Remember: Checks Can Still Overdraft

Just remember, even though starting this week banks can’t charge you overdrafts unless you opted into their overdraft program, they can still authorize overdrafted checks, ATM withdrawals, and automatic bill payments at their discretion and charge you a fee for it.

There are cheaper options than overdrafts. The least expensive is to make sure that you never write checks when you don’t have enough money in your account. Also, your bank may let you link your checking account to a credit card, savings or a line of credit. Typically they will charge $5-$10, which sure beats $30-$40. Bill Hardekopf of also recommends signing up for email and text alerts from your bank so you can get automatic low-balance warnings.

Later this week I will post an updated version of my beginner’s budget excel sheet that used properly will make it so you never overdraft again.