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Funny Money Habits

So I’m kind of weird. Scratch that. I’m really weird. Actually, I’m willing to bet you are just as weird as I am. Why am I weird you ask? Well, I’ve realized I have some awkward money habits that I thought you all might enjoy hearing about…

Tipping on a credit card.

Whenever Girl Ninja and I go out to dinner, I always tip enough to make the final bill a whole number. If the dinner bill is $23.45 I would tip $4.55 so the overall total was $28.00. Does anyone else out there do this?

Carrying Cash.

I’ve wrote about it before, but I hate keeping cash on me. I know you credit card haters will say “Studies show people spend more when they use a credit card…blah blah blah” but I’m a ninja and I’m not bound by statistics and science. If I have cash I spend it. It doesn’t hurt me at all to drop a couple benajims, probably because I’m too lazy to track my cash expenses. With my credit card account, my balance automatically syncs to Quicken and shows me exactly how much I spent at Store XYZ today, yesterday, and even last year. I hate debt, but I sure do love my credit card.

Transfering interest.

I have three savings accounts with ING. My emergency fund, a wedding fund, and an extra savings fund. I decided a while back, I will always make sure I have $10K in my E-fund just in case I lose my job…or need to buy a kidney through the black market. Each month my $10K E-fund get’s credited $9.16 in interest. Instead of letting this account slowly grow, I immediately transfer the $9.16 to my “extra savings” fund to ensure my E-fund is ALWAYS at $10,000 and not a penny more. Again, it must be something to do with nice clean whole numbers.

Organizing my money.

Like I mentioned above, I don’t like carrying cash on me, but since I do quite a bit of tutoring, I accumulate a couple hundred bucks each month. It’s not uncommon for me to walk to the bank with $436 to deposit in to my checking account. When I am at the bank and filling out the deposit slip, I have to take extra time to organize my money. I make sure all the bills are facing the same direction and that they are ordered from highest denomination on top to lowest denomination on bottom. I think deep down inside I must be insecure, because part of me desperately wants the bank teller to profess to the entire branch that I am their favorite customer since I’m so organized. Yeah, I know. I have issues.

Obsessively checking bank accounts.

I bet quite a few of you are also guilty of this. I probably look at my checking and credit card bank accounts three or four times a day. Don’t ask me why. Every time I make a purchase on my credit card, I have to check to make sure it appears in my account balance. I think I must be scared that some restaurant is going to charge me $250 for dinner instead of $25. As if that isn’t bad enough, even when I know I haven’t spent any money and I know that I’m not getting paid for another few days, I still have to check my accounts. I don’t know what my deal is, but I HAVE TO check my accounts EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Aside from my finance related quirks, I also hate seeing the battery meter drop below 100% on electronic devices. I hate starting my car, ’cause I know each time I do, that is one less start out of it’s life. And I frequently put headphones in my ears, even when I’m not listening to music.

It’s Friday, so I’m hoping you will be a little vulnerable and share some of your silly money and non-money related habits. Do you sanitize your hand a bajillion times a day? Does your money have to be placed a certain way inside your wallet or purse? Or maybe you pick up every coin you see on the ground…even super dirty pennies? Come on people, share your quirks!

Happy Friday!



  1. I read too many personal finance blogs. I guess it's because I'm still from that generation that has been taught money is a "dirty" thing like porn. Seriously though, I'm searching for some ideas on how to balance saving and spending. One weird way that I do that is that I use a set amount of cash as my play money because I cannot easily track how I spend it and would have great remorse if I did. I'm also searching for someone to be more specific when it comes to "investing" for the future because all I get is that one should "invest" for retirement but lack the specifics on where to put that money. I'm also curious if anyone else out there thinks like me, and feels like the stock market is a ponzi scheme. How is that for weird?

  2. DN, you are not alone…I too tip to a whole dollar on credit card receipts, I organize my money in the exact opposite way (big bills on bottom), and don't like to carry cash for the exact same reason although i do have a small stash at home for immediate emergencies (i.e. paying someone back) and try to hold at least a $20 in my wallet for emergencies or IF i go to the bar (way quicker and limits the spending in that particular establishment). I also save all my silver change (no pennies) although as i almost exclusively use my cc now it doesn't usually amount to much in less than a year. Non-money quirk: i always line skittles up on my hand and arrange them into some sort of pattern before eating them or into groups ensuring there's only one of each color per group.

  3. I do the whole dollar things – both on tipping AND on my EF! All the interest goes to another subaccount! As a former cashier, thank you for organizing your bills…that used to be really irksome to me to have to sort & file the cash drawer when they were all this-way-and-that. I'm not too OCD about it now that I've left cashiering behind me…

  4. I definitely round up my tips. Not sure why, but it seems to make keeping a running total of my bank account balance in my head easier. I also never carry cash, even though common research suggests you spend more with a card. I think I spend (waste) more with cash, because I'll go get a coke at the gas station and just pay cash, but doing something like that with a debit/credit card is just too much of a pain, so I dont. Not so big on the organizing, but if im standing in like at the bank, i'll do it.
    And I also obsessively check my account, at least 2x a day (even on days where I dont spend anything. It's quite nuts, but 2 times i've been able to get on top of some nefarious activity on my account, so I see the value in frequently checking.

  5. As a former waitress, I usually over tip waitstaff 20% but skip the tip jar on counters. I was always annoyed that I was making $2.25/hr and the coffee shop people made at least minimum wage. Made me feel jipped.

    My quirky thing is that I listen to the same album over and over and over til I can't stand it anymore. I do it with food..too (eat the same thing over and over til I'm sick of it). I couldn't even look at turkey grinders for about 10 years.

  6. What are you talking about…?
    I do ALL these things. Are you telling me these aren't normal healthy habits. =D

    Well… I guess I tend to be neurotic. o__o;

  7. 1, 2, and 4 I'm the same. When I was a server, it used to really irritate my other coworkers about organizing my tips, because they thought I was constantly counting my money… but it's just that the bills weren't all facing in the same direction!!! And, yeah just like sandy, I might toss the change in a tip jar if a pay with cash, but I never go out of my way to tip. Not when I made three bucks an hour. I'm really bad about trying to see how much people tip, and I try really hard to keep myself from doing so, because I know it's rude, but damnit, people cannot make a living on 10% tips! It just makes it so satisfying to have a significant other who tips well over 20%, so I never have to have the "tip talk" with him., hahaha.

    • too. My cheap cousin took us out to dinner one day and I snuck an extra tip on the table for the waitress (cuz I knew he'd stiff her). As we were leaving he said "he forgot something" so I spied on him and saw he didn't forget something. He went back to take my extra tip off the table!

  8. As a former waitress I always tip 20% unless the service was terrible and it was the server's fault.

    I love my credit card because it earns me free groceries but we have recently switched to paying with cash and I actually spend less money now. I hate parting with my money.

    I transfer interest too. I treat it like "income". We pool all our net income into a separate account and at the end of the month divide it up based on the next month's expenses. We do this because our income is variable so the figures are different every month.

    I worked as a bank teller also for many years and let me tell you that you would be considered a FAVOURITE customer by filling out your deposit slips and making your bills all face the same way. I LOVED customers like you, you made my job as a teller much easier. Keep it up, I know the tellers appreciate it!!! I can't tell you how many times customers would walk up to me and complain that they had to wait in line so long and hand me their deposit slips and cash for ME to fill out. Well, geez, the reason it takes so much long is because the tellers have to fill out all the paperwork and sort the cash meanwhile you could have done it yourself while waiting in line so it could be quicker!

    Yes, I am obsessive about my bank accounts too. Thank heavens for online banking! It's not uncommon for me to check several times a day either. I guess working in a bank I've seen it all and mistakes happen ALL THE TIME. The earlier you catch an error the easier it is to be resolved.

    Non-financial quirks:

    – I eat salt on my French toast. My dad would make it this way because growing up his family was too poor to afford maple syrup so they ate it with salt. I used to think this was "normal" for a long time growing up.

  9. I like having all my money face the same way. It's just prettier that way. And it's totally normal. Totally.

  10. I get ya all the way ninja! I always have to have my money facing the same way. I get slightly urked when a cashier hands it over and its going every way or folded. Ugh! Messiness is not good with cash. I don't round tipping, typically double tax and add a bit then I'm sure I'm close to 20%. As for obssessively looking at my credit card and bank accounts I admit I do it more than once a day. The "pending" balances on my credit card freak me out and since I've been a victim of fraudulant charges before I always am curious to know what makes up that balance. As for my bank account I check it a few times a day and the MINUTE I make a purchase I'm stoked that I get to go home and update my pretty color coordinated excel spreadsheet of my finances. (Which is tied to the penny and I often just open and stare out hoping if I look hard/long enough I can add more money to the "deposits" section! ha so sad, I know.)

    • Weird quirks: I always carry $20 in my wallet hidden for emergencies. Plus a $5 hidden in my car for valets I didn't expect. In my wallet I always carry the following: 1 quarter, 1 dime, 1 nickel, 1 penny. Anything more that I get goes into my coin jar that evening at home. This way my purse doesn't get weighed down from change and I always have just a bit to cover if needed.

    • I am one of those rare people that enjoys paying her bills. I guess it is because I have the means to pay them and on time like a good little consumer that I realish in this pay day = pay bill ritual. I can't stand when people get bills and toss them aside without opening them, if I owe something I want to know how much and when so it can be handled accordingly. I always open all my mail when received. Don't want any surprises lingering around like a monster in the closet.

      • Too funny. I'm one of those that pays all bills online, and I can't figure out why the companies insist on sending me paper bills when I have an email alert that my statement (and I've asked them to stop sending paper bills) is ready and is was set up for payment 2 weeks before the paper bill came. So I completely toss them aside, and go through them not nearly as often as I should for shredding purposes.

  11. I do the same thing with tipping; it's easier to look at clean, whole numbers. I don't use Quicken. I use Mint, but I still obsessively check my accounts even when I know that there's no activity. I also treat cash as money that has already been spent and I tried for a while to track my cash expenditures with budgetpulse, but it's too labor intensive and stresses me out. So, I am back to checking my account balance via Mint.

    I don't transfer the interest out of my savings account at ING, but I can see why you would.

  12. I actually share a lot of those weird things like the round numbers (tips and interest) as well as worrying about my cars life as I drive it. It's a shame things can't last forever..

    • I, too, drive and calculate how long I can keep that car going. (throw in a couple of prayers of "please!") CRAZY!

  13. My worst enemy is cash. I cannot hold onto it. And when I do have it, it gets all crinkled from being thrown from pocket to pocket. My debit card is my BEST friend. My weird obsession with that, though, is my little pink notebook I carry around in my purse AT ALL TIMES. If I do not have it, I FREAK. That notebook is my check register, but I also write all of my upcoming expenses so I don't spend more than I'm supposed to. If I get the urge to splurge on a pair of shoes I probably don't need because they're not on my shopping list, I open my little pink bestie and look at all my upcoming expenses…works (almost) every time!
    I'm also really weird in that once I put money in savings, it's totally forgotten about. Even if an emergency comes up where I need an extra 300-500, I'll put it on my credit card and budget for it within the next billing cycle. If it means eating spaghetti every night for three weeks, I DO NOT touch my savings. I guess what I'm trying to say is…I'm Tiffany, and I'm a PF-aholic.

  14. Dude, I thought I was the only person who did the whole dollar thing. Everything I do has to be a number divisible by 5.
    Bank accounts
    pumping gas
    stopping the microwave before time is up
    my salary is even divisible by 5

    I also like to stay up to see bills get credited when I pay them.
    I would have had 5 kids but we lost the first.

  15. Uh-oh Ninja…you might be my husband after reading those obsessive money habits. I see you ironing your money in the future, just like my DH. I almost broke up with him when I saw that early in our dating life.

    I must do the bills all facing the same way from smallest denomination to largest. They must be flat, orderly, and folded once in that order or I can't fuction.

    • There is NOTHING wrong with ironing money!!!

      Wanna hear obsessive? I'm a lawyer and occasionally our clients pay in cash, often obscene (to me) sums of money in cash. One client's girlfriend was posting bond for him to get out of jail, and had to have close to $9000 in cash. We have to make a copy of the bills for our records. If I'm feeling extra silly, I make sure the serial numbers are in alphabetical order prior to copying.

  16. Guilty on 1,2 & 4. On 4, in my wallet I have ones at the front and larger bills at the back. Could be worse: I have a friend who arranges his bills the same way, but moreso alphabetically by the Federal Reserve letters. No idea why.

    While I don't like to carry cash, sometimes I have some on me. I keep loose coins in a cubby in my car. I have a coin bank at home that is mostly pennies now since I rolled the larger coins a month or so back (more than $100) that I put into savings (every lil bit helps). Anyway, I replenish the cubby with those pennies (took the wheat pennies out… found a 1920!!!) and use them to pay at drive-thrus etc . to the exact total. A way to ditch the pennies: If the bill is $4.11, use 11 pennies.

  17. I round up when tipping, I organize my bill facing the same way but in the opposite order as you, I check Mint obsessively, I don't carry cash (and now that I've stopped using credit cards, it does wonders for my budget!), I will pay in seemingly weird coinage combinations (if I DO have cash) in order to get more "reasonable" change (pay $2.17 for a $1.92 item to get a quarter back), and used to pay for stamps at the post office in the vending machine with pennies so I could use them up (I haven't seen one of those machines in a long time though).

    Non-money? As a chlid I would eat things in a particular self-imposed order. My worst example would be Lucky Charms cereal: all of the cereal first, then the marshmallows in order of the rainbow colors. I would count the marshmallows and all was right with the world only if there were an even number of each color.

    I should have been sent to therapy over that last one.

  18. I don't always round up when tipping, but my partner-in-crime does. He also likes to pay for small purchases with exact change.

    And trust me, the tellers love you for ordering and facing your bills.

  19. it KILLS me when I can't make the gas pump stop right at the .00, yesterday I filled up and it I tried to stop it and it was $45.01. I HATE THAT. When I was a kid and I was going to go to the store I would always make sure I had all my $$$ (organized low to high facing same way,) but I would also leave the house with exactly 3 quarters 2 dimes 1 nickel and 4 pennies, because I could pay exact change on any purchase with that combination and not have to break another bill or a quarter if I could just pay whatever dollars and 17cents.

  20. All bills in wallet organized by amount and facing the same way: check. Pick up any change on the ground, no matter how dirty: Check.

    Once I held a garage sale and made a few hundred in small bills. At the end of the day, before carefully ordering and stacking the money, I ironed it. It was immensely sastisfying.

  21. I have weird habits too.

    I, too, like to check my accounts each day (a couple of times a day). It is a restlessness. I have a lot of things automated, but I just feel compelled to go and look to see if there is something that I can do.

    The best time for me is the Wednesday before payday. I get to see my pay voucher on-line before the Friday payday. I then update the number on my budget spreadsheet (for any OT). I then get to see what was left over so that I can apply all the difference to my debt snowball. I update numbers, calculate, number crunch, dream – I love it!

    Then there is a crash of depression on payday because there really is nothing left to do since I did it on Wednesday. I check anyway, well, just because…

    I have to look at it each day just in case something mysteriously changed and I have something to do (or maybe I have more money than I thought). I make my rounds each day logging into all my accounts just to look at the same thing I saw yesterday. I am pathetic but I am obsessive about it.

  22. Oh! I also have the non-monatary quirks too. Peppermint Patty? I have to take a bite and the split in down the middle (this is done in my mouth). The soft mint side to the roof of my mouth and run my tongue against the dark chocolate until it is gone. Fererro Rocher? You HAVE to eat the chocolate with hazelnuts first, THEN you can crack a little of the wafer shell (you keep eating until 1/2 is gone), then you have to push the hazelnut down further so the chocolate squeezes up so you can … Oh Lawd! I am mental!

    I guess this is the way to prolong something that I enjoy. I think I would faint if I didn't do it.

  23. I like my Presidents (and Ben Franklin) all lined up in descending (monetary) order. If while walking I drag a heel, then I need to drag the other heel at the same level of force. If I run over one of those reflector thingys in the road with one side of the tires, then before I reach my destination, I'll run over another one with the other side of tires.

    It's all about maintaining a balance in life. We all do it… just in our own ways.

    God Bless

  24. LOL at that drawing!

    I used to round my restaurant bills to a whole number and fill my gas tank up with a nice round number. Then I realized – my bank account is never a whole number. It always has change! So using those whole numbers do my final balance no good. I don't do it anymore. (Though, if I'm close to a whole number already when filling up the tank and it clicks off, I usually keep pumping until I get to the next dollar.)

    I also obsessively check my bank account. And every small discrepancy, I freak out about! Like tonight, when I checked my account for – I don't know – the 20th time today, I saw that my final balance on the register is $40 more than my available balance. I guarantee I will obsess over that until it corrects itself on Monday.

    When I was using cash only and would go into the bank to withdraw money for the week, I would withdraw an amount that would give me a round number. So if my balance was $459.72, and I only needed $50 for the week, I would still withdraw $59.72 so my balance would be a nice $400.

    But that whole interest transferring thing? Man, you're nuts! You'd earn more interest if you left the money in there! Of course, if you're just transferring it to another savings account, I guess it's all the same in the end. But you're still a little crazy for that one! :-p

  25. Don't feel bad man. I must be weird just like you. I have the same issues except I don't transfer interest in my savings account.

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  28. I try to never round up tips to make an even total any more. I keep the tips themselves at an even number. The main reason is that it makes it harder for the servers at the end of the night to tally up their tips (and to pool tips). Taking $8 from the register and adding it to the night's total is a lot easier than $7.69. Waiting tables is tough work and every little thing helps.

    • As a former server, ditto; a lot of times customers skip the "tip" line and just put the full amount; server is rushed & spends time doing subtraction (you have to enter the tip, you can't just enter the total). Also I tip in cash due to reporting rules; it's not like servers make a mint.

  29. You aren't weird Ninja, I do the tipping thing, the bank deposit thing and the checking your online banking thing as well.
    Although, maybe thats why i like your site so much, we are both the same kind of weird………………….

  30. oh yeah, i also transfer my interest so everything has whole numbers. I thought that was kinda obsessive when only i did it, but now that there are at least 2 of us, i'm going to say its normal

  31. Every time I use my debit card at the store I make the amount even and get the change back so I have a round number. I have alot of cashiers looking at me funny for getting .11 back!

  32. My husband and I always tip to make it a whole number.
    Cash disappears around me too, so it's Discover and Mastercard only.
    My husband has to make all his money face the "right" way in his wallet and for deposits.
    I obsessively check all of our accounts…sometimes multiple times a day…

    We've only transferred interest around to make whole numbers once, so you must be weird. LOL 🙂

  33. I always, always round up the credit card tip! I'm glad to hear it isn't just me. I'm also with you on the money thing – all bills must be face up, in the same direction, highest dollar amount in the back to smallest on top. Of course, I don't carry a lot of cash so we're not sharing that particular money quirk.

  34. […] checked my bank accounts, which I now am doing several times a day (reminds me of Ninja’s habits), and I realized I’m doing pretty good this […]

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