I’m not using my checking account.
Which kinda sucks. I mean, it means no direct deposit, no certainty of where the funds will be, no online billpay or automatic drafts. No writing checks and hoping they’ll float for a few days. Basically I’m going to have to live the way people lived 20 years ago.
I have been caught in the overdraft-fee trap, which I’ve discovered really is no better than the payday loan business. Banks rake in $19 billion a year in overdraft fees – and most of those fees come from debit card purchases.
Debit cards and online banking have contributed to the imbalancing of American checkbooks. Me personally? You get me to balance a checkbook and i’m good at it for like four days. Then it’s back to “oh, online banking will do all this for me.”
What a bunch of jack squizzle.
Now, I’m KEEPING my checking account – just not depositing any more funds into it. Meanwhile, plans are to head to the bank and fill out the necessary paperwork to remove overdraft protection from my bank account.
Know what this means? If some schlub decides to draft my account to pay the bill? Well, they’re just going to have to wait.
But while that’s all taken care of and I start rebuilding my checking account to a post-overdraft status, I’m going to use a prepaid Visa Card. The one I have is from Wal-Mart; you can get ’em anywhere, really.
The one I have is free to reload at Wal-Mart locations, but the best thing about it is that when the cash is gone from said account, it’s gone.
I’m seeing this as a way to teach myself how to spend only what I have and live within my means. And also a way to be able to say to my creditors, “I’m sorry, but you’re just going to have to wait for me to pay you.”
Most important bills are rent, utilities, phone and food. Some of those are negotiable.
Meanwhile, I will have to get paper checks at work, and I’m totally going to be trashy for a while and will have to pay for rent with money orders. But hey – it’s better than going online and seeing a giant negative red number in my bank account balance.
I think this is a move toward a more stress-free and manageable life. I’ll keep you posted.
Hm. Not buying stuff when I don’t have the money for it. FREAKIN GENIUS.