Bank Accounts / System - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 02-01-2014, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I am curious how people have their bank accounts set up, what they are for, how they function, etc.


Direct deposit checking account for bills, then distribute the rest to the appropriate accounts? How many savings / checking accounts? A separate account for Christmas savings or one savings for Christmas/vacations/etc together? Long term savings vs short term savings? 


We have my husbands direct deposit set to our daily checking account. I use this to pay monthly living expenses out of. We have an emergency amount in a savings account, linked to checking for overages. Then another "larger scale" savings account, that doesn't have anything in it at the moment, actually.


I'm wondering how to manage the month in advance money, the food fund (half a cow, chicken share, pig, csa, bulk cost at orchard, etc.), savings for vacations/holidays/birthdays, car money, etc. and I'm looking for inspiration. :) 



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#2 of 5 Old 02-02-2014, 11:18 AM
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I have a similar set up to what you're describing. It may seem a little extreme but we have 2 checking accts and 3 savings accts plus some EF cash at home and it works for us. Here's how I break it up:


* Main checking acct. (Gets dh's check direct deposit and is our bill pay acct)

    - Tiny savings acct linked for overage protection

* Second checking acct. (Deposit my checks here and is our "extra" money acct. Dh keeps a card to this so he can see how much money we really have that can be spent in case of an emergency b/c he works off. This acct covers household/misc type stuff so it's part of our monthly budget money but nothing *crucial*)

    - Tiny savings acct linked for overage protection

* Main interest bearing savings acct. (Our real savings)

I also keep an EF of cash in a water/fire proof lockbox in case of disaster type emergencies where we may have ONLY that money for weeks (ie Katrina!). 


I like the breakdown this way and it may seem a little extreme but its not that bad. The cash EF at home and the two checking linked savings accts have a set amt in them and I don't add to them or mess with them at all. I try to keep us one month ahead (ie Feb checks get saved all month to cover March's budget on the 1st). This way on the 1st of each month I pay all bills out of the main acct and can see how much we have in the 2nd checking to cover variable expenses for the month. This way I know how much can really go to savings that month too and make the transfer so that money doesn't get touched. 

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#3 of 5 Old 02-03-2014, 01:53 PM
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We have the main checking account, into which all paychecks are deposited. This account covers all of our non-cash expenses. Most of the bills are autopay from this account.

I also have 6 savings accounts through I do regular deposits into most of those accounts: EF, Travel, Home Improvement, Business #1, Business #2. The deposits are set up ahead of time and amount to $10-50 each month.

The last one is called Income Distribution. Whenever we get a large amount of money, we put it in this one. ID deposits a set amount into the checking account each week. This makes up for the "loss" of income when my unemployment ran out. By doing it this way, we have to consider and plan for any additional amount coming out of the account, knowing that it will leave us in a less viable position down the road. With tax rebates, we will have no issues until June or July of this year. If DH does not get his promotion by May, I get to start looking for a job, which sucks cuz we are saving a ton on sitters and food with me being at home.

I maintain an extensive spreadsheet which tracks our budget several months in advance. I have all of our estimated incomes, regular bills, regular other payments, grocery money, gas money, etc. all estimated into this spreadsheet. I use it to track all of our spending, and how that spending will affect us in the future (we may have money now, but a purchase could put us in the red in a few weeks' time).

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#4 of 5 Old 02-03-2014, 04:01 PM
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One checking account linked to our credit card.  One savings account with Capital One (what used to be ING).  I like this savings account, because it takes 3 days to move move in and out -- fewer opportunities for impulse buys. 


We are saving for a house, so I am keeping our savings liquid.  Once the house is bought,  we will ditch the savings account and invest. 

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#5 of 5 Old 02-03-2014, 08:03 PM
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We have a joint checking account and then we each have an individual checking account. We also have a savings account for each goal--emergency fund, car replacement fund, fund to cover the cost of my unpaid maternity leave, fund to eventually shift over to our IRAs. Direct deposit goes in to the joint checking. When money comes in, I dole it out to pay bills, put enough in each of our individual checking accounts for "walking around money" until the next pay check (this covers groceries, gas, etc.), and shift most of the remainder to savings. Then we mostly don't touch the joint checking until the next pay check. 


I wish I could keep better track of what we spend our walking-around money on, but my husband is pretty resistant to being on a budget and when we were both using the joint account for everything all the time, it drove me crazy trying to keep track of where the money was going. The current system isn't perfect because if he runs out of money in his personal account he will still sometimes start using the joint card or the credit card or transfer more funds and forget to tell me, despite numerous conversations in which I've told him this drives me crazy and he agrees to stop doing it. Still this system does minimize the number of his transactions I have to keep track of. And while I think he spends his money a little frivolously sometimes, it's not too, too bad; $25 or $50 or $100 one way or the other per pay period is one thing, it's not like he's going off and buying some $3000 toy or anything on that scale. 


We don't have overdraft protection. We don't write very many checks and I keep close track of the ones we do in my spreadsheet, and I have learned that if there's not enough money in the account to cover a debit card transaction, it'll just reject at the register. I'd much rather that that have an issue with overdraft. If my card rejected and there wasn't enough money in the joint account, I'd use the credit card. 

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