And sincere apologies to my readers as well: unfortunately I don't know any legal way to get money for nothing - even someone has to buy your lotter ticket.
Getting your cheques for free though is a different story. As they say, you can always negotiate with your bank and try to get free stuff. You can even get an account that provides free cheques (as in "the price is included in your monthly fee").
A post over at Canadian Personal Finance Blog was published just as I was running out of cheques in one of my accounts, and the comments contained a link to something very interesting: an alternative to buying cheques from your bank! Yes it is possible! For some time now cheques have a standard, that is published and publicly available, so technically anyone could print their own standardized cheques. And if you're a company that issues a lot of cheques this isn't a bad idea. But if you're an individual who just needs personal cheques then the investment in magnetic ink and special paper would be excessive.
Most, if not all, Canadian banks use Davis+Henderson to print their cheques. The alternative is ASAP Cheques, for both business and personal cheques. They're Canadian, based in Gananoque, Ontario, but serve all of North America. Their deal on personal cheques is 100 cheques (4 books) for $20 and $2.75 shipping & handling plus GST (and HST if necessary). This is considerably better your typical bank's offer of about $30 for 100 cheques and $5 for shipping & handling plus GST & PST.
They have an even better offer if you're okay with the basic cheque design: 200 cheques for $25.50!!! These are single cheques, not duplicates although those are available too if carbon-copies are still your thing.
Before you order from ASAP Cheques you need to be aware of two things:
- Make sure you order before you run out of cheques since you need to send them a VOID cheque as a sample. If you've already run-out, or don't have any cheques to begin with, you can get a Cheque Sample Specification from your bank. This is basically a VOID cheque printed on a full-sheet of paper with all the information necessary to identify you and your bank and you'll need to e-mail them a scanned copy or mail or fax it to them; and
- If this is the first time you order from them there is additional verification process they go through so it can take a bit longer to get your cheques (although I have to admit I got my cheques within a week of starting the whole process).
Cross-posted on 2FatDads at Money for Nothing and Your Cheques for Free.