Stop Overdrafting!

Our tip box is organized by complaint category. In the “banks” section, email after email starts roughly the same way, “I overdrafted my account and then a series of horrible events ensued.”

Ok, now, granted, overdraft fees are on the rise, and banks are adjusting their rules to trip more people into overdrafting and then charge compounding penalties. With that in mind, don’t we all owe it to ourselves to take even greater personal financial responsibility Don’t spend more than you currently have in your bank account. Don’t lose track of your auto-deductions. Don’t write a check that cannot be instantaneously cashed.

If you often find yourself overdrafting at the end of the paycycle, you’re spending too much and/or making not enough. You must change one or both.

Our excel budget sheet keeps track of expected monthly expenditures. Each month gets a total balance that incorporates all expected debits. We walk around with that number in our head as if it were our current total balance. If your budgeting system doesn’t allow for the same, you need an upgrade — and if you don’t have a budgeting system, you need to get one. — BEN POPKEN

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(Photo: Getty)