Thursday, February 08, 2007

mo money mo problems

It's Thursday night, but really it's Friday night for me because I don't have to go to work tomorrow. Well, I do, but someone else's work, not my work, so that's almost like Friday. Confused yet?

You know where I am on this Friday that isn't really Friday? No, I'm not watching The Office (because it really is Thursday)--I am taping it though, at least I'm praying it's taping, and yes, I'm serious about the praying part. It's The Office, there is no room for error. On this non Friday I am here at the hospital library. You know what this cool girl is doing in the library? Banking.

That's right, I'm attempting to balance my check book. My fiance thinks this is utter insanity because I do, in fact, have online banking through my bank. But, I still balance. I save all of my little receipts and then I go through and enter them into my check book. Sometimes I enter them as I charge them, sometimes I save them in a little pile. But, I always enter them.

Last time I was entering Freddie asked me if he could see my check book. "I'm not going to look at the balance", he said. [Good thing because although we are joining our lives in 4 and a half short months, I would not want him to have a clue how much money I don't have. (Truth be told, I was a little nervous he'd notice that Target appears three times in a row on more than one occasion!)] "I just want to see what you've got going here." As in, what is this archaeic ritual all about? He was amazed at my handiwork. It is quite impressive. I've been burning through the registers since I've gotten a real life grown up job and especially since I DO NOT EVER have cash on there is much to balance. But, lately things haven't actually been balancing. I suppose it could be worse because what's actually happening is I've been finding that I have MORE money than my bank thinks I have. (yes, this is actually a real problem.)

I think I've been adding things in when I spend them, then sometimes adding them again in the receipt pile. Although I do have a system that involves putting a little check on the receipts I've recorded and tucking them nicely in the back, sometimes errors do happen. Or, more often, I will cross reference this check register with the online banking and discover that I have...GASP...missed something. Only much later I realize that I didn't actually miss it, but I recorded the gas purchase as "Kangaroo" when they actually prefer to go by their gas brand name, or vice versa. It's all very confusing and so I charge myself twice. Or, I'll go ahead and deduct the money before I've gotten a chance to pay the bill online, and then I'll deduct it when I do. So, now I've got no clue how much money I actually have...because I don't trust the bank. And, I have every intention of teaching my children to do the same. (While this is a crazy thing usually associated with individuals who prefer the first national bank of Serta aka, stuff it in the mattress FDIC--I have actually witnessed a bank mistake involving someone else's debit card getting routed to my account and taking my money. It was all returned, but this is why I check.) I could wait a bit and see what the total says and hope that everyone has cashed checks I've written, or things have cleared. But, I'm always afraid I'll get tricked and end up in what with what I learned in 9th grade econ to fear with my life, A BOUNCED CHECK!!!!

So that's why I'm here. In the library. On fake Friday. Check book in one hand, calculator pulled up on the screen, paper in the other hand trying to compare and take notes. I printed off the screen from the online banking, but it was too wide, so only the first numbers appeared, so now I'm going through 11 pages of transactions and filling in the totals, so I can work on this at home, while I watch have a date with my boyfriend, Jim. Oh, and the bank has implemented this new security system for online banking that involves three screens before I can even get into my account. First I must enter my account number and the coded image. Then, I must answer the security question, then I must enter my password, but only if I see the secret word I provided printed underneath the box. It's crazy. And, if you take 25 seconds too long you have to start all over. AND, you have to sign in all over again if you don't do anything on the screen for more than 5 minutes, except there is nothing to do on the screen to let the computer know you're still there...just looking. ARGHHH! Maybe I'll reconsider this mattress idea.

Oh yeah, I would like to point out that fiance didn't find my checkbook balancing so appalling when he bounced a check buying sardines and saltines at a gas station in college. Back then I was a wise and responsible sage.

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