We’ve all been there at some point in our lives. As single parents we may find ourselves there more times than not. There being, down to the last few dollars with another week to go before payday! Although I’m not perfect at the big B, budgeting, I have learned a few useful things along the way that can help save those pretty pennies.
First things first, avoid trouble before it starts. Take a minute to write down check numbers and amounts on the spot versus waiting until tomorrow or the end of the week. Track debit card swipes just as fanatically as you would watch your kids at the park; tracking the action may seem like a tedious task, but trust me its worth it. The idea that “if there’s no money in my account the transaction wouldn’t be approved anyway” needs to go right out the window! Now the questions are, why are these two things so important, and why are they the first two things I’m pointing out when it comes to budgeting? Simple, falling behind or having bad habits when it comes to keeping track of your money leads to a little something called Bank Fees. These sweet little things that seem harmless from time to time can result in hundreds even thousands of dollars lost! After reading the rest of this article if you still don’t think keeping track is a good idea please let me know because I like having friends who are into giving away free money.
How bank fees work 101
Bank fees can range from fifteen to thirty-five dollars. They fall under the names of insufficient funds, overdraft or extended overdraft fees, yes there is a fee for being overdrawn for to long. If a check presents to your account and there isn’t enough money to cover it one of two things will happen, either the check will be paid and you will be charged an overdraft fee or the check will be returned and you will be charged an insufficient funds fee. This is all before the fee charged by the business you wrote the check to. Although checks are pretty cut and dry that one check that didn’t exactly float its way to the bank on time can cost a minimum of sixty additional dollars.
Debit card transactions have to be honored by the bank once the transaction is approved but here is where things get tricky. If multiple transactions present to your account on the same day the “general banking rule” is that the largest transaction will be honored first all the way down to the last transaction. What this means is that you may have two or three small transactions that would clear with no problem and one larger one that would overdraw the account but only rack up one fee.If the larger transaction is cleared first those two or three smaller ones have just cost you an extra thirty five dollar fee each. Weekends can also be fee traps. Because banks do not recognize weekends as business days, in most cases, the spending your doing on the weekend may not actually add up until Monday or Tuesday. This means your swipes may be getting approved even though with closer tracking you would see the funds are not truly there. Do Not I repeat Do Not rely on online banking!
These are just a few tips on how to avoid handing out your hard earned cash that I’ve learned by trial and error. For more information on the ins and outs of bank fees check out this article on Smartmoney.com.