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The World’s Smallest Credit Card Charge

by J. Money on Tuesday, August 24, 2010

weird elephant statueI did something last night that I’m not proud of. After all the talkin’ I’ve done about having cash in your pockets and always being prepared, I was caught with my pants down. And not in a good way.

(Okay, well it wasn’t all that bad really – kinda funny actually! – but it’s definitely embarrassing coming from a personal finance blogger ;))

I was on a mission to use the last $8 off a remaining gift card we had left, so I snuck back to TJ Maxx last night and picked up this weird elephant looking thing the Mrs had wanted. (She had fallen in love with it over the weekend but I couldn’t bear to look at it at the time. After some reconsideration, though, I decided to just man up and force myself to like it ;) So I surprised her with it and now it resides in the bathroom watching over us! Haha…)

The only problem being, I had miscalculated the amount left on the card. Which normally wouldn’t have been a big deal, but it turned out I had doubled up on my good deeds for the day (a first!) and had already given away all the cash in my pockets. (Long story short, I met this amazing homeless guy – who happened to know Carlton! – and couldn’t bear not helping him out with his current mission: To get a valid ID so he could apply for this job he was really hoping to get.)

So while my guestimation was CLOSE – real close – I still came up short. And do you wanna know how much? You promise not to laugh? Okay… I was off by 10 CENTS!!! TEN freak’in CENTS! As in, THE dime I let stay on the floor only 2 hours earlier because I was too lazy to pick it up! Haha…

So last night I charged $0.10 to my credit card :) It’s not the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, but it sure goes up there in the category of Lame. The sad part here is that it never struck me to just walk out to my car and snag the extra cash I have stored there – something I JUST posted about last week! I guess I was like a deer caught in the headlights. I just froze and did what any good consumer does – hand over my credit card :) Anyone have my 10 cents beat?


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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Philip August 24, 2010 at 7:49 am

Why do you feel bad about using a credit card for payment? I would have used a credit card instead of breaking a larger bill and ending up with all that change. I can’t say I have charged for that little just don’t see the personal problem with it.

Yes the store has a good chance that the fees on the transaction is higher than the total charge but is that your problem? If you have a problem with that then you would likely have a problem taking the credit card rewards because you are taking from the people who pay cash.

Now get back to watching the elephant watch you with your pants down!

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2 Mr. ToughMoneyLove August 24, 2010 at 7:56 am

A TJ Maxx gift card? For some elephant thing that belongs in a garage sale? You met this “amazing homeless guy?” Sorry, I’m calling B.S. on this entire post.

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3 bubbles August 24, 2010 at 8:00 am

How is this any more embarrassing than voluntarily carrying credit card debt??

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4 Techbud August 24, 2010 at 8:41 am

Now can’t beat that, but I’ll fax you over the dime so you can pay off your credit card.

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5 J. Money August 24, 2010 at 8:51 am

Haha, you think I’m clever enough to make something like that up Mr. ToughMoneyLove? Sorry, gonna have to disappoint you :) The elephant is happily enjoying the gazes of my beautiful wife!

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6 sf August 24, 2010 at 8:54 am

i’ve charged 5 cents to my card for the bag tax in dc.

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7 sarah August 24, 2010 at 9:15 am

I love this…. and at the same time I am somewhat surprised that the cashier didn’t have a dime sitting on the register or someone behind you didn’t offer it to you. That has happened to me before and there always seems to be a good samaritan around to help a sister out!

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8 Uncle EL August 24, 2010 at 9:20 am

J.Money for a situation like this I would use my debit card or my emergency debit card or like you said run to the car. Mistakes happen to the best of us. I was so close to getting debt free about 5 grand short. Then I decided to go back to school and now Im back in the teens, who ever made up the slogan that eduaction pays was right. For Them it sure does!

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9 Evan August 24, 2010 at 10:11 am

Jebus that elephant is ugly as sin. It looks like an elephant had sex with a napkin holder.

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10 DHouv August 24, 2010 at 10:18 am

I once had an $0.08 cable bill (something to do with us getting a free month of cable for moving, but having to pay tax on some service)… it seemed pretty rediculous, but I just put it on my debit card since sending a check would have cost much more than that (cost of check, stamp, transportation, processing, etc).

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11 Money Beagle August 24, 2010 at 10:21 am

That reminds me of the first scene in The Big Lebowski where The Dude writes a check for half and half somewhere in the amount of $0.49 or something equally absurd.

Thanks for the laugh!

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12 Jenna August 24, 2010 at 10:59 am

I’m surprised the cashier at TJ’s didn’t just say don’t worry about it.

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13 Jeff August 24, 2010 at 11:12 am

I’ve charged $0.33 or so for a can of soup for lunch, when I worked at a grocery store. No cash on me that day.

That said, you have me beat on the amount.

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14 Molly On Money August 24, 2010 at 12:37 pm

I can’t believe I can’t ‘one up you’ on this one. I’m racking my brain right now because I’m sure I’ve done something worse……maybe not!
Come on people, someone’s got to have a good story out there to beat this one!

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15 Nick August 24, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I can sort-of beat you. A friend was about to throw away a visa gift card because it only had 5 cents on it. I stopped him from doing it and used it as the first 5 cents of a purchase the next time I used a card! The woman at the register didn’t even seem to mind (I used it at BuyBuyBaby along with somewhere between four and six coupons and a price-match request. I’m pretty sure the 5 cent partial charge was the least of her concerns!). My wife was laughing at me pretty hard though…

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16 Suba @ Wealth Informatics August 24, 2010 at 2:57 pm

First, I like that elephant (Evan, yes I like it, lol). I have something similar that my husband would love to get rid of, it is a white elephant though.

And I have charged 0.14 once in my credit card. I was short 4c ;) The rest was on Panera bread gift card. I told the person that I only have my card, not cash, so to cancel part of the order, he said they happily take card for even 1 cent. ok… so I paid with my rewards checking debit card, at least I got one of my “required” debit card transaction done…

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17 Lop August 24, 2010 at 3:49 pm

This is actually pretty funny. This remind me of doing Bank of America’s Keep the Change whereas I keep pumping gas at $1.01 at a time for many many times..lol.

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18 Daniel Howard August 24, 2010 at 7:04 pm

The real question is whether the merchant fee exceeded 10c. ;)

-d

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19 Jaime August 24, 2010 at 9:24 pm

I don’t think this is stupid. In fact I think you’re too hard on yourself. You’re doing well financially, so what if you charged .10 to your cc? I had to charge .29 at Old Navy on my debit, because it came to $50.29, I had the 50 but not the 29. Dude no worries, you’re doing fine.

btw, one time I was mad at capital one, so I sent them a payment through online banking just 1 penny, this was years ago though. lol. I’m sure it must irritate them though, hehe. On the positive side, my relationship with capital one is much better these days.

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20 TusaRebecca August 24, 2010 at 10:08 pm

I think I have a similar winner of a story. I made a quick stop at Staples yesterday to get highlighters. They were on sale for 50 cents and I had a coupon for $1 off 2, so they were going to be free. I totally forgot that I was going to have to pay the tax. My custom is to empty all the change out of my wallet every Sunday. So seeing how it was Monday, I had NO change in my wallet. Nor did I have any cash, becuase cash is in a different wallet that I didn’t need since my purchase was going to be free. So I was “that girl” and charged 7 cents. I felt like such a nerd!

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21 J. Money August 24, 2010 at 11:40 pm

@sf – Oh man, I have to decline those bags every day at lunch. Crazy that we now have to pay 5 cents per bag in DC, but then again their plan of us cutting back is working! at least for me :) that’s hilarious you put it on your c/c, haha… you beat me!
@sarah – I was kinda thinking she would find one too but no luck. I didn’t see any coins laying around though (believe me, I looked!).
@Uncle EL – Good for you though! I don’t care how much school costs, I really think it’s best for people in the long run. Every extra degree gets you further up the career ladder! As long as you stick with it and it applies to your field later, of course ;)
@Evan – Haha… oddly enough it’s starting to grow on me. Kinda like those really ugly wrinkly dogs – the more I look at it the more I start appreciating it’s uniqueness!
@DHouv – Oh for sure, much cheaper. Good job beating me too!
@Money Beagle – Haha, great movie…
@Jenna – Me too. Oh well, maybe next time :)
@Jeff – Hey, you got close!
@Molly On Money – I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until you do something to one up me ;)
@Nick – Haha that’s awesome dude. Well played.
@Suba @ Wealth Informatics – You ladies and your elephants! :) It would be interesting to see how you could end up with a $0.01 amt to pay w/ c/c too… short of running out of gift card money ofcourse.
@Lop – Hah! That’s pretty clever.
@Daniel Howard – I’m sure it did :) Although they have to have some sort of REALLY good package deal.
@Jaime – Now THAT is awesome! Reminds me of the time my friend got mad at 7-Eleven once and paid his gas bill with about $25 in pennies :) He literally dumped this huge jar allllll over the counter and then walked out. He had balls.
@TusaRebecca – A nerd who beat my record!!! Good job :)

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22 Lynn August 25, 2010 at 1:17 pm

The lowest amount I have ever charged was .50 for a pint of milk. As a small business owner, I know that the transaction cost the company a lot more than the .10. Usually there is a .20/charge fee + a percentage. They should have just given it to you and saved some money. : )

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23 Adam August 25, 2010 at 1:27 pm

I find puppy dog eyes to be really helpful if I’m a few pence short at the register…the shop assistant always let me off when I turn on the charm…I mean…sympathy.

Couldn’t you have *negotiated* the 10c away? You have it in you J$!

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24 Khaleef @ KNS Financial August 25, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Like I said on fb, I paid $0.03 recently at CVS! I didn’t feel that bad because at least I had 3 bags full of stuff. And, I definitely don’t get the elephant thing. hehehe

…you go through the craziest money experiences! I’m glad you have a blog to share them!

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25 J. Money August 25, 2010 at 9:51 pm

haha, i was way caught off guard (and tired) to throw out the charm like that ;) the cashier didn’t even flinch, she must have to deal with wackos like me all the time.

@Lynn – That would have been nice :)
@Khaleef – glad they amuse you! they def. make life interesting :) and well done crushing my record too, 3 cents is crazy!!! haha…

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26 Joe August 26, 2010 at 10:13 pm

I can’t believe they actually charged the card! LOL!

I was in a similar predicament once – squeezing out the last of a gift card – but i was about a quarter short. The cashier wouldn’t even bother swiping my card. She just let me go. I don’t know if she paid that quarter shortfall out of her pocket, or it was a “cost of doing business”. I imagine they probably saved money on the transaction fee…

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27 J. Money August 26, 2010 at 11:05 pm

That was cool of her. I probably wouldn’t have done back when I was a cashier cuz I was pretty hardcore about evening out every night ;) But if i had a tip jar or coins laying around? hell yeah! Although nowadays I would have totally let you slide… i’m trying to be nicer in life ;)

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28 Madison August 27, 2010 at 10:55 am

Although depending on what card it was… you might get the $.10 waived. Many of the credit card companies won’t bother sending a bill for that little. Silver lining?

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29 J. Money August 28, 2010 at 7:23 pm

I went back online to check but yup – $0.10 charge still on there. Woulda been cool though if they just nixed it ;)

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