I felt rather special when I received a thin envelope from the Wells Fargo bank.

Back in 2004, I had yet to own a credit card. However, I needed a rental car and the rental car places only take credit cards. I hastily applied to many credit card companies, but was denied by each one because I didn’t have an existing revolving account (don’t get me started on the catch-22 situation). As a last resort, I applied to Wells Fargo (whom I banked with at the time) and got accepted. I was ecstatic that I had finally received my very first credit card.

After roughly a year of owning the card, I decided I had built up my “revolving account” status and applied for those coveted rewards cards. I was accepted, and I decided it was now time to rid myself of my Wells Fargo credit card. I paid off the balance and canceled the card. However, I made one small mistake and overpaid my balance by thirty cents.

My credit card was indeed canceled, but I still received monthly credit card statements from Wells Fargo stating my balance with the statement reading, “This is not a bill.” The statement reminded me that I still had thirty cents left to squander. My credit card had long ago met the shredder, so I just shrugged off the balance statements and forgot about the whole thing.

That all changed when I received my special thin envelope in the mail. Inside was the coveted amount I had overpaid: a whole thirty cents. I should point out that the cost to send the check (and not counting the printing costs) was thirty-nine cents.

I can imagine the look on a bank teller’s face when I approach her and say, “Hi. I’d like to deposit this thirty-cent check. And I’d like to put the amount into savings.”

Now that I have a whole thirty cents to spend, here’s what I could possibly do with it:

  • Receive a free pictorial text message on my phone.
  • Buy a thing of bubble-gum (not counting tax).
  • Get some of those candy samples in the supermarkets.
  • Play an arcade game (if I can find one for a quarter).

I can’t really think of anything else. I might deposit the check just to see what happens, but I doubt it. The opportunity cost of driving to the bank, waiting in line to deposit, and driving back is probably significantly higher than thirty cents. Now that I think about it , the opportunity cost of writing a blog post about receiving thirty cents in the mail is probably greater than thirty cents as well (this is debatable).