A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 30, 2018
“Maybe they call it ‘take-home pay’ because there is no other place you can afford to go with it”

"I have to take my paycheck to the bank. It’s too little to go by itself” is a jocular saying that has been printed on several images. The paycheck joke started with jokes about “take-home pay” (pay after deductions, such as taxes). “Maybe they call it take-home pay because there is no other place you can afford to go with it” was credited to Claude Brooks of the Kimble Glass Company in the Muncie (IN) Star on February 19, 1953, and credited to Franklin P. Jones in a newspaper (citing The Reader’s Digest) on April 30, 1953. Franklin P. Jones was well known for original humorous quotes and probably said it first.

Another joke about the term “take-home pay” was printed in the Vineland (NJ) Times Journal on December 31, 1957:

“They use the term ‘take home pay’ because it’s usually too small to go home by itself, observes Phil Sheridan of Station WFIL.”

“You wonder why you call it take-home pay,” Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan said in April 1976.  “That’s because it’s too little to go home by itself.”

A slightly different version—taking the pay to the bank, not home—appeared in several different newspaper ads in September 1986:

“Our friend says he always takes his paycheck to the bank. It’s too little to go by itself.”


Answers.com
Franklin P. Jones (1908 - 1980) was a Philadelphia reporter, public relations executive and humorist. He wrote quips and quotes that entertained readers of major publications for years.

Mr. Jones was known nationally during the 1940s and 50s for his column “Put it this Way” in the Saturday Evening Post. “Put it this Way” set a record as the longest continuously published feature in the Saturday Evening Post.

He was an accomplished “paragrapher” - a writer who condenses humorous or thought provoking ideas into paragraph form. His quips and quotes were published (often anonymously) in numerous publications, including Reader’s Digest, the Wall Street Journal, Changing Times and Quote magazine.

19 February 1953, Muncie (IN) Star, “Seen and Heard In Our Neighborhood” by Dick Greene, pg. 4, col. 2:
Writing in the Muncie Insulxer, newspaper of the Kimble Glass Company, Claude Brooks makes this crack: “Maybe they call it ‘Take Home Pay’ because there is no other place you can afford to go with it.”

30 April 1953, National Road Traveler (Cambridge City, IN), “Quotable Quotes” (Reader’s Digest), pg. 9, col. 5:
Franklin P. Jones: Maybe they call it take-home pay because there is no other place you can afford to go with it.

20 July 1953, The State (Columbia, SC), “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 8-B, col. 5:
TODAY’S BEST LAUGH: “Maybe they call it take home pay because there’s no other place you can afford to go with it.”—Pipe Dreams.

31 December 1957, Vineland (NJ) Times Journal, “Round Our Town” by Del Brandt, pg. 8, col. 2:
They use the term “take home pay” because it’s usually too small to go home by itself, observes Phil Sheridan of Station WFIL.

8 April 1976, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, “Reagan takes campaign to oil country (UPI), pg. 16A, col. 1:
LONGVIEW, Tex.—(...) “You wonder why you call it take-home pay. That’s because it’s too little to go home by itself.”
(Spoken by Ronald Reagan.—ed.)

15 September 1986, Star-Tribune (Casper, WY), pg. A10, col. 5 ad:
OUR FRIEND SAYS he always takes his paycheck to the bank. It’s too little to go by itself.
(A&W Family Restaurant.—ed.)

15 September 1986, Gaffney (SC) Ledger, “Would you believe?” by Vic Smith, pg. 11, col. 6 ad:
Our friend says he always takes his paycheck to the bank. It’s too little to go by itself.
(Vic’s Tire & Auto Service.—ed.)

4 December 1986, The Index-Journal (Greewnood, SC), “Light Touch” by Paul Burdette, pg. 11, col. 2 ad: 
Our friend says he always takes his paycheck to the bank. It’s too little to go by itself.
(Burdette’s Ace Hardware.—ed.)

7 September 1987, Durham (NC) Morning Herald, “Labor Day: A Saulte THat Doesn’t Poke A Finger In Workers’ Eyes” by Lib Griffin, pg. 6A, col. 5:
Everybody’s talking about take-home pay. You know why you have to take it home? Its too little to go by itself.

22 February 1989, Oshkosh (WI) Northwestern, “Blondie” comic strip by Chic Young, pg. 19, col. 1:
Boss: WHAT’S THAT YOU HAVE THERE, DAGWOOD?
Dagwood Bumstead: IT’S MY PAYCHECK.
Dagwood Bumstead: I’M TAKING IT TO THE BANK.
Dagwood Bumstead: I HAVE TO TAKE IT.
Dagwood Bumstead: IT’S TOO SMALL TO TAKE ITSELF.

Google Books
And I Quote:
The Definitive Collection of Quotes, Sayings, and Jokes for the Contemporary Speechmaker

By Ashton Applewhite, William R. Evans III and Andrew Frothingham
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
1992
Pg. 256:
It’s no surprise that people grouse about their take-home pay. You know why you have to take it home? It’s too little to go by itself.

3 September 1999, New York (NY) Post, “Strictly for Laughs” by Joey Adams, pg. 42:
Everybody’s talking about take-home pay. You know why you have to take it home? Its too little to go by itself.

Google Groups: rec.humor
WORLD ACCORDING TO FRANK & ERNEST
dcoble
11/8/00
(...)
I have to take my paycheck to the bank ... it’s too little to go by itself.

Google Books
The American Legion Magazine
Volumes 150-151
2001
Pg. 132:
Pee-Wee Wages
I take my paycheck to the bank every month. It’s too small to go by itself. - Submitted by John J. Wilczynski, Susanville, Calif.

Twitter
Sarah Sanford
@TheOpalTurtle
calendar quote: “I have to take my paycheck to the bank. It’s too little to go by itself.” hee
12:17 PM - 12 Nov 2008

Twitter
Paul’s Jokes
@MoreTwitty
Reminds me of the old joke:
I have to take my paycheck to the bank. (It’s too little to go by itself.)Paul’s Jokes added,
Swedish Canary
@SwedishCanary
I used to live paycheck to paycheck but through a lot of hard work and perseverance I now live direct deposit to direct deposit.
4:38 PM - 7 Feb 2018

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Wednesday, May 30, 2018 • Permalink