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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got off the phone with my old bank, and it turns out we owe $70 in nsf fees for two checks/pmts that bounced. Now, I know, this is MY fault for improper accounting. I am a grownup and should be more careful balancing my checkbook. We moved cross country with a little baby and mama's accounting got a little neglected. That said,

I am so sick of...

depositing checks that take 10 business days to 'clear', when the checks I write hit my account right away

my husband being able to make withdrawals at atm's (forgetting to tell me) or using debit card (and having these transactions approved for some reason, even when our account lacks the funds, hmmm... my Dad who works at a bank says they make so much money off penalties like this), and then being hit with huge fees

'automatic bill pay' systems set up by utilities that are extremely complicated (perhaps deliberately, any errors we have found have been in their favor) to keep track of and monitor

paying via check, only to have it cashed many many months later

limits to how much of our money we can withdraw at one time -- it's our money!

So my solution to all this is to go BACK TO CASH. Remember cash? My husband will get paid, we will CASH the entire check, and pay bills either in person with CASH (so we KNOW we have the money), or a money order (which isn't free, but will be worth it for the peace of mind). We will set up an envelope system at home so we can better track what money we ACTUALLY have.

Anyone considering the same or similar? Checking has just gotten way to complicated!
 

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I just added overdraft protection to my account because we got hit with 2 NSF's which I didn't quite understand because I am very careful with my planning and there was more than enough money.

But those sneaky banks and the order in which they post transactions...that will get ya.

I kind of tried the cash only thing once but we didn't get very far.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Rosebud1 View Post
....or using debit card (and having these transactions approved for some reason, even when our account lacks the funds, hmmm... my Dad who works at a bank says they make so much money off penalties like this
Yes! This really ticks me off! If the money's not there, the transaction shouldn't be completed. Plain and simple.

I use cash for a lot of stuff, because I work for tips and get paid in cash. But I also use Billpay for most of my bills, so I deposit a lot of my cash, too. So, rent, loans, utilities, etc. come out of checking, but I usually pay for groceries and other various things with cash.
 

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Don't even get me started on this subject. US bank nailed us for $350. The original transaction that overdrew it was less than $1. Then they deducted fees so MORE stuff bounced, even though we made a depsosit. It was a nightmare. I am still sick about it and this was 4 years ago.

We have done cash only and it can be a real pain in the arse at times, but it can be totally worth it.

Getting your check cashed seems to be the biggest PITA. One solution that we looked into but never tried is a pre-paid visa that your paycheck get's 'Directed deposited' on. There are not nearly as many fees involved as regular check cashing places. You can use your debit card anywhere, but there may be daily spending limits so I would look out for that!
IME most banks will not cash a large check for you unless you have an account with them, even if the check is drawn on their bank. I don't know how they get away with this, but they do.

Another thing to consider is things like online purchasing, renting a car etc.
Those things wont matter if you have a Credit Card, but good luck renting a car with no Bank Account OR Credit Card. We ran into lots of unexpected issues because of that.

Do you have 'Rapid Cash' check cashing in your area? Because 'Rapid Cash' gives free money orders to their customers. All you have to do is cash a check with them ONE TIME, and you can go in whenever you want and get free money orders. Even if you don't have a Rapid Cash there may be another place in your area that has a similar offer.

We are with a credit union now. The other day I tried to put something on the debit card and it got delcined. Turns out I would have overdrawn the account by a dollar or two. I was so greatful that they declined the puchase! Banks use the excuse that they are doing this 'for the convenience of the customer' because it's a PITA getting your card declined

Whatever. If this is for MY benefit then give me the Frickin' OPTION to overdraw my account. There should be a warning that comes up.
'This Transaction will overdraw your account. Would you like to proceed?' would cover it. GRRRRRR I am so sorry this happened to you

I would rather lose money at the store or something. At least then I can convince myself that a person who really needed it found it.
 

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You could always just open an account with a good credit union, get direct deposit and just go to the bank every payday and withdraw the entire amount. Then pay your bills with money orders. Then you would have a bank account for when you need it but would be at no risk of overdrawing your account.
 

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Originally Posted by HisBeautifulWife View Post
I just added overdraft protection to my account.
Just be careful and read the fine print. We have overdraft protection, too, and I started to rely on it a bit too much. Apparently, we can only use it about 4-5 times a month for free, and then a small fee is charged, to transfer money from our savings to our checking.
 

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We got bit for $950 (yes, just in fees) once, during a move. We had no money but had to move, so out came the checkbook. My bank refunded half after I brought the account current (in 2 weeks) but it was still painful. The biggest thing that has saved my butt is Microsoft Money and having DH call each and every time he needs to use the card. I haven't overdrafted in years, every night I sit down with Money and balance the account. I would waste so much money if I had cash in my pocket (envelope, whatever), and have no clue where it went. Just my 2 pennies.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by dubfam View Post
You could always just open an account with a good credit union, get direct deposit and just go to the bank every payday and withdraw the entire amount. Then pay your bills with money orders. Then you would have a bank account for when you need it but would be at no risk of overdrawing your account.
This is a good idea! USbank drives me nuts too!
 

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Quote:
So my solution to all this is to BACK TO CASH. Remember cash? My husband will get paid, we will CASH the entire check, and pay bills either in person with CASH (so we KNOW we have the money), or a money order (which isn't free, but will be worth it for the peace of mind). We will set up an envelope system at home so we can better track what money we ACTUALLY have.
I've worked in the banking industry for 12 years, so I hope you won't mind me putting my $0.02 in!

Two things to consider about this:

1- You may have to pay a fee to cash his check if you go to the bank it is drawn on or a check cashing place, and your own bank may not cash it for you if don't have an amount equal to the check already in your account.

2 - If money orders you've purchased are lost, either by you or the person/company you give it to, it can be very difficult to get reimbursement. This is because most money orders aren't actually drawn on the institution from which you've purchased it. If you go back to the place you bought it and request assistance, they will generally just give you an 800 number to call and wish you luck. I had to help clients through this headache numerous times, and it is not fun.

I second the suggestion of switching to a credit union and setting up direct deposit. Then you can withdraw the cash and purchase bank checks (aka teller checks). They are similar to money orders but are drawn on the credit union itself, not a third party as most money orders are, and therefore are easier to handle if they are lost.

HTH!
 

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Originally Posted by e(Lisa)beth View Post
<respectfully snipped for space>
2 - If money orders you've purchased are lost, either by you or the person/company you give it to, it can be very difficult to get reimbursement, This is because most money orders aren't actually drawn on the institution from which you've purchased it. If you go back to the place you bought it and request assistance, they will generally just give you an 800 number to call and wish you luck. I had to help clients through this headache numerous times, and it is not fun.

I second the suggestion of switching to a credit union and setting up direct deposit. Then you can withdraw the cash and purchase bank checks (aka teller checks). They are similar to money orders but are drawn on the credit union itself, not a third party as most money orders are, and therefore are easier to handle if they are lost.

HTH!
The other thing to consider about money orders is that if they DO get lost many times only a percentage of your money will be given back to you depending on where you purchased it. I once mailed a Money Order for my rent. Somehow it took 6 weeks to get to my landlord. We were starting to get really nervous!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
These are all good suggestions.

We already bank at a credit union. My husband is self-employed, so direct deposit is not an option. Our credit union won't cash a check from his clients unless we have enough in our account to cover it, so we will have to keep some money in checking so he can do that instant cashing of checks.

We have found in our area that banks WILL cash checks from their bank, even if we don't have an account there.

I am not giving up a checking account 100%. I will just be using it dramatically less.

Sneaky fees, etc. I'm over it! : )

Cash is king!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Rosebud1 View Post
So my solution to all this is to BACK TO CASH. Remember cash? My husband will get paid, we will CASH the entire check, and pay bills either in person with CASH (so we KNOW we have the money), or a money order (which isn't free, but will be worth it for the peace of mind). We will set up an envelope system at home so we can better track what money we ACTUALLY have.

Anyone considering the same or similar? Checking has just gotten way to complicated!

This doesn't sound like a good solution to the problem, only to the symptom.

I suggest doing the envelope system definitely, but not exclusively. What about finding a bank/CU that works with you more and offers free bill pay? We have ours set up so that each month we set up a 'one-time' payment after looking at the bill - this way, we control exactly what's going out. We have around 5 debits a paycheck and then we stop using our account:
1 for gas
1 or 2 for bill pay
1 to take out cash for groceries, spending money, and allowance
1 to take out cash for utilities (different currency)

and then whatever goes into savings - Christmas fund, school fund, car fund...

It sounds like a good ol' fashioned sit down with the budget and shopping for a new institution might be more in your favor than giving up checking completely.
 
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