I hold onto my paychecks for weeks before depositing them. I, ahem, hoard them.
My most recent transgression of this nature occurred on New Years Eve day. I had the vague notion, as I was about to sit down and type my last invoice of 2009 for freelance work (I’m a writer and editor), that I’d not deposited the last checks I’d received. I opened my wallet. There I discovered not one but two paychecks wadded up, hidden behind a thicket of cash register receipts that needed to be tossed.
I unwrinkled the checks and looked at the dates. I was aghast when I realized I’d been holding on to a lot of money for a relatively long period of time—close to three weeks. I felt an urgency to get the checks into the bank before the clock struck midnight but I’m afraid had it not been the end of the year both might still be in my possession, crammed into my wallet, paycheck hoarder that I am.
I grew up hearing stories about my Depression-era relatives’ “Bank of Mattress” and how one aunt and uncle’s attempt to hoard their money in the basement was foiled by a torrential rainstorm and subsequent flood. What fools they were—right? But in some ways, their style of hoarding might make more sense than the style I describe above. Think about it: At least they actually had their money, soggy or not, in hand. I just have a couple of proxies that are of no use until they get deposited into my account.
I think this paycheck hoarding represents a certain disrespect I have for money, my way of showing it it’s not that important to me, as though I could cut myself off from its nastiness. One way I ignore money is by not depositing it. This is also how I try to believe/act like I don’t need money—or want it. (More on that topic soon.) But I do need a certain amount to live—and—and this is hard for me to admit—want a certain amount to enjoy on top of what I need. One way I’m going to dedicate myself to that reality is by depositing my checks in a timely matter, within 72 hours of their arrival in the mail.
So, here is the first money truth of the money study: I am in a relationship with money whether I want to believe it or not.
PS: Read more about The Money Study here.
Great news! This portion of The Recovering Creative will soon have a new home (address to follow) and a new name: The Money Study. More to be revealed. For now, enjoy the posts right here.