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HELP Overdraft Fees! | The secret to never paying another overdraft fee for the rest of your life!

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What if you are a chronic over-drafter, and you can't make heads or tails of your account, and you just want to "Keep It Simple Stupid"?


  • Some people can separate and compartmentalize their finances easily.
  • Some have no idea what they pay each month. 
  • Others are 6 months behind before they know how late they really are (this one would be me...). 


You don’t have to be a strict budgeter but you do have to have guidelines and principles you live by.

If you are behind, or you feel lost in financial windfall, don’t worry you are not alone.

Many people who have long degrees after their name get lost when dealing with money.

It’s among the most important practical skills most people could learn, but many don’t know where to start. We will examine a few things you can try if you are buried and don’t know how to get out.

Nothing comes fast and easy, but with some good information and willingness to try new things you can start your journey to a better place, one step at a time.

~Time for a Do Over~

            
If you find your life in chaos and you can’t tell where your money is or is not going then you may want to start by starting over.

Calling it a do over is just fine.

In fact, if you have an account that is often overdrawn, you may even want to consider closing it and starting a new account number so that you can start your new register skills at square one.

In addition, if there were automatic payments causing the overdrafts they will cease because that account is closed and they will not have your new account number. Don’t give it to them either. Pay them in cash, with online bill pay, or money orders. 

If you deal often with overdrafts you should not give your card or account number to any merchants for payments, even one-time payments.

Often they will start drafting automatically again once they have your new information, even if you told them not to. Don’t put yourself in that situation. If they demand auto pay, set up a new account number separately just for auto pays and another for your main bills and spending.

~The Cash Method (Dave's Envelope System)~


The easiest budget is to take out cash, envelopes, and an inexpensive notebook.

On each envelope write a category (gas, rent, groceries, bills, etc…). You can even keep a separate envelope for each bill.

For each envelope you will have a separate notebook or section of a notebook. 

Some people even write their balances straight on the envelope and subtract as they go right on the envelope itself.

Whatever works for you is the best way. 

Try it different ways until you find what works.

Tag each notebook section or envelope with a separate label and write on the first page the name of the category and balance (amount in envelope). 

In this example you will see “Bills” on the envelope. 






The deductions are taken each day. 

This person turned those cash deductions either into money orders, or made payments at local stores. In many cases you can pay an electric bill at the local grocery store customer service desk, or other partner business. 

Each time you make a withdrawal from the envelope you write down the date and amount and reason.

As you get comfortable with this cash method you can eventually combine the envelopes of various categories into one envelope. Then have one notebook for your cash. Then mark in that notebook the date, money, and category and in the separate category notebook you write the date, money, reason (specific).

This whole process isn’t necessary forever, only until you have a firm, comfortable, grasp on where your money is going and you are disciplined to spend the right amount at the right places.
            
You should plan your monthly budget out to include everything from bills to fun.

If you don't plan in the fun, you will do it anyway. 

You must plan fun or you will binge-spend causing more money to go to that than you would want which would take away from the money that should go to other things.

~Bill Pay and Money Orders~

            
Once you really get this down your ready to put all that money into an account.

Start with money orders or Bill Pay and don’t use an ATM/Check Card until you’re thoroughly sure that you are ready.
           
Piece by piece you add services the bank offers.

Stay away from credit cards unless and until you can honestly call yourself disciplined to pay them in full each month.

Once you're sure you can use a credit card to your advantage, you could pay everything with the credit card and get one with a great rewards program.

Make sure to pay it off in full every month never carry a balance on a credit card.

They may offer amazing deals with 0% APR for 6 months. But what you don’t know is that if the card isn’t paid off within 6 months many companies will back date that interest to day one.

Think of credit cards as a convenience tool, like a check or debit card. You don’t use a credit card unless you have the money to pay it off. Credit cards can be useful because errors caused by merchants or fraud through use of the card won’t affect your cash balances in your checking account directly, where as they will if you had used your debit card. Think of your debit card and credit cards as the same or similar tools.

~The Multiple Account Method~            

I prefer having separate accounts for separate purposes.

Much like an electronic version of the envelopes.


  • I have one account for just bills. 
  • Another for spending money. 
  • Another for tithe and offering. 
  • Another budgeted for the kids. 
  • You could also use one for business purposes, budgeting play money, gas money, or hobby money... you get the idea.

Any time you need to allocate funds for a special purpose a separate account could be useful, as long as you keep track of what is what.

I have my direct deposit split into each account automatically. Tithe then is as simple as going online and sending that payment from that account twice a month. 

I have a little extra put in there to save for special offerings or things God may want me to do for Him; such as buying someone a hamburger or a new car.

I know my money is His, so I plan for Him to ask me for its use to further His kingdom.

~The Computer Method~


Quicken is among the most popular budgeting programs available. I strongly recommend using a computer based program to act as your electronic register. It helps ensure you are not making mathematical errors in the record keeping process. If all you have is pen, paper, and calculator you may forget where you left off, or hit the wrong button. If you miss tally the total and don’t see it, you risk overdraft. 

This will help you gain better control and efficiency over your finances.

Microsoft Office Excel is the least expensive way to keep a balance on the computer.

If you can’t afford Microsoft Office on your computer do a Google search for “Open Office”. Download that and use their “Calc” program, it is their version of Excel. It is a free open source program that does most of the basic things Microsoft Office does. Google Spreadsheets is free now too.

OpenOffice also has within their Office Suite a free version of PowerPoint, Word, and other programs. It’s not pretty, it doesn’t do everything, and you’ll still wish you had Microsoft Office, but it gets the job done in this case if you don’t have Microsoft Office or choose not to spend your money on it at this time.

~Using Excel~


Just start columns for each thing you need to track. 

Typically you only need: 
  • Date, 
  • Transaction, 
  • Amount, 
  • Balance, 
  • and Total.  
To add it all up at the top of the column over the dollar figure just use the sum formula[1]. The letter shows the vertical column and the number shows the horizontal row of the cell you are talking about.

To see a running balance along the side after each transaction just add the cell above to the cell new cell. In this example cell “D6” is 100 plus cell “C7” which is -850.

You must use the negative in front of all subtractions to make this method work. It is among the simpler ways to format your sheet.

Excel Examples







~Co-Accounting~

           
If you are married, or otherwise responsible for the bills and income of more than one equally involved person, communication is key. You must find a way to keep the lines of communication open and this way all parties involved are aware of the state of the accounts.

Almost without exception one person is a natural saver the other is a natural spender. If one person does all the banking there is bound to be tension. 

The banker of the family is likely to feel all the pressure of the bills and the rest of the family will go on oblivious to the situation and pressure the banker to lighten up because they want to spend the bill money on fun and food. If the banker of the family were to become in any way unable to participate, even if they are organized, the other person will be lost when bills are due.

Although we’re still working on improving, my wife and I came up with a few ideas that have helped over the years. 

One of the best, since she is better organized and we are both busy, is that she gives the bills to me with instructions on who to pay and how much. 

Then can I pay them with our online Bill Pay service. 

This way we both know what bills we’re paying and the best part is that it opens the door of communication about finances. (I've done a horrible job at working with her on this, but when we do it, it works).




[1] Example of sum formula “=SUM(C6:C13)” and “=D6+C7”





The Insider

The Insider is a BIG fan of Dave Ramsey:

  • Go read/listen/watch Dave Ramsey and he'll teach you how to do it right!
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Hi! My name is Darrell G. Wolfe. I am a wealth of random information and I make complicated things simple at DarrellWolfe.com.

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