Personal Finance

Easily Avoid NSF Charges from Ruining Your Day

By August 14, 2017 No Comments

Ok, I fucked up!

I hate to admit this, but I woke up, checked my bank balance from my bed, and saw I had been charged a $36.00 NSF fee. Uggghhhh, this messed up my morning *insert sad face*

If you don’t know what NSF means, it’s Non-Sufficient Funds. And I was charged this fee because of a dang cup of coffee. Well, not really, but let me explain what happened…

I have a separate bank account I use to pay my personal credit card bills and to use for my discretionary spending, you know, stuff like getting my nails done or refilling my Starbucks account. I also use this account to pay for some of my annual subscriptions to apps, like FitStar (which was the root of this problem) and FocusAtWill.

I never leave a ton of extra money in this account.  I literally transfer enough to pay the bills and maybe leave less than $10 left over.

So, I go check the balance the other day, and I see this month I had an extra $30 in the account *insert dancing for joy*, so I figured I would just add $10 to my Starbucks account, since I’ve been hitting those mocha Frappuccino’s a little too hard, and my balance wouldn’t get me a free cup of water.

Well, because this account has little activity, I rarely check it daily and guess what happened??? My annual renewal for FitStar hit the account, causing it to go negative by -$14.09, AND because I checked the account a day late, I missed the opportunity to transfer money into the account to get it out of the red and got hit with that nasty NSF fee.

Now, you may feel that $36 isn’t a whole lot of money, but let me break it down to you how I could’ve used that money a little better:

  • A movie date for my husband and me
  • 3 chipotle chicken avocado melts from Panera Bread with a chocolate chipper cookie (don’t judge me; I only get this cookie maybe once a month)
  • A relaxing mani and pedi
  • A haircut and eyebrow shaping (you know my barber keeps my shape-up fresh)
  • My Ren Milk Cleaner facewash
  • A new Passion Planner
  • A whole tv series on FandangoNow (I cut the cable over a year ago, and I’m looking to catch up on the show Queen Sugar)
  • Rachel Ray ZeroGrain dog food for my fur baby Ryder
  • A new case for my iPhone
  • A massage off Groupon

Anyway, you get my drift. I could’ve used that money for something more entertaining, instead of giving it away to the bank!

So, this made me realize I have been slacking on tracking my household bills. Before I purchased my house in 2005, I used to track every dollar and cent because I had a goal of buying a house. Once I got the house, I let that process go, and now, I realize I need to get back on it, especially since I want to be debt free in 10 years (this includes my mortgage).

Back then, when I was dreaming of home ownership, I was a single mom and every financial responsibility fell on my shoulders. But now that I’m married, I’ve been lax because my hubby contributes to the financial pot, which removes some of my financial burden.

Even still, this is NO EXCUSE not to keep track of all my bills.

Here is how I’ve decided to fix my problem, so I’m not hit with a NSF charge ever again (well, at least not soon), using some of the technology I use every day.

I set up a new calendar in Google Calendar, called Household Bills. I went through my bank statement and added a new event for each bill payment with a recurring due date (depending on how often the bill is due) and a reminder 5 days prior, so I can make sure the money is in my checking account in time.

I’ve made a generic version of the calendar public if you want to copy it and use it for your household.  Read the instructions provided below and then click the button to import into your calendar.

Had any boo-boo’s like this happen to you recently? What are you doing to fix it?  Tell me in the comments below.