Money Diva, a Cdn on Vancouver Island who blogs about her own financial life, had a really cool post: she asked people how they make sure they’re never caught short on their automatic payments. I’ve done it. You’ve done it (c’mon, admit it). We’ve all done it – forgotten one month and badaboom, badabing, ching-ching a service charge here or there.
Money Diva’s synopsis of peoples’ responses yielded several good methods:
Some of them were using a cheque register, or spreadsheet, or just keeping track, but I wanted ways that were more dummy-proof than that. So here are seven ways that my readers keep track of automatic payments and make sure they have enough money for them:
- Schedule the payments in your Outlook Calendar
- Use alerts in Microsoft Money or Quicken
- Link your bank account to your line of credit or set up overdraft protection
- Use a product such as Manulife One (bank account, line of credit and mortgage all rolled up together)
- Have the payments come off a Visa with a large enough limit (and get points)
- Deduct all payments at the beginning of the month in your tracking system
- Keep a minimum balance in your account
I think that if you use any one of these methods consistently, you should be able to say goodbye to bounced payments forever. So choose the one that works for you, and then sit back and let the rest be automatic!
My own method is to have two bank accounts:
One is at VanCity, and my income goes into that one. I know what my monthly payments will be, so I simply ensure enough income is left there to cover the expenses. Then I take money above the monthly requirements, and transfer the funds to Citizens Bank of Canada. That money is available for my discretionary spending – movies, groceries, dog treats at Bow Wow Haus, taxis, dog treats, starbucks and dog treats.