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How Low Do You Let Your Checking Account Get? - Page 3

post #41 of 71

I keep a $1500 buffer. I have free checking under my student account right now, but that expires in July and to keep free checking I'll need an average daily balance of $1500. It also works out well because that's just a little more than one month's living expenses, so I treat it like a little baby EF that would get used before tapping into the bigger EF if anything happened. 

 

I wouldn't feel comfortable going below $500, my cash flow for the first half of the month is always negative because that's when all the big bills are due, then I make it up in the second half of the month when I just pay for groceries, gas, and move some cash for my sinking funds. 

post #42 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mnnice View Post

Yes it is in the US and it has some rules (must have a direct deposit, most have 10 debit purchases per month, the rate in only on the first $25K in the bank).  The bank does not take new customers from all states IIRC just ND, SD, NE, IA, and MN. 

 

If you want more info PM and I'll give you some info.


Thanks for the offer, but I'm not in one of those states.  Maybe you can hook someone else up, though!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulvah View Post



There are a lot of banks out there now doing this, but as mnnice has pointed out, there are requirements, which often include a specific number of debits/month and direct deposit.  Google "high interest checking" and your state (there are also national, FDIC-insured banks doing this) and you are likely to come up with something.


Great idea!  I'm going to go do that.  Thanks.
 

 

post #43 of 71

I have learned to keep a $300 buffer against possible math errors or bank errors.  I would like to keep more, but this is the minimum that works for me to buffer problems, and it's been all I can manage.

 

It's in an overdraft savings attached to my checking account.  I usually spend my checking down to very close to $0.  If that $300 was in there, it would fly away, too.  wink1.gif  The overdraft has a fee of $3 if it gets used unexpectedly, so I'm incented to not just let that happen.  I need little helps like that, I guess.  There is no penalty for transferring from the overdraft to the checking if I deliberately decide I need to use it (though they limit you to 6 transfers/month.)

 

My ideal would be to be ahead by one month's expenses so it's "pay bill, replace money" not "wait for money, pay bill."

 

I have a free checking account where there is no minimum, no fees except for overdraft, and checks are free.  I think those things will be a thing of the past soon though. I bank with a truly local bank, which is a rarity, and they treat their customers well.

post #44 of 71

Coming back to the thread to clarify.  I guess the reason I don't feel the need for a buffer is that I keep an excel spreadsheet of all transactions in my checking account - like a register but including debits.  So I always know what my absolute balance once everything has cleared is.  So even if the gas station doesn't run my # for a week, it's like that $ is already gone.  And like I said above, my bank would dip into my savings if need be (say to cover a transaction not reported to me by DH!)

post #45 of 71


Yeah, I gotchya. I don't keep a buffer either. The money in the checking is accounted for (bills, stuff). The extra in there is for spending (lunch, coffee). I have all my info on a spreadsheet and once the check goes through, I reconcile the spreadsheet. I take out cash for my little expenses and I know how much is in there for groceries, where I use a debit card...etc..  My savings are in different accounts and when I need to buy something for the house renovation, or dentist, for example, I move that "saved" money into the checking and then buy it.

 

Also, I have a no fee account, so there is no requirement for me to keep extra money in there.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunflower.mama View Post

Coming back to the thread to clarify.  I guess the reason I don't feel the need for a buffer is that I keep an excel spreadsheet of all transactions in my checking account - like a register but including debits.  So I always know what my absolute balance once everything has cleared is.  So even if the gas station doesn't run my # for a week, it's like that $ is already gone.  And like I said above, my bank would dip into my savings if need be (say to cover a transaction not reported to me by DH!)



 

post #46 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mnnice View Post

Yes it is in the US and it has some rules (must have a direct deposit, most have 10 debit purchases per month, the rate in only on the first $25K in the bank).  The bank does not take new customers from all states IIRC just ND, SD, NE, IA, and MN. 

 

If you want more info PM and I'll give you some info.


Who in the world has $25,000 at one time to keep in the bank?

 

post #47 of 71

Our paychecks/income go straight into savings accounts. We take a set (budgeted) amount every 2 weeks and put it into our joint checking account. All expenses besides rent/utilities come out of here - gas, groceries, out to dinner, need to buy a gift, doctor co-pay, etc. We usually spend all of it (the balance goes down close to 0) every two weeks. Usually there's a few dollars left. If we want/need to get something and there's no money left, we DONT go to savings, we just WAIT the old fashioned way (until the next 2 week period where the new money is put in). It works for us - we save a set amount consistently and our expenses are always the same every month.

post #48 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunflower.mama View Post

Coming back to the thread to clarify.  I guess the reason I don't feel the need for a buffer is that I keep an excel spreadsheet of all transactions in my checking account - like a register but including debits.  So I always know what my absolute balance once everything has cleared is.  So even if the gas station doesn't run my # for a week, it's like that $ is already gone.  And like I said above, my bank would dip into my savings if need be (say to cover a transaction not reported to me by DH!)


We are similar.  I use banking software (Quicken) which has my automatic payments programmed and I download transactions and input our transactions very regularly (takes about 5 minutes every day or two) so I always know what is coming in and out and what our balance is or will be at any given time.  If I didn't do this I would definitely feel the need for a buffer.    

 

post #49 of 71

Hi, I keep a $3000 buffer because I would have to pay a 13.95 fee every month otherwise. I would never get that much interest on $3000 every month. I pretend that money isn't there and it is a no spend amount!!

post #50 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by jess in hawaii View Post

Ideally I keep about $5 "just in case" money, but most often my account hovers just above 0. I have to keep a few cents in there or there are fees and charges (makes sense, right eyesroll.gif) but there have been periods where I literally had .02 -.05 for months.



ditto, I was thrilled today to find I still have $4.37 in the bank so I can buy a gallon of gas to go to the food bank Monday, my car is on E and I don't get paid for another week. This thread is rather depressing to read, I can't imagine having more then $5 at the end of the month much less $500+. Seems most peoples safety buffer is more then I make in a month!:(

post #51 of 71

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by betsu63 View Post

Hi, I keep a $3000 buffer because I would have to pay a 13.95 fee every month otherwise. I would never get that much interest on $3000 every month. I pretend that money isn't there and it is a no spend amount!!


I want to be you! ;-)

 

I don't have a set amount for checking - if I have to run it down to $5.00 to take care of things, I do it. Usually there's a couple hundred at a time sitting in there though, so I don't freak out if it dips lower from time to time in between paychecks. The savings account is where I get nervous - we have a modest savings, but if it dips below $500.00 I get real antsy. Our savings is our buffer/trying-to-be savings for a house. 

 

post #52 of 71
Thread Starter 

Hmm.  I check my bank account daily and keep good tabs on the balance.  Based on your responses, maybe I could loosen up a bit on the minimum balance....

post #53 of 71

Eh, I need to tighten things.  We just went through our finances and I vomitted a little when I realize... I'm the problem.

post #54 of 71

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Eh, I need to tighten things.  We just went through our finances and I vomitted a little when I realize... I'm the problem.


Meh, I can sympathize... four years or so ago we went through the same thing. I had overdrafts all the time because I couldn't keep track of what I was spending. We were spending hundreds of dollars a year in overdraft fees! I just couldn't write things down in my check ledger and save receipts and all that. Now, I don't even have checks on my account (my husband and I both still maintain separate checking accounts, though we both know each other passwords and balances, etc.) and I check it online every few days against recent purchases I've made. Haven't had an overdraft since I started with that. But man, I definitely know that crappy pit of your stomach feeling! 

 

post #55 of 71

The little money accounts are the ones that have the most fees and the big money accounts are the ones with all the perks. That's how the poor get poorer and the rich get richer.


Edited by Apples12 - 1/28/12 at 10:38am
post #56 of 71


DH and I once put 40000 in our account at one time.  Then again we reenlisted in the military.  AWESOME!  I spent that crap real quick!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apples12 View Post


Who in the world has $25,000 to put in the bank at one time?

 



 

post #57 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post


DH and I once put 40000 in our account at one time.  Then again we reenlisted in the military.  AWESOME!  I spent that crap real quick!
 



 



I know it's possible but I would say that most people live paycheck to paycheck or pretty close to it.

post #58 of 71


Yes that's true.  And I was young so I still kick myself for blowing all that money.  I did however get some things done on my house.  All before kids. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apples12 View Post



I know it's possible but I would say that most people live paycheck to paycheck or pretty close to it.



 

post #59 of 71

I try to leave about 100 in there for impromptu spending, which could be anything from a last minute birthday present to a treat at Starbucks to a gallong of milk. This is as long as there is money in the savings for overdraft protection. When the savings is low, I get nervous around 300 with the checking.

post #60 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apples12 View Post



Who has $25,000 to put in the bank at one time?



Well I am pretty sure we have never had $25K to put in the bank at anyone time as a lump sum we generally keep that much in the bank.  We drive old cars, we have a house with a twenty year old roof, furnace, and water heater, and we have a pretty high deductible on our health insurance.  I just think it's prudent. 

 

The interest rate in on deposites from $0 to $25,000.  While I agree with the rich get rich aspect of you shared with lots of things, I do think this account is not an example of this the perks exist if you follow the other requirements for account.  It does not have any fees or minimium balances you just don't get your interest.

 

While I am going to refrain from negative judgement about why people don't have emergency funds.  I would say that everyone should have one and that I think lots of people live far more paycheck to paycheck than really need to.

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