it's gone until the next month's cash allowance. It's so easy when everything is the same every month to just know and then there is the savings for emergencies should something else to come up. If I ever do need a check for something I just use a money order. I do know how though and I actually do for my volunteer job.
Sep. 9, 2011 10:05 am
Baking Nana...as a banker, just make sure that you still shred those checks once they have "paid" you, you don't want them out there floating around, if they fall into the wrong hands, they can still cause problems for you, even if the acct has been closed for 15 yrs! : /
Sep. 9, 2011 10:52 am
Goodness, I'm 28 and learned how to write checks in middle school. And I always make sure I have at least one or two on me. One never knows when power will blip out and the card swipe won't work. Though most places don't take checks anymore. I've started moving towards cash since I tend to forget to enter debit transactions. This is a great idea for the kids though. Even if they never have to write a check when they're adults, they'll remember this unique experience with their Nana! :)
Sep. 9, 2011 11:54 am
I learned how to write cheques as a kid (I used to write them for fun when I got my first chequing account when I was 10), but I don't have any now and I really have no need for them. No one takes cheques anymore. Can't pay for groceries or gas in cheque form. Any company that I pay money to regularly (insurance, credit card) prefers e-payments. In my fact my car insurance company will ONLY take direct deposit payments, they take the money directly from my account every month, I never have to do a thing. I have very very rarely every needed to send someone money; if e-transfer or paypal isn't feasible, money order it is. When I was at university, they accepted only cheque, money order or wire transfer as tuition payment, but my dad wrote those cheques. I graduated in 2009. My brother is at the same school, they now no longer take personal cheques and have online payment options. The times have changed!! The only reason I can think of why I might need cheques in the near future would be for giving post-dated cheques to a landlord but I know plenty of people who do that by direct deposit as well. I use my debit card though (not as often as a lot of people do, I prefer cash for every small transactions, and credit for larger purchases) and I've never once in my life balanced a chequebook. Why would I? I've never once come close to spending more than I made in a month, and I have a record of all my transactions in my online banking anyway.
Sep. 9, 2011 1:34 pm
Doug - Glad to hear you are support the USPS - if my daughter needs a stamp - she knows where to find one - in MY desk. She doesn't know where the Post Office is.
Sep. 9, 2011 1:36 pm
Mich - that is interesting - thanks for stopping in. It is indeed an changing world. Brooke - no problem - those checks aren't leaving my house and when they do it will be in the shredder basket.
Sep. 9, 2011 2:11 pm
Amanda - they may never have to write a check - but they will know how to do so and hopefully they will learn to keep track of their money. :)
Sep. 9, 2011 2:14 pm
Alex - you are right about a lot of places not accepting checks - goes to show you how many bad check writers there are. I pay the gardener, the housekeeper and the pool person by check - it costs them money to accept credit cards so I like to avoid that.
Sep. 9, 2011 7:11 pm
Great idea! My seventh grade Math teacher, Mrs. Daniels presented a unit on check writing. I remember feeling so grown up! But you know, B'Nana, that was WAY back in the day when they taught handwriting, too!
Sep. 9, 2011 9:27 pm
Hi Bibi - indeed there was a day when handwriting - like check writing was important and a transition into "adult-hood" Somewhere something has gotten lost = being able to subtract doesn't mean that they know how to reconcile a bank balance. The kids are excited - we start tomorrow!
Sep. 10, 2011 3:02 am
What a wonderful idea, Ba'Nana! Wish I'd thought of it a few years ago! ESPECIALLY the $25 fee for delivery of forgotten items at school (books, projects, lunch, homework, etc . . . !!!) My son can write a check (I think!), but lost his ATM card and didn't "have checks." He apparently forgot he had given them to me to lock up - and didn't think to ask me if I knew where they were. (His xgf mentioned to me later that he didn't have checks - and I said, "I have them!") babyxray just had her account put into her name - and they don't give passbooks anymore - it was kind of sad . . . The bank lady and I were reminiscing about going to the bank and the teller printing your new balance in your passbook . . . They say that babies born now won't know what wristwatches are - because the time will be on their Smart Phones that are always in their hands. I LIKE wearing a wrist watch. I don't want to - nor can I always - pull my phone out of my pocket to check the time. It can be bloody inconvenient!
Sep. 10, 2011 3:05 am
Um, sorry off on a tangent of your topic (=
Sep. 10, 2011 3:06 am
Btw, more tangenting (= it makes me crazy that the "cent sign" is no longer on keyboards! I still look for it periodically . . .
Sep. 10, 2011 5:20 am
Check Books Are So Yesteryear. I hate it when people write checks and take 15 Min's to do it in line at the foodlion or walmart. the last time I wrote a check was 1986. One day there will be no such thing as a "Check". Many places will not take checks, or don't want too.
Sep. 10, 2011 5:33 am
Hi Barb - I once washed & dried my ATM card and I was very glad to have checks. Most of the grocery stores, except Winco, still accept checks so I was able to limp along until my new card arrived. The $25. fee for forgotten assignments is a lot like an overdraft fee or as Dave Ramsey would say, a stupid tax. Hind sight is 20/20 but if there was one thing I should have done with my own kids it would be to make them personally accountable for their own 'stuff'. Where did that cent sign go? Darn it! Watches are more like jewelery than time pieces. Times are changing for sure.
Sep. 10, 2011 5:35 am
Yesterday the kids were asking how they can earn "Nana Bucks". They are spending the night with us tonight so we are going to sit down and figure it all out.
Sep. 10, 2011 5:41 am
What a great idea! I will save my old ones for that teaching opportunity also!
Sep. 10, 2011 8:42 am
I'm in college... we were taught how to write checks and balance checkbooks in elementary school much the same way you're teaching the little ones. Though I don't write checks often now, it's still a very useful skill. Perhaps your young client is just a bit on the lazy side...
Sep. 10, 2011 2:24 pm
Sara - I have grandskids (12 of those loveable locusts) in all grades - I don't think they cover this any more - or at least our district doesn't seem to. I think my clients daughter was afraid to make a mistake and void 4 of her mother's checks - like Mike Harvey did. ;)
Sep. 10, 2011 5:49 pm
You are the coolest G'ma EVER! That's such a great idea! :o)
Sep. 10, 2011 7:54 pm
Well, thank you cheepchick - I might actually get some work done around here if I pay them in Nana Bucks!
Sep. 10, 2011 8:00 pm
How much should I charge to play X-Box? Hmmm...
Sep. 10, 2011 9:47 pm
So tonight I worked with the 1st & 4th grader and got them all set up with ten checks each - their check register and a trial run on writing checks...another benefit - they WANTED to write in cursive - "Cause that is how checks are wtitten." :) So we did addition, subtraction and cursive. They are already planning on how they are going to spend their Nana Bucks.
Sep. 12, 2011 3:15 pm
BN, this is a terrific idea! Regardless of whether or not check writing becomes obsolete, math skills are still important. Learning the value of a dollar is still important. Realizing that money doesn't grow on trees is important. Not only are they practicing useful skills, they are learning to be mindful of income and outgo and the importance of saving. And, I must agree with Raedwolf about the "void" our money is in there partying with his money has we speak:)
Sep. 12, 2011 10:57 pm
Mangel - my grand daughter (13) had to write me a check tonight for overtime. She had all weekend with me and NEVER mentioned as assignment she had due - here it is Monday night - the eleventh hour and we just finished. She didn't moan or complain - wrote the check and headed to bed.
Sep. 13, 2011 4:51 am
FANTASTIC! I think you are brilliant BN! I, too, write very few checks but nonetheless, the need arises. My kids hate writing out numbers like $1975.28 in word form. They ask "When am I EVER gonna need to use this?!" I always go back to writing checks. Other than writing out whole numbers in word form for proper English ("The two of us" as opposed to "The 2 of us") that is pretty much it. I absolutely adore the check writing/checkbook balancing idea and I hope you don't mind if I totally steal that idea from you? I have the same kind of checks just filed away from long ago. This will be a great way to keep math skills sharp and I am going to expand your idea into budgeting. Kids need to learn how to live within their means and this is an excellent tactile exercise to do just that. Hmmm, think we have some Monopoly money around too... good visual aids to back up the lesson. Thanks BN for the inspiration! :)
Sep. 13, 2011 4:53 am
LOL, "locusts" Ya made me laugh! I call my kids the same thing! hahaha...
Sep. 13, 2011 6:19 am
WFDM - steal away! I hope it works for you. The kids have been working hard at being good and doing the right thing in order to earn their Nana Bucks. They like addition far more than subtraction. :)
Sep. 13, 2011 6:54 am
Baking Nana, you are terrific! FIL broke his shoulder several years ago so MIL had to take over the bills. She had never been ALLOWED to do anything with the finances (many elderly women in the same situation). I had to sit with her every week to pay bills. She had the hardest time with spelling out words she had not ever used before. She broke her wrist last fall so now I do all the bills. Nothing can be paid online, all must be a check. Then we use the cancelled checks for tax deductions come tax time. My grandma is the same, grandpa died and she had never paid a bill. My mom had to take over instead. We balance all accounts to the penny (lots of math going on then!). Also our local businesses prefer a check, it costs them money to process debit and credit transactions. I will not use online for bills as my credit card has been stolen twice on the computer and checks are just as good.
Sep. 13, 2011 7:04 am
Used to work in the mortgage industry. Before computers! Then we transitioned to computers. One frantic day we were trying to meet a deadline and power took out everything. The youngsters thought they could go home, the elders said oh no, we'll do all the calculations by hand. I had done this enough to do it but they had no idea how to calculate interest, total cost of principle with interest, etc. Sad that this was 20+ years ago so things are worse now.
Sep. 13, 2011 7:13 am
What a great idea, BN! While I know checks are going to become obsolete before too long, the financal aspect of managing one is a skill everyone should learn. I hope you'll let us know how this turns out, and I may be borrowing your idea for my husband's son. : )
Sep. 13, 2011 12:03 pm
One summer I made my 13 yr old daughter be responsible for all deposits and she had to write out all the checks for the bills we had. She learned quickly how much things cost and i think appreciated what she had more. She also was responsible for balancing the checkbook. Oh and of course I would sign the checks. I didn't give her all the power.
Sep. 13, 2011 12:09 pm
Hmmm....that is a little disturbing, really. I am almost 30 now, but I remember my mom making us write out her checks for our lunch money in elementary school and she would sign them. I will ALWAYS carry checks. I am glad because when San Diego had a massive power outage last week I was getting my haircut and I was unable to pay if it wasn't for myself using a check. :)
Sep. 13, 2011 12:11 pm
I still use checks to pay all of our bills. I like being able to physically do these things. I assumed most people still did this but I guess not!
Sep. 13, 2011 12:37 pm
As a former banker, I always write checks rather than use a debit card. I enjoy the fact that I can look back at my checkbook to see which bills I have already paid. The most important reason I don't use debit cards, however, is that a friend who is in banking (online security) told me to never use a debit card or pay bills online. His reason was that in the event of fraudulent activity in an account, my money could be tied up until it was resolved. I use one credit card which I pay in full every month for gas, hotel bills, etc. But everything else, either cash or a check. And BTW I really don't care if someone behind me in line is impatient while I am writing my check. At least that time gives the cashier time to catch a much-needed breath!
Sep. 13, 2011 12:55 pm
That sounds great! If they are young enough, see if your library can find a copy of the Berenstain Bear Trouble with Money. You can also print out BB checks from the Random House website---other readers might want to "check" that out too. :)
Sep. 13, 2011 1:12 pm
The only thing I write a check for is my church offering and car insurance! Great thing to teach them to do! How old are they?
Sep. 13, 2011 2:40 pm
What an excellent idea! I am 26, and although my Dad taught me to write cheques when I was younger, I have forgotten as it is so rarely that I write one. I basically know, just sometimes I have to think about it.
Sep. 13, 2011 3:00 pm
My parents opened me a checking account at 16 years. That had to cover everything, clothes, presents, movies, etc. It was 60.00 a month. I now continue to pay everything by check or cash. Just can't get into debit cards, and internet banking. After all I'm 71 and very happy with my way.. My grands think I'm crazy :)
Sep. 13, 2011 3:03 pm
Isn't it amazing! That is a wonderful idea Nana. I may have to go look for my old check from my closed acct and copy you! I'm also amazed at the fact that Teens can't tell time on a regular clock...they are so used to all the digital technology. You ask what time is it and they pull out their cell phone. I aked a teen not to long ago to look at the clock and tell me the time and they hesitated and took them a while to give the INCORRECT time. So sad.
Sep. 13, 2011 4:55 pm
Great idea, BN! Even more than the writing of the checks, is keeping the check registry, and doing it accurately. We do nearly all bills on line and write about 10 checks a year. I have to say that at age 61, I DO get really impatient when people in line stand there and when the clerk tells them what they owe, they finally open their purse or wallet, take out the checkbook, start writing......... it isn't that I am in a hurry,,,, just one of those things that drives me nuts. Kind of like nails on a chalkboard (and pretty soon NO ONE will know what that reference means, either). Also makes me crazy when at the store the bill comes to $16.07. I take out a $20, they see it and put $20 in as amount tendered. If I say, I have 7 cents, and it is after they have entered the $20......... they stand there and melt into their shoes as they don't know what to do. Technology is fine... but basic knowledge and common sense can't be replaced. Keep us posted on how the experiment progresses!!
Sep. 13, 2011 8:09 pm
I pay all my bills via auto-payments for peace of mind and discounted rates. Writing a check is a lost art form, good for you taking the time to teach your grandkids about money managment.
Sep. 14, 2011 3:43 am
While I can see why you are doing what you are doing, I personally don't see the advantage for them, cheques are a massive pain when trying to pay for anything, I work part time in retail while at University (College) and I find it very frustrating when a customer wants to pay with a cheque we have to use a program that checks to see if the account has any money in it then we need to get the customers details and check their drivers licence to make sure it is them. This ends up taking upwards of 10mins when cash or card is doing in less than 30secs. And more to the point when conducting transactions in cash or on a debit card you can never go into overdraft, not sure what it is like in America but with transactions done in stores or at ATM's in New Zealand transactions will be declined if you don't have enough money in your account whereas a cheque will bounce which will then result in whoever you are trying to pay angry as well as costing you money. We are moving into an electronic age and we need to adapt in how we conduct our lives, paying for things will soon move all to card, I predict cash will be going the way of the cheque very soon. I'm 18 and have never owned a cheque book in my life, and never plan to, I also don't plan to get a credit card until I have a job that pays at least twice what my monthly credit card limit would be so I don't run into financial difficultly. I also am fully able to balance my accounts as I am training to be an accountant and am fully versed in personal finance activities.
Sep. 14, 2011 3:43 am
20 year old speaking- I know HOW to write a check, but I see the practice as generally obsolete (like counting on an abacus). I'm also familiar with how to balance a checkbook, but as I don't write checks and find the running online balance to be very accurate, I don't do it. The only time I see checks being used is when my boyfriend pays rent, or in really small businesses where it wouldn't be cost-effective to run credit cards. I also wear a non-digital watch (christmas present!), though I have been told that it's "wrong" to wear it on my dominant arm. I do have a better one for things "20 somethings do not know": Cursive. It was pounded into my head in 3rd grade as "it will be absolutely essential!", and so I learned it really, really well. Sometime in middle school, I wrote something on the board in cursive and was very confused as to why my classmates were hollering about not being able to read that.
Sep. 14, 2011 10:44 am
Are you sure you weren't a teacher in another life? I just absolutely love this idea. And, it WILL be incorporated with my little grandgals, Rylea and Evan. I cannot wait to report how this project flys with them! Thanks Baking Nana for the wonderful idea. hmmmmmm, now where are those old checks?????
Sep. 14, 2011 1:12 pm
Whether or not checks become obsolete is not nearly so important as learning financial concepts. My brain still works better than a computer. Remember it's our brains that invented computers. We had a reputable book club use our card number to charge us automatically for each month's selection when we had not even ordered it. When I called the response was "Well, that's how we do it. I'll have to check w/ my supervisor to see if it's OK to remove that function from your account." I also had to explain that is illegal to use my # if I have not authorized that automatic charge. Fiancee went to the gas station & used our debit card at the pump he swiped it twice & for whatever reason it wouldn't dispense gas. They charged us for each transaction even though we didn't get any gas. It totally messed up our acct. The bank wanted overdraft fees etc.If you read the fine print on the sticker on the pump it says they can charge you for up to $150 on your debit card even if you didn't spend that. We pay for gas in cash now. We had been living on side jobs for 2 yrs. so every dollar counted. Having our money in the bank tied up for ten days was a huge problem for us. Not to mention the time wasted on phone calls. I don't want the computer to tell me what is going on w/ my finances & just blindly trust it. Mistakes are made all the time. I am human & don't choose to compete w/ machines(which computers are) as in I have to do everything fast! Why? That includes standing in line while someone writes a check. Wait! they're in front of me in line & it's their turn. I've had my checks stolen on a closed acct.& it eventually cost me a job because it showed up on my credit report. The credit agencies don't care if your credit report is accurate-it's all computerized. Maybe you could xerox some checks w/void written on them & then there would be no question of validity. Old checks should be destroyed.
Sep. 15, 2011 4:54 am
I work at a financial institution in MI and was not suprised AT ALL by your story! I'm glad you're teaching the kids to budget and balance an account -- that is invaluable! -- but don't be so suprised by the checks...by the time your grandkids are in their 30's checks probably won't even be around anymore. They are expensive, inefficient, and a huge source of fraud and unreliable payment. They are already obsolete, and if not for your instruction, the kids will probably never write one. :) It'll make a great story when they're older, though! ALSO FOR YOUR SAFETY: DESTROY THE OLD CHECKS!!!!! Use them as a template to make some up by hand or on your computer, but PLEASE shred or burn your old checks! There is still too much information on them, regardless of how long the account has been closed, and you could be a victim of fraud and theft if they get thrown out and someone gets them. (And please don't just tear them into tiny pieces -- SHRED or BURN them!) Don't make yourself a target -- criminals use this info in ways you don't think of because you're an honest person that would care if you scammed someone.
Sep. 15, 2011 7:17 am
Thanks Katherine! Appreciate the info....
Sep. 15, 2011 11:22 am
I remember a lesson plan from home economics where we had to do household budgets and write checks and balance our checkbooks. Unfortunately, most schools are doing away with home economics cuz it is so expensive to run the program. My husband says teaching is all about teaching to the "no child left behind act" and there is no time to teach anything else......though he tries very hard to teach his middle school kids good manners. Amazing that manners need to be taught at school and are frequently not taught at home. What happened to manners for ladies and gentlemen? My husband gets on them about alot of things, including no hat in class. He is always put out at the number of guys we see with baseball hats in restaurants. Guess we are just old school :)
Sep. 15, 2011 12:48 pm
All these comments are really interesting. I do believe there are great teaching moments. The "checks" part is a very small part of this project. For those who think their online balance is correct and you don't need to keep a register, I disagree. There are mistakes made all the time. A debit card used as a credit card doesn't always immediately post. Also, if you have authorized your bank to do so you can overdraw your account with a debit transaction.
Sep. 15, 2011 12:57 pm
Nancy1225 - I think that having your 13 year old be responsible for the family finances is wonderful. What a great life long lesson.
Sep. 15, 2011 12:57 pm
Although I understand (somewhat) I want to know if the girl ever took any kind of math or accounting class... personal checks may becoming obsolete but business still use them quite a bit... I hope you told the girl that the written out amount is the legally binding part not the numbers... if they don't match the bank goes by the written out part...
Sep. 15, 2011 12:58 pm
BTW - Change of plan - when the kids thought they had to "pay" for snacks at Nana's they started bugging Mom for Fast Food! YIKES! So now they eat here for free and if they bring FF I charge them $2.00. :)
Sep. 15, 2011 1:04 pm
tekdiva - I will be sure to let my grandkids know about the legally binding aspect. Thanks!
Sep. 15, 2011 1:15 pm
Well I've been away on vacation and just now reading this blog and all the comments...quite interesting. No matter whether checks are used anymore or not...it is a great learning experience for the kiddos and sounds like they are enjoying it. By the way if you'd feel safer using a template for checks and money...and all kinds of great things try this site --- http://www.donnayoung.org/math/index.htm --- You can print out blank checks and neat lessons for all grade levels.
Sep. 15, 2011 1:31 pm
Thanks Sherri! That is a great site. :) They are enjoying it and it is interesting to see the different thought processes - priorities etc..
Sep. 15, 2011 3:13 pm
Great idea. Anyway you can start them with a set balance to work off of? I'd hate to see them only learn the check writing part...they might wind up working for the Government LOL
Sep. 15, 2011 4:34 pm
LOL - Petey. I started each kid with $32.00 - we wrote a "practice" check for $2.00. So far one grandkid owed me $10 and earned $5. They are big into the earning and saving thing but sometimes I think they just "want to write a check" - in cursive of course.
Sep. 15, 2011 9:00 pm
I think it's a fantastic idea I'm going to steal for my own boys when they are old enough. My oldest son is only 4 but we already give him the opportunity to earn money by doing chores; he has to save half of all the money he gets, but he puts the rest in his wallet until he has enough to go to the toy store. btw, did you know that public schools aren't going to teach cursive writing anymore? seriously, a mother of my sons' classmate is a 2nd grade teacher and it's been completely taken off her curriculum...
Sep. 15, 2011 11:30 pm
While it's a great learning exercise, with online banking and mobile banking available needing a cheque register to know your balance isn't needed anymore. The argument that if the power goes out you can write a cheque is fine and all but how many stores are going to take a cheque from a 20year old for large purchase? I work in a bank and you'd be surprised how many people, young and old, don't want their balance after a deposit as they'll "just check it at home later". We obviously receive a large number of cheques but it's usually between employer and employee or between people who know each other. Stores will most likely stop accepting cheques in the next 10 years or so. Currently less than 5% of the population pays for purchases by cheque. A bounced cheque costs the store money, why would they want to incur that risk when there are so many other payment options? Sorry cheque writers, time to put down that pen.
Sep. 16, 2011 6:44 am
DrKay - I disagree with people assuming that their electronic balance is correct - often it isn't. Although bad checks to cost stores so do electronic transactions. If I pay the pool service with a check they get the full $80. if I pay it online or use a credit card or debit card they get charged 2.5% That cost must be passed along to the consumer. You are correct though - checks will be a thing of the past. But my grandkids will know what they are and how to balance a check book.
Sep. 16, 2011 6:45 am
Ninjakitty - I think it is a shame that cursive is going the way of checks - my grandkids love to practice their cursive writing.
Sep. 18, 2011 8:55 am
That's funny..but I gotta tell you. I live in Europe and haven't written a check in over 20 years now. I am afraid checks are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Your grandkids may never need to learn to write a check or balance a checkbook:)
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Baking Nana

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About Me
Every morning my granddaughter calls and says, "Good morning Nana. Whatcha doing? Are you baking Nana?" Hence my name, Baking Nana. I love to bake bread and never get tired of it. Yeast is additive! Visit me at BakingNana.com If you would like to contact me directly please use the 'Contact Me' on my site. http://bakingnana.com/contact-me/
My favorite things to cook
I go through phases, Asian for a while then Italian then on to something else. I love experimenting with new flavors and different spices. Some times my husband will ask if we will ever have "ordinary" food again. Once in a while I have to toss him a burger just to keep quite! Actually, he is a good sport and my favorite taste tester.
My favorite family cooking traditions
In our family if it is your birthday you get to choose the menu. We have had some really interesting meals. In March we have 5 birthdays so we do one big party - what a crazy menu that is! Christmas dinner is very traditional. Sausage rolls, Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, gravy, Green beans with bacon, Mashed Potatoes (the really fattening kind) and trifle for dessert. If I were to dare to omit any of those items I would be lynched.
My cooking triumphs
Mastering really great bread is probably my biggest triumph. I am always so pleased when I create a perfect Asian dish.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few but none so horrible that I can't laugh about them now.
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