Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Cha-ching!

I'm the kind of cat who never overdraws his checking account. I always have at least a grand unaccounted for that I leave as a rainy-day cushion, and usually more than that.

So when I found out today that I was majorly overdrawn and owing fees I thought "oh, shit. Some muthafucka done stole my identitad."

Nope. Turns out the mis-hap was the same-old same-old, namely The Mrs. We're a modern couple, with separate finances. Because she is notoriously unreliable with due-dates and bounces checks with an alarming regularity, I pay all of the bills except the mortgage. She has one (albeit a biggie) upon which she must focus, and gets a monthly reminder from me to boot. This is a fair and equitable and successful arrangement.

For the most part.

In July she needed me to pay the mortgage for whatever reason. I did so, gladly, by allowing her to use EZ Pay to zip them cash from my checking. No big deal. Then this week I noticed I had substantially less money than imagined in my account, and determined to figure out what was going on, but with no urgency since I had no outstanding checks. Then I received a spate of overdrafts and fees in the mail today and quickly realized what had happened. The Mrs. never switched the EZ-Pay back from my account to hers. I've been paying all the bills for three months, which quickly drained my reserves and resulted in a swath of red ink. Now I know why my ATM card wouldn't work to pay our lavish leisure fees in West Virginia and Manhattan. My account was drained behind my back! I hate that, because each time this happens and we bounce things my credit score drops 20 points, and it's not my fault.

Meanwhile, I'm sure Cha has been surprised by the surfeit in her checking, and has probably run through it buying moon pies and trinkets.

I need to start budgeting a thousand dollars a year for overdraft fees to cover for this sort of thing. I also need to consider taking over all the finances. I'd hate to be that kind of hubby; I insisted on separate accounts when we got hitched, after all, and insisted she NOT take my last name because I don't like to lord anything over my significant other, and would feel especially lousy doing so when she's been the majority bread-winner since 2000. I like maximizing the financial freedom of both partners within a loose framework of cooperation. But it's perhaps time to stop throwing late fees down the loo.

4 comments:

Flea said...

MAN! That sucks. I know my stomach drops when I see those negative balances.

And speaking as the partner who does do all the finances, I know that Jesse finds it a relief to not have to worry about it because he's bad at it and would screw us up. I keep him informed about all our major purchases and our savings balances. I've never told him he couldn't have something he really wanted.

Some people are just bad with money. I definitely don't think that if you're good with money, or at least wise about it, you're not automatically "that" spouse if you take over the finances. You're only "that" spouse if it becomes a tool for lording it over Cha, which is unfathomable.

geoff said...

Of course if I'd LOOKED at my bank statement in August instead of ASSUMING it was OK, this could have been avoided!

Nick said...

"I always have at least a grand unaccounted for..."

Cheeee! Rich bastard. Does your spouse read your blog--'cause you're mean!!

heh heh...

geoff said...

She reads from time-to-time. In fact she first started reading here because many friends teased her about this entry.