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 September 11, 2014
“Show me your checkbook and I’ll tell you your values”

"Show me your checkbook and I’ll tell you your values” is a popular saying of uncertain origin. “Show me a person’s checkbook and I can tell you what he cares about” was cited in print in 1964. “Show me your checkbook stubs and I will tell you what kind of person you are” was cited in 1975. “G. K. Chesterton, a brilliant writer, once said, ‘Show me the stubs in a man’s checkbook and I will tell you what kind of man he is’” was cited in 1979, but Chesterton’s alleged quotation has not been located.

“Show me your checkbook, and I’ll show you your priorities” was cited in 1988. “Show me your checkbook and calendar, and I’ll tell you what your values are” was cited in 1990.

U.S. politician Joe Biden, campaigning in 2007, credited his father with, “Show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value.”

“The checkbook and the calendar never lie” is a related term that was called an old saying in 2011.


Google Books
Social Action
Volumes 31-32
1964
Pg. 3:
It has been said, “Show me a person’s checkbook and I can tell you what he cares about.”

12 April 1975, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Down to Earth: Offering Showing Value of Religion?” by John F. Anderson Jr., pg. 3D, col. 1:
“Show me your checkbook stubs,” some wise one has declared, “and I will tell you what kind of person you are and, furthermore, how Christian you are.”

Google News Archive
22 October 1979, Spartanburg (SC) Herald, “Beginning the Day” by Dr. John Wood Robison, pg. A4, col. 2:
G. K. Chesterton, a brilliant writer, once said, “Show me the stubs in a man’s checkbook and I will tell you what kind of man he is.”

Google News Archive
6 August 1988, The Item (Sumter, SC), “The Minister’s Column” by W. Sterne Bolle, pg. 6A, col. 3:
I heard someone say recently, “Show me your checkbook, and I’ll show you your priorities!”

Google Books
Dignity and Solidarity:
An Introduction to Peace and Justice Education

By Owen R. Jackson
Chicago, IL: Loyola University Press
1992, ©1990
Pg. 259:
“Show me your checkbook and calendar, and I’ll tell you what your values are.”

Google Books
From Every Angle
By CSS Publishing Company
Lima, OH: CSS Publishing Company, Inc.
2000
Pg. 190:
And another professor has said, “Show me your checkbook, and I will tell you what you believe.”

Google Books
Mr. Littlejohn’s Secrets to a Lifetime of Success
By Pat Williams with Jim Denney
Grand Rapids, MI: F.H. Revell
2000
Pg. 147:
The great preacher Dr. Harry Ironside used to say, “Show me the stubs in a man’s checkbook and I’ll tell you about the man.”

Google Books
Happily Ever After:
Walking with Peace and Courage Through a Year of Divorce

By Kristin Armstrong
New York, NY: FaithWords
2007
Pg. 137:
A wise person said, “Show me your checkbook, and I’ll tell you your values. Someone even wiser said, “Show me your calendar, and I’ll tell you your values.”

Google News Archive
5 February 2009, Isabel (SD) Dakotan, pg. 5, col. 4:
“Give me five minutes with a person’s checkbook, and I will tell you where their heart is.”—Billly Graham

Google Books
Money Enough:
Everyday Practices for Living Faithfully in the Global Economy

By Douglas A. Hicks
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
2010
Pg. 23:
The old saying is instructive: Show me your checkbook, and I will show you your values.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • Thursday, September 11, 2014 • Permalink