Somehow I’ve gotten a bit loose with my finances. Its not like I’ve been spending money like crazy, but I haven’t been as good with keeping up with exactly what I’ve paid off, or how much money I keep in my account. Since practically everything is automated, all I usually track is my weekly spending (as per my “recaps”) and then paying off those credit cards. I guess I haven’t been reconciling all expenses though.
This week I got my first “scare” in a while. I usually keep about $1,000 buffer in my bank account. Since I automatically transfer my savings (about half my paycheck) each week, approximately at the same time I get paid, I had a slight fear that if my check got delayed for any reason I might overdraft, thus the $1,000 buffer. This week, however, at the beginning of the week I saw that my account had reached a balance close to $600. Considering I had just paid my credit card and it had yet to be posted to the bank (my mistake, I should always look at the balance, no matter what) I got nervous.
I had recently been considering discontinuing my automatic HSBC withdrawals, to give my account time to accumulate money for when I start paying rent, so this little scare helped me make up my mind. I discontinued my savings transfers. (Granted, I’m not spending that money, just letting it sit in my checking account.) Feeling secure that my count wasn’t going to overdraft on Friday I didn’t check back.
Today, looking at my checking account records I saw that on Wednesday my account was as low as $400!! Yikes! If I didn’t have so many automatic transactions this wouldn’t be an issue, but I do….that is cutting it way too close. In all of my automation I’ve completely let my finances get out of control. It sounds contradictory, but its really been slipping out of my hands. I need to reevaluate what I’m doing and bring this to a stop. With real bills to pay in the near future I can’t afford for this to happen again.
Lesson learned: just because my transactions are all on autopilot doesn’t mean I can stop tracking my finances!
(I think part of the problem was those $200 on my credit card a couple of weeks ago that I couldn’t account for. No fraud or anything, but by looking at my records I had thought I was up to date with paying when I wasn’t….and I’m still not sure what it is I forgot to pay. That should’ve been the first warning sign that I’m loosening up way too much!)