Oh man, raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by overdraft fees. *raises hand with slight embarrassment* Trust me friend, you are not alone! I’m not going to say we’ve all been there… but I would say most people have, myself included.
Starting a new budget, making a financial plan, deciding to pay off debt. These are all decisions that can seem really daunting if they’re new and you’ve never given them a second thought. Kind of like waking up one day and deciding you’re going to train for a marathon but you aren’t quite sure if you can run a mile.
I totally get it!
I remember having my first real grown up job and jokingly explaining to a coworker how I had over $100 in overdraft fees that month. It wasn’t strange to me at all for this to happen. It was a normal occurrence for our accounts to be negative and I just assumed everyone else was in the same boat. The look of horror on my coworkers face told me that actually, not everyone was spending a fortune in bank fees each month.
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Back then our plan for money was… paycheck goes in the one and only checking account we had. Then I would pay all the bills and we would spend on groceries and may the best transaction win. I never had any idea if we even had enough to cover our spending. We never made it to a pay day with an extra penny in the account, literally never!
I was 24 years old and this was how I had rolled my entire adult life. This was the system I had seen growing up and this was how I understood finances to work. I aspired to one day make more money than I could spend and I figured that was when the overdraft fees would naturally resolve themselves.
I had been taught as a child that all adults had two accounts, a checking account and a savings account. I noticed some folks seemed to be a little better with their money than others and some of us were on the struggle bus. Either way I figured we were all approaching the problem from the same angle. I assumed everyone had this two account system and it wasn’t the system that didn’t work, it was me. I was bad at money.
Major announcement here, I was so wrong.
There are so many different ways to organize your money and none of them are wrong. However, not all of them are right for you.
Kind of like there so many ways to stay fit and not all of them are your cup of tea. They don’t ALL have to be a good fit, you just need to find one. And maybe that won’t be a good fit forever but it’s fine because you’re allowed to change your mind and try new things.
After my coworker was shocked and horrified by my bank fee revelation he shared his budget spreadsheet with me. My mind was blown. His method was so simple but so effective.
We ended up using this method for several years and pretty much never saw an overdraft fee again. I say pretty much because on occasion we can still get lazy and trip ourselves up, I call it my self sabotaging sub-conscious. It’s gone from a monthly norm to an occasional once yearly bummer/wake up call/reminder that we don’t live like that anymore.
This situation was pretty easily fixable and didn’t even require us to make more money. It was simply an organization problem.
So if you’re seeing the same issue spring up in your own accounts, reach out. Check the Start Here page or shoot me a message in the Contact section. Let’s get this fixed and fixed for good. You don’t need that kind of stress in your life!