Spent a good portion of this afternoon balancing my checkbook. A rainy day was a good time to do it; although, the 25th of every month is when I pay my bills anyway.
Usually my checking-account ledger is off by a dollar or two. That doesn’t bother me at all. I’ll adjust it accordingly to the bank’s calculated total from their Web site.
Today, after deducting all my ATM withdrawals and debit-card purchases for the month, tallied from the receipts kept willy-nilly in my wallet, I found the account balance didn’t agree with that of the bank’s by fifty-two dollars and change in the red.
Now that was something to cause me concern. I thought maybe a receipt was lost and checked March’s statement for anything left out, but nothing was omitted.
Then I went over my arithmetic for the past several months and found a couple of minor mistakes, amounting to just a little over a dollar, but not over fifty as was the present case.
Verifying everything on February’s statement, I found an item that’s paid usually on the Internet with my Visa—to collect the reward points, something I do with all bills—was accidentally charged to my checking account and not deducted in the ledger. I had mistakenly ticked the “Pay with Checking Account” option instead of “Use Credit Card” at the particular vendor’s Web-payment portal. The mystery was solved.
Why not just rely on the bank’s accounting system and don’t keep a record in my checkbook? That makes a lot of sense after going through unnecessary grief like today.
Typically, I write only two checks a month, unless when making donations to charitable or public-service organizations. I just hate writing my credit-card number down on a form received from a solicitation sent in the mail. Checks are a lot safer in my opinion.
The charges for credit-card purchases are paid in full monthly by a transfer of funds from my checking account.
By using a Visa to pay my flat’s rent and utilities on the Web, the owners charge an extra twenty bucks for a handling fee. There’s no economical sense for doing that, hence the two written checks sent via snail mail.
At ATMs everywhere a large amount of transaction receipts are thrown away in the machines’ trash receptacles by individuals who don’t keep their own records, I suppose. That really irks me, but with today’s reliance on the Internet for banking accountability and accessibility thereof by smartphones, why should they? Why should I, for that matter?
Perhaps it’s the old-school accounting principle to maintain a strict ledger of finances that drives my hand-written obsession for record-keeping. In doing the calculations manually, my mind stays sharp, and my handwriting remains legible. Well, at least it seems like it does to me.
As one ages, a body needs exercise to keep muscle mass and tone, strength, and a healthy metabolism. Likewise, so does the brain. By teasing my mind with arithmetic and mathematical functions, I like to think my manual-accounting fixation is beneficial to maintaining a finely tuned organ in my head as well.
There’s a method to my madness. That’s my opinion. What’s yours?
Then again, my madness could be blamed on the rudiments of a misspent youth. With that in mind, allow me to share my latest Cover Your Ears, a tune that’s not safe for work, so play it softly elsewhere.
As a disclaimer, this song is by no means an endorsement of decadence. It’s just a fun one to play and sing along:
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