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Are You Friends With Your Checkbook?

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Who couldn't be friends with this guy?

Most of us strive to try to keep a budget each month. Everyone has fixed costs that have to be covered, such as the rent or mortgage, insurance, and food. Some people call these a "monthly nut", but I'm not a squirrel. I like to call these "necessary expenses" and have tracked them over time. For many people keeping to a budget was easier years ago. Nowadays, are a ton of electronic payment methods available. Their convenience makes spending money we do not have that much more tempting. Impulse buying becomes easier - all you have to do is swipe either your debit card or your credit card.

This can result in a well-planned budget getting out of the water. Maybe I'm showing my age, but I remember when people would write checks at the grocery store. It slowed everything down. As one of those "quick swipe" credit card people I found this really annoying.

Looking back on it today, I have to respect it a bit. Those people actually spent time balancing a checkbook, so they knew exactly how much money they had. It was a great system for accountability reasons. With today's credit cards a lot of that accountability is gone.

I have to admit that I'm not very good friends with my checkbook nowadays. I thought about it for a bit and here are some of the reasons why:

  1. I'm Lazy - I type thousands of words a day. It may sound crazy, but I barely know how to use a pen anymore. Adding an item to a grocery list is comical.
  2. I Don't Need the Accountability - I spend more than enough time thinking about money by writing for this site. In return this website gives me accountability.
  3. Checks can be Expensive - Last year I switched bank accounts. It's a long story, but since my tenants wouldn't get out when the lease was over, I had to stop accepting payment from them in order to evict them. However, they had the ability to automatic deposit money in my bank account, which allowed them to stay indefinitely... unless I switched bank account numbers.

    So I switched, but that required getting all new checks. It was well over $25 for 120 checks of the very most basic design. That's almost half the cost of a stamp, simply to use my own money. I decided to go home and order cheap checks online. It was much, much cheaper. Not only that, but the bulk pricing was much better my bank's.

Sorry Mr. Checkbook, but for now we'll just have to be occasional acquaintances.

Last updated on August 20, 2014.

This post deals with:

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Banking, Budgeting, Credit Cards

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3 Responses to “Are You Friends With Your Checkbook?”

  1. Big-D says:

    I write 1 check a month, to my maid. Everything else is done via bill pay and I never have to stuff an envelope or put a stamp on it.

  2. robyn says:

    i ordered checks recently [online, very pretty and CHEAP!] i love writing checks, but so few places accept them that i had to get a debit card. and yes, it makes it way to easy to spend money and much harder to track. before, i carried my checkbook, noted on the back what i wrote until i got home and entered it in the register and then into my software. now? i log into my bank every 2-3 days to tally my debits. i don’t have nearly the awareness of my balance. for a tax professional, that is a disturbing feeling. the only check i write is for rent. i write a check, walk to the bank and deposit it to their account. i could use do a transfer [we have the same bank] but THEY have a problem tracking it without the physical deposit ticket.

  3. robyn says:

    realizing that direct deposit, or in my case, physical deposit, cannot be stopped with out changing accounts is disturbing. it opens the recipient to all sorts of potential liability, litigation, could pierce the veil of the corporation, negate settlements. note to self: keep bank account info as private as ss#.

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