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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Clearly, because I spend money that isn't really there.


But why can't I manage to NOT do it? It's DH too, only not really, b/c he doesn't have a debit card. Just me. But he says, "Let's go eat, let's buy this" and I assume that he knows whether we have the money or not, even though I suspect it's not there. (Is it a lack of empowerment thing then? never thought of that before)Then, 5 or 6 transactions hit all at once and we realize that we did it again. We can't keep living this way.We have 2 kids now, and we have no savings, no retirement, no investments. Just some cash in a can on the dresser and the all in-all out monthly revolving door.

And I just charged my first thing ever in my life... for a Disney vacation.
I had no choice, we had committed and didn't have the cash when it came due. So congratulations me, I now am the proud owner of CC debt.
:

Things sound worse than they are, but the no savings thing is so scary. At least we have health insurance and DH has a good stable job, and I am able to stay home with the kids. But this has to stop. I can't live like this anymore. I need stability.

rantalicious! Thanks for reading.
 

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I check our banking online regularly. It's a real wakeup call when you see every little charge right there in black and white. Sometimes when I go to the store and I come back and check our account the transaction is already showing as pending! Hard to be in denial, unlike when you write checks, which we rarely do anymore. We do almost everything debit card or online paying.
 

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I would suggest going to a cash based system for now while you get your spending in line with your income. Pay everything you can with cash. Anything you have to write a check for or debit needs to be logged into your checkbook register as you spend it. Keep an eye on the balance. When you keep a ledger, you are aware of the transactions as they happen and what effect it has on the balance. Most everything you are debiting now can be paid with cash.

Good luck!
 

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And find out your bank policies so you know "how" they do their thing. For a while we were getting a lot of over draft fees and didn't know why (since the numbers were close but we should have had enough to cover things). We found that our bank ran the debits first and then the deposits. So even though we mght have a hundred dollars in the account we'd still get a 25 dollar overdraft fee... or multiple fees on the same debit. It was ridiculous! We switched banks but when money is tight it pays to know the exact plicy, and get it in writing (our old bank had two different policies, both in print but in different places)
 

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Ditch the card, go to cash & checks only. It's so easy to swipe the card and be done with it, money or no! Getting rid of the card gets rid of the temptation. Trust me, I lived without a card for many years because I wasn't grown up enough to handle it. And if you need cash, you can write a check to cash or myself only to get cash for gas or something. I do it all the time.

Plus, I LOVE online banking! You can look every day, several times if needed, to see what is going in and what is coming out.

Oh, and little thing that helped us, STOP EATING OUT SO MUCH! We were eating out several times a week, at a cost of probably around $100 a week. So much cheaper and easier to eat at home, plus it's healthier too!

Good luck, momma! As GI Joe would say, "knowing is half the battle!" Recognize the problem, assess, and repair. Gotta love cartoon advice!
 

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Things that have helped me with that problem:

1. On-line banking
2. overdraft protection
3. getting rid of the debit card (just using checks or cash) *optional
4. MAKING YOURSELF balance your account everyday
 

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My sister used to do this! UGH! We have never used the debit card just b/c it seems so easy to overdraft compared w/ writing checks. If you really want to get the problem in check, stop using the debit card and start using cash. You will actually SEE it dwindle to nothing, and when you get to that last $100 or so, it will really make you think before you spend it. Good Luck, I am sure you can do it, and it will save you lots in fees!
 

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I'm not sure just using checks instead of credit cards would be drastic enough to cure you of this. I think you should you the cash in envelopes system for a while, at least.

then you have a certain amount for groceries set aside in advance, plus a gas $ envelope, include a small amount of "mad money" for both you and your partner that you can each spend however you wish.

You can even start saving this way - it's very visual so it helps. Just start building an emergency fund, for instance, by setting aside $75 or $100 every month in a labeled envelope. You have to be disciplined though about not borrowing from that envelope. When you have $600, open an account with that money.
 

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You first need to work out a budget for how much you can spend each month based on your income.

Then you have to stick to it (that's the hard part!). As other's have suggested, using cash only is a big help, cause when your eating out budget for the next two weeks is gone, it's gone! No more eating out.

If it's too scary to think about cutting up the debit and credit card, then "freeze" it. Get a ziploc, fill with water, insert card, seal and bury way back in the freezer. You can get to it if you HAVE to have it, but it's a PIA to get and thaw out for a ice cream run, yk?

~Julia
 

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Not necessarily in any order

1. Get access to what is in your bank account. You NEED to know. Internet banking is the easiest way to do this.

2. learn to say NO to dh. If you don't know how much $ is in the account & you think you don't have enough then say NO.

3. Use a cash/cheque/interac card system whatever works for you. For us we're fine with our interac cards, we don't OD ever but we have the internet banking so I can tell exactly how much we have in the account.

4. OD protection will save you from getting hit with huge fees. There is usually interest added on, but is alot lower than what the fees are.

5. make up a budget TOGETHER! If you hit your limit on your budget then you find a way to make due until the next budget starts.

6. start a savings account through ING or your bank with the ability to transfer money from your bank account to it online. Put in as much or as little as you can. Even if it is only $5 this check that is still $5 more than you had in savings last check.
 

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What always kept me from accidental overdrafting is I used to take a set amount of money (say $100-$500) and put it in my checking account and forget it was there. I would not figure it in my register balance when I balanced my checkbook. I just ignored it and pretended it was not there. I would deduct it from the statement I got every month to see if my records matched.

It is really nice to have that cushion that you know you can't touch.

Years of doing that really trained me. I have a checking account now with a minimum balance you need to maintain in order to avoid fees, so I just know to never go close to that number.
 

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that sometimes happened to me. not all the time. once in a long while i get an overdrawn and i hated it!

to keep that from occuring again, we use the envelope system. we no longer use credit cards or checks to buy anything. i don't even carry them with me.

i have a set amount to use each month and when that's gone, i do not dip. looking at what's left in your wallet and how many remaining days til the next month really helps me to not spend on things i do not have to have.

and when i pay bills i deduct it from our money program. this has really really help us.

good luck and i hope you find a way that works for you.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jadzia View Post
What always kept me from accidental overdrafting is I used to take a set amount of money (say $100-$500) and put it in my checking account and forget it was there. I would not figure it in my register balance when I balanced my checkbook. I just ignored it and pretended it was not there. I would deduct it from the statement I got every month to see if my records matched.

It is really nice to have that cushion that you know you can't touch.

Years of doing that really trained me. I have a checking account now with a minimum balance you need to maintain in order to avoid fees, so I just know to never go close to that number.
:
 

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I keep cash for our spending. Groceries, gas, and any misc. I keep the amount in cash. The bills are all paid online with the debit card but I know when I need to pay them and the money is deposited before hand. The checkbook stays locked in the lockbox with the debit card and the credit card that we have for emergencies. The only thing I carry is cash. You can't spend it if you don't have it that way.

I also figure our bills on a monthly system. I take the last chk of the previous mo. to cover all our spending money for the month (groceries, gas, etc) and whats left goes to bills. The 1st check goes completely for bills and the 2nd check goes to whats left of bills and the rest goes to savings. This way the bill money is deposited at least 2wks before its due and the monthly spending money is set aside before the month actually starts. The 3rd check we get to save completely (or use for extras: i.e. the month the car tag is due, the property taxes, etc.) It works for me and this way I'm always ahead of the bills and money. If there is an emergency or unexpected expense I have the extra to pay it. No debit card or check use saves having overdraft possibilities.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mtm View Post
If you don't have savings and can't pay cash, you can't afford disney. If there's any possible way, you should cancel the trip.
: definitely! DH and I've never been on vacation. We're working on our emergency fund instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks everyone - I was so suprised to see so many responses! Very helpful.

Re: Disney, unfortunately we are sharing the trip with my DSS and his mom and her bf, so we can't back out. We are splitting villa rental (that was what I had to charge). But now we are driving instead of flying and since said villa has a kitchen, we can save on food there. What's really going to suck is coming back and having Hannukah the next week. I don't even want to give anyone but my kids presents this year. Sigh.

I think I will try the cash and check system. My prob with cash is that after I've spent it, I have no record of where it went! I guess I should write it down, huh.
 

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Maybe Disney needs to be the big Hannukah gift this year. Make each of the kids a small album with pictures, postcards, ticket stubs, Disney maps, and other mementos of the trip.
 

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I'm going to give it to you bluntly, because I feel we all (myself included) at times need a little blunt talking. I know I sure needed it in the past when I had overdraft problems.

#1: Stop spending so much. No, really. Sounds simple, but do you think about every time you go to Target and get an impulse buy or get "just this" or "just that" for $3? It adds up.

#2: Check online banking regularly. You have no reason not to know your finances.

#3: Cut up that credit card. Do not buy things that you can't afford.
 

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1) Cancel Disney. The other people can get a smaller hotel room, it needn't be a villa. If you got run over by a bus they wouldn't expect you to still make this trip. Being in financial straits because of a bus accident or because of some other reason is the same bottom line -- you can't afford it at this time.

2) Call your bank and make sure your check card can't pull out more than what is in your account. DH was chronically overdrawing on his debit card until I shut his "visa part" down and once he zeroed out, the card quit working until there was money in there again.

3) Even if you aren't writing checks, keep a check register listing your debit card purchases. What you don't measure, you cannot control.

4) Get online banking access to your stuff, and make it a habit to check often.

5) Split thing sup if need be. I split us up as 3 checkgin accounts. My allowance, his allowance, and the house money. Only house-y things went through house account. Anything foo foo or fun had to be from allowances and if allowances couldn't cover it, we didn't do it.

HTH!
A.
 
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