Go to the Bank
You generally can go to the issuing bank and cash the check, even if you don't have an account there. You'll need to provide a state-issued picture ID, such as a driver's license, and may be asked to provide a thumbprint or other identifying information. This protects the bank in case someone steals an account holder's checkbook and tries to cash a fraudulent check. You'll generally pay a small fee for this service, though that depends on the bank.
Other Check-Cashing Options
Check-cashing stores will turn your paper into money for either a flat fee or a percentage of the check's value. Some retailers, such as Wal-Mart, provide a similar service. The cost for cashing a personal check generally is greater than for a payroll or government check because of the increased risk that it will be returned for insufficient funds. If that happens, you're responsible for refunding the money and can face collection action if you fail to do so. The smaller the check, the easier it will be to cash. Many third-party check-cashing services have an upper limit beyond which they won't cash a personal check.