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#1 of 14 Old 01-31-2006, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm fairly new to this forum and have been lurking a bit so I hope you don't mind me putting my question to you all.

How does everyone do their banking and bill payments?

I'm just trying to figure out if doing online banking/bill payments would be better for my family. I handle all of our banking except for the random time i send DH out, we use cash for everything other than bills.

We currently have two bank accounts, one for savings which has no fees because we keep our minimum balance $1000 (or have for the last two months) and even when we don't the fees are only $4 and we never go over our transactions on it (3 withdrawals, no limit to deposits) and one chequing account, which we don't actually have cheques for, we never use cheques. Right now we are on a *plan* for that account that allows us 4 full serve transactions and 10 self serve transaction for $4 plus we have a $2 fee for $500 overdraft which we just got last month for various reasons, though we don't plan to use except an emergency (we were getting down to the line on savings and my EI benefits hadn't come in, luckily we found out this week that I got my EI now)

anyway.. somehow we end up paying about $12 in banking fees for the chequing account each month, not including the overdraft fee ($2) even when we are being REALLY good and NOT using our bank cards at all. We have 7 bills, 4 are automatically withdrawn from chq (leaving us with 6 self serve transactions) We pay the other 3 at the teller when we go in each weekend. We only keep enough $$ in the chq account to cover the automatically withdrawn bills. Both DH's weekly pay and now my EI are automatically deposited into the account. I get one cheque during the month that I deposit into the account.

If i did online banking I'd be able to pay two of the other 3 bills online, one is our rent which we always pay by money order so even doing online banking wouldn't eliminate our full serve transactions.. so switching to another account *plan* wouldn't help because the next one is $7 for 25 self serve transactions, no full serve, which I need.

We get paper copies of our records in the mail each month, the thing is DH checks the mail and often doesn't tell me when things like that come in (he tells me when bills come in but seems to think that our records aren't as important)

January wasn't a good month for us as far as cash using, our fees will probably be up around $25 this month which is fine, i'm due in 10 days and have been really emotional and demanding the last few weeks meaning i've been sending DH out for stuff we don't need and he's been using the bank card to buy the stuff but I want to get in line for February.

anyway, now that my EI has come in we have LOTS of leeway with savings and are probably going to be able to even put MORE away in savings instead of taking it out but I was wondering if anyone could read through this and tell me if you see anywhere that I could tighten things up, I've thought about confiscating DH's bank card (I have a bank card but it doesn't work as a debit card because it's not linked to either of the two accounts we have now, the one it was linked to was closed when i quit working) so as to make sure that he isn't using it when I don't know (especially now with the overdraft) but I feel like that would be overstepping my bounds, he is very good about me being in control of the bills and doing all the banking (our cash is always available to both of us in a very general space, it isn't in either one of our wallets or anything like that) and i don't want to compromise that.

any suggestions are very welcome, I hope i haven't bored you to death, I want to get this all figured out because with this baby coming any time I want to make sure we are prepared.
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#2 of 14 Old 01-31-2006, 06:00 PM
 
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Whats the difference between full serve and self serve transactions? I've never heard of that before.

For us, we pay a $20/month for unlimited transactions. We found even though we tried not to, we kept going over and ended up paying close to $30! With the higher priced package we do get some perks though, our choice of free cheques; no overdraft fee (just interest); free stop payments; plus a few more.

We pay all of our bills online - including our *extras* like magazine subscriptions.
I like it b/c we pay our bill in one nite. No running around, mailing cheques, etc. Its sooo much easier for us.

If your bank doesnt offer something like that, maybe look at another bank?

Regarding your dh bank card, what about asking him to take cash with him and leave the card at home? Or keep the card, but only use cash?
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#3 of 14 Old 01-31-2006, 11:15 PM
 
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I've posted this elsewhere but we have a very simple system.

Money earned in one month (like January) is designated for the next month (February). We save all the checks and deposit them around the 25th of the month.

One portion is left in that checking to cover 1) automatic deduction for charity 2) monthly bills for rent, water, electric, and phone/internet.

One portion comes out as cash the day of the deposit. This is for groceries and general household needs (stamps, haircuts, water filter, etc) as well as the occasional McDonald's or pizza, money for gasoline, kid allowance, and school lunches.

The last portion goes into another checking for safe-keeping for non-monthly bills like car repairs, insurance, medical costs, clothing and holidays.

Anything left goes into savings.

All our accounts are free and we only have overdraft protection on the account my husband uses (but it's free to have unless he overdraws). We have no fees per check and I buy my checks from online discount printers.

I've banked at these three banks in the last 15 years and all had free checking: National Bank of Alaska, Washington Mutual, and Wells Fargo. I don't know what kind of banking options you have where you are though.

I had automatic bill pay through my bank recently and they said they were wiring the money. It was for our mortgage and it turned out they were mailing the payments (which took 2 weeks longer to arrive) and some months we were only paying $20 in principal and $300 in interest. But we didn't find out for 6 months. Other automatic bill paying systems have no fee at our bank but the companies have a fee. So we just pay our 4 monthly bills by check through the mail.

Because we pay cash for so many things, we don't have to worry about debit card mistakes in our accounting. It has made it much easier for us.
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#4 of 14 Old 01-31-2006, 11:24 PM
 
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We divide our bills in to "1st of the month bills" and "mid-month" bills. DH gets paid twice a month and I send out all of those bills at that time. Tonight, for example, I'll send out all the 1st of the month (due between the 8th and around the 18th) bills. Our checking and savings accounts are free with our credit union and online bill pay is free as long as we use it to pay more than 4 bills a month, which isn't a problem. The only things I write checks out for are the rent (I want the receipt) and random bills that come in, like our homeowner's dues that I'm getting ready to pay.

We've found this system works best for us because our bills are paid and entered into Quicken right away and we know how much money we have left until next payday.

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#5 of 14 Old 02-01-2006, 12:40 PM
 
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We're moving to an all-cash envelope system, except for bills, which we pay online on the creditors' (not our bank's) website, or through the mail. I am hoping this will increase our consciousness re: where the money is and where it goes.
However, I think that unless you are moving to all-cash, you should definitely find a new bank. What is this, all of those limitations and fees? My bank lets me have free checking, with direct deposit. (I think other banks offer really free checking) That includes unlimited debit and check usage (though I pay for the checks themselves). I do not think our checking account has overdraft, and there might be an extra charge for that. Instead of a savings account, I keep money hidden in my checking account. I realize this doesn't earn me interest, but it's what works best until we get to saving more.
Anyway, just reading your description of your bank's rules confuses me. There has to be a way to simplify it!
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#6 of 14 Old 02-01-2006, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies. Regarding DH's bank card I think i'll just ask him to leave it in the cash bowl instead of keeping it with him all the time, then i'll know when it's gone and we'll have it around when we need it. DH is really good about using cash, just sometimes he wants to go out and get something and doesn't bring the cash with him and uses the card instead, keeping it at home with the cash would atleast then tell me that he has it.

About the banking fees:
Quote:
Value Account
Ideal if you prefer self serve banking but don't do many transactions.
* 10 self serve transactions/mo.
* 4 full serve transactions/mo.
* $3.95 monthly fee, waived with min. $1,000 balance1

Self Serve Account
If you have an active account, pay bills by phone and use the Web and automated banking machine (ABM), this account is for you.
* 20 self serve transactions/mo.
* $6.95 monthly fee, waived with min. $1,500 balance1

Full Serve Account
If you like personal service - in-branch and operator assisted telephone service - this is your account.
* 25 self serve or full serve transactions/mo.
* $9.95 monthly fee, waived with min. $2,000 balance 1

Infinity Account
Unlimited self serve transactions can mean big savings for very active accounts.
* unlimited self serve transactions
* $12.95 monthly fee, waived with min. $3,000 balance1
Full serve transactions are when you go INTO the bank and talk to a teller, do your banking at the counter, self serve are anything else, direct deposit/withdrawal, debit card usage, online payments etc. I want to keep our banking fees under $10 a month, so the self serve account is out of the question because I go into the bank atleast 4 times a month which is 1.50 i believe each time if not covered by your account. The full serve account may be better for us if we continue to use the bank card because it covers the transactions we would do (more than covers them) but the fee for that is my $10 and then i'd have our overdraft fee of $2 on top of that.. like i mentioned i'd like to stay under $10, and the minimum balance is twice as much for the fees to be waived.

I also did a bit more research on our savings account and it seems like quite a rip off at this point so my plan with the bank accounts is to either..

a) Close our savings account all together and move the balance to the chequing account which would waive the chequing account fees but also make it pretty darn confusing when figuring out how much is savings versus our payments etc and might make DH think he can use his bank card whenever.

b) continue to use the chequing account as is, attempting to keep under our 10 transaction by keeping an eye on DH. But switch the savings account to a chequing account so that the fees are waived and we don't have to worry about going over the transaction limit on it (because we won't be using it, it'll just be holdings)

any opinions on which would be easier? we use cash for all spending money, we only leave $$ in accounts as savings or for direct withdrawal payments.
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#7 of 14 Old 02-01-2006, 01:28 PM
 
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IMO you solution is very very simple.

You would like the fees to be under $10/month but hon, in reality that is not happening. You are paying $14/month for fees, over double what your plan is.

Since the unlimited account is $12.95/month why not save $1each month and go with that. It doesn't mean you can't keep doing your same system of paying with cash but this way you'd be saving a little on the fees. this also eliminates the stress on figuring out how many of each transaction you have done.

You could also go with the $10 plan which would keep you at your $10 but give you an additional 11 transactions which can be self or full.

Why are you paying your rent with a money order? It costs money to get a money order. You could save yourself the transaction by going to the post office and getting it.

We do all of our banking online except I take the mortgage pmt to the TD and go to the Credit Union(our main bank) to pay my student loan.
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#8 of 14 Old 02-01-2006, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Money orders at the bank cost maybe $1 less here, and with the infinity account which my DH had on his account before we got married we ended up paying about $20 a month because it doesn't include ANY full serve transactions whatsoever, so i'd be paying almost $2 every time I went into the bank... which is every week.
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#9 of 14 Old 02-01-2006, 04:16 PM
 
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I say sign up for the self serve and use online banking. Have your EI direct deposited, (its free and easy to set up). Can you pay rent by cheque? I think cheques would be cheaper in the long run....

We never do any banking at the actual bank, its saved us alot of time.

What bank are you using? (if you dont mind me asking )
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#10 of 14 Old 02-01-2006, 08:58 PM
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I think you need another bank. I've never paid a fee for a checking account....

Dar

 
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#11 of 14 Old 02-01-2006, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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EI is direct deposit, my CCTB is in cheque form which i will switch over as soon as this little one is added to it so that will make things easier.

I bank with TD.. now that i've read here and talked to my parents I'm very much thinking of switching banks and either going back to Scotia or looking into something like PC financial or another service like that that don't actually have branches. TD really seems like a rip off, It would just be convincing DH to make the switch, he's pretty set in his ways when it comes to the people he likes to deal with.
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#12 of 14 Old 02-01-2006, 10:15 PM
 
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Oh! TD is evil.....my mom used to use them. Charged her for every little thing!

I've been very happy with RBC.
I'll be right back...
laura
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#13 of 14 Old 02-01-2006, 10:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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LOL about RBC my banking choices were always to do with location to where I was, becuase before DH i never had a vehicle I used to bank with Scotia because it was closest to where i lived, i switched with DH to TD because that is where his accounts were, RBC is about the furthest bank away from us lol... I really am interested in PC financial though or something like that, i'm getting tired of TD trying to throw credit cards on us.. I really need to find something different I guess and if we switch to another bank I'm going to be making a clean cut.. EVERYTHING will go there and hopefully it will be somewhere we'll eventually be able to get a mortgage through as well (in the 5 year plan)
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#14 of 14 Old 02-01-2006, 10:49 PM
 
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muskokan, you're right, location is probably why I'm with rbc. When I was a teenager working at mcD's, I wanted to cash my cheque RIGHT AWAY and lo and behold, there was the rbc across the street. Even though I did have an acct at cibc that my parents opened up for me......but it was 5 blocks away.

I have everything thru rbc, credit, loan, mortgage, - it really puts you in a good position. I cant count the number of times I've had fees waived (ones that, I admit, were my fault ) once I said, "dont you realize how long I've been a customer? Do I need to take ALL my business elsewhere?" Not to mention the sweet mortgage deals.....

I'd also recommend looking online at all the different banks, etc banking packages. Shop around, find one thats best for you.
Heres rbc for you to start:
http://www.rbcroyalbank.com/RBC:Q@Fg...its/index.html
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