Hidden Money

by Emily · 19 comments

in Money & Spending

Checkbooks.  They’re, like, so 1995.  I think it’s safe to say half of us have given up on the balancing act, writing it all down in the register, and holding ourselves accountable for our expenditures.  Online banking is the wave of the future, man!

I still go through that archaic practice every few days or so (with the help of internet banking).  And a curious personality quirk has been making itself more obvious.

Last pay period we were getting down to the wire.  I start getting edgy as we crossed into that “Under $100” territory.  So, when the paycheck came in on Thursday, I rushed out to deposit it, came home, and pulled out the green vinyl folder.  Added in the deposit, minus $100.  So our $600 deposit got entered as $500.

Now here’s the sick thing.  I know it’s there.  It’s not like my husband did it on the sly – I’m aware of that cushion.  And yet it makes me feel so much more peaceful.

It’s almost tempting to take the next step and start rounding up my purchases to the next whole dollar…  (gasp!!)

Financial gurus the world over are probably reading this and banging their heads into the nearest walls.  It’s absolutely irresponsible NOT to know, down to the penny, how much wealth (or debt, for that matter) you own.  So why does it feel so darn good?  What psychological reasoning is there behind this action?

So confess…do you hide money?  Round up?  Do you think I’m just some seriously messed up cookie?  Also, which camp do you belong to, check registers or internet banking?


1 Laura May 4, 2010

I hide money all the time! I tend to use mostly cash, so I often tuck a $20 here and there in my wallet so that in an emergency, I still have something to use. If I use them, I replace them.

With fixed bills, I round them up in my budget. So I'm constantly telling myself it costs more (sometimes by a dollar or two, sometimes by 10) than it really does.

And internet banking is the way I go – I don't have the patience for balancing a chequebook!

2 Emily May 4, 2010

Ahhh, back in the day I had $100 (in the form of two $50 dollar bills, which are really hard to spend on small things) hidden in my car. Need to start doing that again…thanks for reminding me!

3 Kathy May 4, 2010

I’m firmly in the internet banking camp. There is one “archaic” habit I have retained, however, and that is writing down all of my outstanding debits on a post it note and checking them off as they are deducted from my bank balance online.

I’m definitely guilty of rounding up the dollar amount on my debits…my reasoning is that it is better to find a little bit of extra money in my bank account than to be short. I’ve been caught up short a time or two, and I detest that and the fees that come with it. I might be a little paranoid about it at this point. 🙂

4 Kelly May 4, 2010

I love the post it idea!

5 Emily May 4, 2010

Ugh! Post It's are BAD! They stick to your sleeves when you're not looking and travel, and ultimately get lost. I like the idea, but I'd definitely use a different medium!

6 Imene May 4, 2010

I used to refuse looking up my bank account and my stress levels were so high!! I have a weird relationship to money but I try to get better.
I now have a Mint account that I look at once a week, all of my checking credit cards investments are in there. It gives you a pretty good idea of where you are.
So no you’re not alone

7 Kelly May 4, 2010

I like the once a week system Imene. Every day gets to b e such a hassle, and it's too easy to say "I'll do it tomorrow." Once a week is just often enough that nothing slips by and the task doesn't get too huge, but you're in the habit of doing it.

8 Jenn May 4, 2010

I am totally with you on this. For a long time I had internet banking with online bill pay and the works. Then we moved to a town where the local banks only offered online access to your accounts. It took me some time to adjust so I’m sort of a hybrid. I write down all our checks since they take longer to clear but the check card transactions I usually don’t write down since they’re usually posted the next business day.

Last month our bank was bought by a larger bank who just made the conversion of all our online accounts to their system. They have online banking with bill pay so I get to readjust to the current technology.

I’ve tried using software like Microsoft Money but it’s such a hassle to log EVERY transaction. I’m still trying to figure out the whole software thing but for now I’ll just stick with my hybrid system.
.-= Jenn´s last blog ..Grow Plants in ANY Container @ MIFS =-.

9 Emily May 4, 2010

Jenn, I guess it's all about what works for you. I'm glad you've recently got online bill pay – it's nice to not worry about running out for stamps, isn't it?

10 Nancy May 4, 2010

I’m old. I do checks and the check register. No debit card for me. I have a long sordid history with plastic so I refuse to go there again. I/We operate on cash as much as possible and write checks to pay for our water bill, gas (heat), and the like; cash for gasoline, groceries, daily expenses. I also access my account online to verify when checks clear, deposits made, auto withdrawals for insurance, etc. I’d prefer to call myself a combo of the two methods rather than old.
.-= Nancy´s last blog ..little man, big imagination =-.

11 Kelly May 4, 2010

And appropriately enough, Nancy, the link to your altest post is for Little man, big imagination!

12 Kelly May 4, 2010

My mom does the same thing- she has cushions in both her checking accounts. The thing is, she (obviously) knows the cushions are there, so she often goes into the 'red', but still has the money.

13 JanB May 4, 2010

I balance my checking to the penny using Quicken. I don't over or under estimate, but I keep a buffer in the account, an amount that I will no go below. I have an emergency fund in the bank, so we know that if we have an emergency, that money is in there.

But seriously, I don't want to guess about my checking account. I don't want to "sorta" know how much is in there. I want to know for sure. That way if the bank makes a mistake, I can get it fixed. And they do make mistakes.
.-= JanB´s last blog ..Pray like Mad for this snowball =-.

14 Emily May 4, 2010

Jan, very good point about the banks screwing up. Never thought about that.

15 Aspiring Millionaire May 4, 2010

I don't round up numbers in my finances. I like to so see everything down to the penny. It's teaching me honesty. I feel like rounding up, allows me to bend the truth.

I've learned the hard way that many financial issues are about being honest with yourself.

16 Kelly May 5, 2010

good point!

17 Katie @ Making This May 5, 2010

I'm to the penny. I can't help it. I think it goes back to when I was a kid – you know, when the pennies were like gold. Oh my gosh! I have 25 cents!

.-= Katie @ Making This Home´s last blog ..Popcorn on the Stovetop =-.

18 Carla May 7, 2010

Hmmmmm… the other day I labeled an envelope “Gifts” and put $40 into it. It is my intention to put in $40 every time we get paid, hoping to defer some of the craziness of Christmas and birthdays for 8 grandchildren. It’s sitting in a desk drawer in plain sight, if you happen to open the drawer. My husband rarely opens that drawer or any drawers in that desk. I’ve been considering just not mentioning my little gift fund not so much because he will definitely dip into it but more because if only one of us knows about it there is one less person to be tempted to borrow from it.

I’m not sure if this counts as “hiding money” or not.

19 Talheure May 9, 2010

We officially have a minimum amount below which we don’t go. But I also know that the PAPER register shows an amount quite a bit lower than the daily account alert register e-mail. So I have to suspect that my security-hungry husband has padded the bank account over the years whenever we could. 🙂

We don’t use debit cards at all, but we use credit cards that are a) free yearly and which b) give us something. We pay everything off at the end of the month so we never pay interest so that the gift from (b) is truly free.

We consult each other for any purchase over about $50. We live in hurricane country where the powerhas been out for weeks twice in the last five years, so we have a tidy supply of cash tucked away here and there. THAT’s as good a reason as any to hide a little in your car. Those ATMs might not work, and then what?! 🙂

Previous post:

Next post: