Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Avoid overdrafts at all costs.

A recent Forbes article cited that in 2012, consumers in the United States paid $32 billion in overdraft fees.

If you didn't grasp that number, it's this: $32,000,000,000.00

A hell of a lot of zeros.

Avoid overdraft fees at all cost.  Trust me, I've been there got the T-shirt.  At one time, years ago, we were so overdrawn in our checking account that when it came time for payday, we ended up being less than thirty bucks in the black.  Luckily, I had a part-time job that was going to be paid the next day, but it was still very unsettling.

Overdrafts are like quicksand.  It's like a hole you can't quite seem to get out of without doing something drastic.

What did we do?  My wife and I sat down at wrote out a detailed budget.  We even quit paying on some of our bills so we could at least stay afloat.  Our three kids needed to eat and we needed gas in the car.  We cut what we could.  We've always been an advocate for eating at home, so we just bought more on sale and only what we needed.

We also quit using the checkbook for a time.  We literally put it in the freezer, and only took it out what we got it under control.

Then, we worked hard not to get back in that situation again.

What tricks have you done to keep yourself out of overdrafts?