Do You Pay Off Debt By The Dollar or Cent?

I received a funny phone call the other day from one of our loan issuers. He explained that he had received a payment for our loan in the amount of $44.70 and wanted to make sure it was correct.

It was.

I logged into our accounts to see where everything was standing and one loan stood out and I couldn’t ignore it. It didn’t end in a nice round number and my OCD Type A personality took over. I had to put an additional payment on the loan so it would incrementally do down by an ever number, on the dollar, not the cent.

I like round numbers, constantly moving cents around our accounts to even them up to a nice round dollar. When I  pay our bills I always round up to the next nearest dollar. When I make additional debt payments I usually wait until I have an even number (unless our account is uneven!) before sending the money in.

There’s something about paying a whole additional dollar to me than change. I know I will never miss the few cents that will be needed to round up to the next dollar so I do it every time. Over many years of doing this I have quite the credit adding up one one of our utility bills. From just rounding to the next nearest dollar I currently have a $60 credit on our water bill. Also, from what I imagine was my dollar rounding strategy, one of our loans is about $100 less than I was expecting when I called to get a balance update.

You’ll never see a debt update saying I put an extra $345.xx onto our debt, I will in most definitely find the change to round it to $346.00. Not that it matters, since the main goal is to see the debt decrease in any way possible but I do wonder if I’m a total weirdo or are there others like me?

Do you pay your debt off by the dollar or cent?


  1. I generally round up all my debt payments (including mortgage), but never bills. I don’t want a company being able to profit off my money, when I could be using it for something more in line with my values. But I have been known to send in some change to make a balance “even” 🙂
    Mom @ Three is Plenty recently posted..Maxing Out One Retirement AccountMy Profile

  2. Hahaha, interesting! I pay the bill to the exact cent, every time. When we make extra payments on things like the mortgage, or the car, it’s usually a large round number (even hundreds or thousands, occasionally to 50s).
    Anne @ Unique Gifter recently posted..Ideas for a Gift for Friends Who Have Had a Cancer DiagnosisMy Profile

  3. I pay to the exact cent on bills. Except for when I was locked out of my account once, so I just sent last months amount plus a few dollars to cover any possible extras. That being said, I always send a round number to debt repayment.

  4. I hadn’t really thought about this before! I pay “bills” (hydro, Internet, etc.) to the cent, but I always paid debt to the dollar. If the minimum was $78.09, I paid $80 (or, obviously, way way more).
    Cait Flanders recently posted..The Days of Large Tax Refunds are OverMy Profile

  5. I pay all my bills to the cent and my student loan payments come directly out of my account at the end of the month also to the cent. All my extra debt payments are usually to the dollar though. Dollar or cent, anything extra towards debt is good!

  6. Yes! I do this too! The only bills I don’t do it on are the ones I pay online like power and internet. I even round up my tips so when we eat out I will round up to the nearest dollar after my tip.
    Bre @ The Weight of Debt recently posted..Monday Monologue #6My Profile

  7. I love even, rounded numbers too. I have automatic debit for my student loans so those payments are set, but I generally make extra payments in even amounts like $50 or $100. Recently, I saw that one of my loans was hovering right around $10,000, so I made a small extra payment to get it down to the $9,000s. Even though it was a minimal change, it felt so good to see that number flip down! I also do the same thing for my savings accounts. I put away $50-$100 each month but also transfer over small amounts to get the balance up to an even number. Last month, I was $6 away from having $2,500 in a savings account and instead of keeping that money in my checking, I immediately transferred it over. This method is great because whether I’m paying off debt or saving money, every little bit helps!

  8. I usually allocate things down to the penny.
    Money Beagle recently posted..5 Reasons You Should Not Lease A CarMy Profile

  9. Haha, I’m not quite THAT OCD. Our student loan minimum payments and car loan minimum payment both have cents attached to the end and I pay both as such. For extra payments though, I always put round numbers. It’s just easier :).
    Erin @ Gen Y Finances recently posted..Financial Topics To Discuss With Your Significant OtherMy Profile

  10. We are definitely cut from the same cloth! LoL – I do the EXACT same thing! I even do this when I tip so that the bill at the end of the night is a very nice, round number. Is this a woman thing?!? hahaha… great post and no, you are not alone!
    Anneli @thefrugalweds recently posted..20-Minute Dinners: Garlic Crab NoodlesMy Profile

  11. As long as I’m paying the bill who cares how I’m paying it!
    Michelle@ShopMyClosetProject recently posted..Using My Tax Return To Kick Start My Extreme Savings-Not Debt RepaymentMy Profile

  12. Honestly? I only pay the minimum on my student loan payments, for various reasons. So I guess I pay to the penny haha.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..The Weekly Quick Hits RoundupMy Profile

  13. I pay even numbers to the dollar. I will never have cents in my payments either. I also always pay more on my student loans, so don’t deal with their minimums. I am OCD so I totally get ya, haha!
    Dear Debt recently posted..Am I a #1 Hustler or Selling Myself Short?My Profile

  14. I used to do this. Then I ended up paying off a credit card with a balance of them owing me $0.68. I would receive constantly receive statements since there was total on the card. I finally had to call them, in which they said they don’t send checks for less than a dollar, I said that was fine they can keep the $0.68. But they ended up sending me a check anyway. Then I had to go out of my way to deposit it into my bank account. The whole thing was so petty and annoying, i’ve decided not to let myself get into that situation again.
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  15. Personally I’m a fan of over-paying on bills where possible. Like you say – it can lead to a nice surprise next time you get a bill. Additionally, if and when one of those “lean” months comes along (June has 4 birthdays and two wedding anniversaries for example) it’s nice to know I’m already “ahead of the game”.

    So yes – I tend to round my *payments* up to a nice round number, but I don’t round my *balances* to a round number – if that makes sense?! recently posted..How To Create Your Best Resume Ever: My Proven FormulaMy Profile

  16. If it were up to me, my OCD self would be doing the same exact thing. But, I learned early on that it drove my wife nuts. Unless we were actively working on paying something off, then it would just be to the cent. I’d much rather have a happy wife. 🙂
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..MyRA: Should the Government Force Us to Save for Retirement?My Profile

  17. I would have to say until I get to that last payment, I pay by dollars. Then I get all excited for that final payment and get crafty and add those cents. Those are normally the best cents paid.
    Petrish @ Debt Free Martini recently posted..Bad Credit Card IdealsMy Profile

  18. Hmmm…I pay our bills to the cent. I don’t mind where it ends and I don’t need to round up. When I paid off my credit card bills, I would round up in multiples of 10 dollars.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..Home Staging Tips – The Key To A Great First ImpressionMy Profile

  19. I pay it off in whole dollar amounts but only because it is easier to keep things in order. I like your story though.
    Debt and the Girl recently posted..A New Way to Pay off Student Loan DebtMy Profile

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