Man’s Mortgage Payment Goes Up in Smoke

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Q: How long does it take to destroy $15,000 in cash?

A: The same time it takes to pre-heat your oven.

A man from Australia can vouch for that. He sold his car and stashed the dough in his oven for safekeeping.

It seemed like the perfect hiding spot until his wife got a mad craving for chicken nuggets and preheated the oven with the $15,000 still inside!

The result: A matted mess of cooked, colorful cash.

What makes this situation 15,000 times worse is the money was supposed to go towards the couple’s mortgage payment. The husband, who didn’t want to give his name (I’m guessing to avoid further embarrassment), told members of the Australian media the money was everything he had.

He also tried (“tried” being the key word) to stick up for his wife by saying she rarely cooks or uses the oven.

Thankfully, the Reserve Bank of Australia is reportedly working with the couple on a solution.

But, this story gets you thinking … what if your cash is destroyed in some crazy way such as this?

Each year the U.S. Treasury handles approximately 30,000 claims and redeems mutilated currency valued at over $30 million, according to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP).

Under regulations issued by the Department of the Treasury, damaged U.S. currency may be exchanged at face value if:

  • More than 50% of a note identifiable as United States currency is present; or,
  • 50% or less of a note identifiable as United States currency is present, and the method of mutilation and supporting evidence demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Treasury that the missing portions have been totally destroyed.

Mutilated currency does not include:

  • Any badly soiled, dirty, defaced, disintegrated, limp, torn, worn, out currency note that is clearly more than one-half of the original note, and does not require special examination to determine its value.
  • These notes should be exchanged through your local bank.

Want to see how far the bureau goes to restore your damaged dough? Check out this video.

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If you think your currency falls into the damaged category you can submit a claim on the Bureau of Engraving and Printing web site, but you’re going to have to be patient. According to the bureau, standard claims are currently taking approximately 12 to 16 weeks to process depending on the condition of the currency.

If your highly concerned about your cash maybe you shouldn’t be, check out this article by another Quizzologist on the end of cash.

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Krystal lives, works, and plays in the Detroit area and loves covering a variety of personal finance topics for the Quizzle Wire.