Checks and Balances

Money was never a problem for Jim and Lisa Preuett—or so they had thought.

Lisa's Side: I Don't Have the Energy

Financially, Jim and I were well off. We always had enough money to pay the bills and some left over for "extras." But our problem was with balancing our checking account!

Jim traveled frequently for his job as a sales rep and was often not home to deduct his most recent expenses from our account. With my stressful job as a middle school teacher, keeping a running balance of our account after working all day was the last thing on my mind.

Neither of us had the time—or the organizational skills—to handle it. We'd hold onto ATM and debit receipts and let them pile up for days or sometimes weeks until we'd finally deduct them from our account.

We always assumed the money would be there. Anytime we received bills in the mail, we laid them in various places instead of in one specific location.

One day we received a notice from our bank stating our account was overdrawn and we were being charged more than $250 to cover the insufficient funds and processing fees.

How could this happen? I wondered, shocked.

Jim and I hardly ever argue, but after we received that notice, we didn't speak to each other for two days! While I know Jim's gone a lot and I shouldn't expect him to take sole responsibility for our account, I'm really stressed at the end of the day, and I still have to come home and grade papers. The thought of dealing with numbers is more than I can handle sometimes. It isn't really that big of a deal to let my ATM receipts pile up for a while until I'm ready to deal with them during a less stressful time. Besides, Jim takes out most of the money, so he needs to keep better records of his business expenses. Yes, we messed up this time and now we have to pay for it, but there has to be a better way to keep this from happening again!

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