Thursday, June 16, 2005

Smart...or not?

I put myself in a bit of a bind this week. I mailed off my car payment yesterday, and paid an extra $200. Since I have had this car, I have paid extra in every payment except one, the smallest being $100, the most being $2000. Sounds good, you say?

Well, I have a confession...I haven't been keeping up with my entries in Microsoft Money. I've been keeping a rough estimate in my head about where my checking account is at during any given time. I check the on-line banking everyday, making sure what clears and what is still out there. If you've got plenty of money, it's not a problem.

My problem this time was that I forgot an item. So when the check for my car payment clears, I'm going to be right up against it. I also have my two $25 automatic withdrawals coming out tomorrow, (One to VirtualBank, the other to ING Direct). Now having money is not a problem, I've got my Paypal debit card and have been using that for my gasoline and misc expenses. I have enough to get through to next week. When the check goes through, however, I could be going into my overdraft protection, something I haven't done in some time.

For years I funded the Credit Union's annual Holiday parties with the fees paid from my account from going into overdraft. I've gotten out of that habit, and it's been probably close to two years since they've been forced to look elsewhere for their slush fund. But this time it could be close. I'm guessing the check is either going to clear tomorrow, or Monday. It seems to be stretching it that it could clear tomorrow, but with the new laws about electronic check clearing, it seems at least possible.

I put the check into a mailbox yesterday, which stated that the mail from that box was collected at 3:00 PM daily. I would guess it would go to the Post Office that night, be sorted, and be sent on it's way this morning, perhaps arriving in NJ tomorrow. If it arrives tomorrow, it needs to be processed. So I think I might be safe in thinking it will clear my account on Monday.

To try to make up the difference and get enough money into my account to ensure that I'm not paying an overdraft fee, I initiated a transfer of $200 from my PayPal account to my checking account. PayPal states that this usually takes 3-4 business days, which by that estimate means my funds will hit my checking account on Monday or Tuesday. However, my experience with PP has been that a lot of times it only takes 2 days. That means that money could be in my account tomorrow, which means things could work out. I'll be monitoring my checking account closely tomorrow and Monday.

Exciting, huh?

To reward you if you've read this far, here are a couple links you might find interesting. CNN Money has a list of the 50 Best Things to do with your Money. That page also has a link to the 15 Dumbest things you can do with you money as well. A lot of basic stuff, but some good reminders.

Oh yeah, I think probably everyone in the whole world has a Gmail account right now, but if you don't, and are looking for one, post a comment below with your current email address and I'll zip you off an invitation. I've actually had a Gmail account almost from the beginning, but haven't been spreading out the invites that I have. Guess I should be better at sharing.


sib said...

was once in a similar pinch and realized my cash advance fee on my credit card was less than the overdraft fee i would be hit with so i went to the bank was able to add funds same day.

Anonymous said...

Please explain to me: Do you need to be invited to gmail or what? I did not find any sign-in or anything in the page?!

B said...

Yeah, since GMail is still in "beta" you have to be invited, though almost everyone I know has an account. If you want one, send me an email and I'll send you an invite.