May 04, 2009

Do You Think There Could be Control Issues?

Let me state first, I think I'm the only person in America who still pays bills by... check. *gasp!*

It is true.

Other than my powerbill, which I do pay online, because I play this weird game "How low can she go?!" where I'm constantly comparing my monthly power bill with the previous two year's... same month.

I know. I'm a freak. Numbers... always looking at numbers.

And a sidenote here, my power bill was $200 less than the previous two year's for April, and I think it's a combination of solar water and the fact I upgraded to a NEW digital thermostat. The biggest factor is the digital thermostat, so if you've not looked into one, I'd do it now. Big savings... BIG.

Anyway, so I pay my bills by hand still. I sit down once or twice a month, balance my checkbook in my ACTUAL checkbook and write out all the bills.

Very old fashioned of me.

And when I went to pay the bills a couple days ago I realized... Holy crap! I didn't have enough checks!

Fortunately, I have a savings account that my personal paycheck is deposited into and I do have checks, so I paid the rest of the bills out of our savings until I could get more checks for our real account.


Ack! In the 17 years we've been married, in the 21 I've been on my own, I have NEVER run out of checks.

You should have seen me going through everything, for certain there was a book somewhere I misplaced as I certainly don't remember pulling off that last reminder to order more checks.

Flash forward to this morning when I ran to the bank to quickly order some, knowing I have a few weeks until the next month's bills come in.

And the following conversation ensued to the best of my recollection:

Me: I realized yesterday that I am completely out of checks. I need to order two boxes of checks.

Teller: OK.

Me: Please start at 6000. This is my account number.

The teller took my information and came back: But I have you should start at 6130.

Me: Really?

Teller: Yes.

Me: Hunh. I just used 5999. That means I should have another book or so in my house... right?

Another teller: A whole box!

Me: Damn. OK, well, I've scoured the house and can't find them. Please start at 6130.

Teller: But you have a box in your house.



Me: I might.


Me: Order me two more please. Starting at 6130.

Teller: But you have a box in your house.

Me: I have run out of checks, I don't know where that box is. Please order me two more, starting at 6130 and I'll figure it out when I get home.



Teller: Ok then...

And she actually was miffed she had to order me new checks when she KNEW I had a box in my house...

... which I didn't, because when I came home and checked my old registry (I keep them all too... all the way back to 1990, I swear) I saw I accidentally used the two boxes out of sequence.

I told my husband this story as I'm trying really hard to make a case for leaving this POS bank and since all his business holdings are there, he ultimately makes the decision.

He said to me, 'Upon hearing you had NO checks left, did they even offer you any free checks, blank ones to fill out and use?"

Me: Phht. Of course not...

I'm slowly chipping away for my cause...

Posted by Boudicca at May 4, 2009 08:36 PM

You're not alone. I still pay for everything by check, too, except for my gym membership.

Posted by: Tina at May 4, 2009 11:23 PM

I pay what I can pay on bank has a wire transfer with some of the places I pay...they will send a check to the others but I'll trust them for a wire transfer but not to mail out a check...I'll do that myself.

We don't use many checks...don't have many bills I reckon and we use a debit card instead of a check for purchases...except ammo and I buy that with paper trail.

I was gonna use a debit card at the tax office to get my tags yesterday...but they wanted a buck fifty service charge...wrote 'em a check instead. Heh.

Posted by: GUYK at May 5, 2009 08:39 AM

Just want you to know that I enjoyed reading your blog. Good Luck and God's Blessings!

Posted by: Anastasia at May 5, 2009 10:50 AM

We are check people, we do no bill paying online.

We also don't use direct deposit until this month as Ford is forcing all of it's employees to use direct deposit now because it's cheaper for them (cost saving anyway they can).

Posted by: Quality Weenie at May 5, 2009 11:15 AM

I *finally* started experimenting with on-line bill pay today, since I accidentally noticed that my bank offers it for free. We'll see how it goes.

What surprised me about your teller interaction is that nobody suggested that you'd used your checks out of order, which is very common.

Posted by: Harvey at May 5, 2009 12:34 PM

I pay all my personal bills via direct draft to my bank account. I write about 2 checks a month.

Dad used to pay for everything by check. It drove me crazy. So now my sister pays his bills and I balance the checkbook.

Tell me you don't write a check when you go to a store (pet peeve #1). I may have to reconsider our friendship :-)

Posted by: Jerry in Indiana at May 5, 2009 12:39 PM

I either pay online or via money order. I hate waiting for checks to clear.

My landlord is awful about cashing checks. Holds on to them for months.

Posted by: Graumagus at May 5, 2009 01:15 PM

Like what does the teller have to do... go in the back room and reset the printing press and reprint all the checks by hand then trim them and bind them into a book???

Good grief! All she has to do is enter the information and hit send! BAH! I'm with you - you need to get out of that bank.

I pay several bills by check. One is our electric bill as they don't have online payment (very small town) but that's okay. I pay most other services via credit card online, then pay the credit cards online via the bank. I still get paper bills for my records because printers loathe me and always break and I need the paper bills for tax purposes.

Posted by: Teresa at May 5, 2009 01:54 PM

Jerry- Our friendship is saved. I never write a check at the grocery store.

Believe it or not, I put as much as I can on my credit card and then pay one big check the end of the month. It's easier for me to track how much I'm spending on gas and food.

I don't use an ATM either.

I have one credit card.

Anastasia- Thank you!

To everyone else... I can't believe your frickin' comments made it through. Fluffy must be sleeping...

Posted by: Bou at May 5, 2009 02:34 PM

I've been doing online bill pay ever since my credit union offered it. I! Love! It! And it's free! I schedule the recurring payments, like my mortgage. I've had only two problems with late payments that were resolved very quickly. No penalties. And if there had been they would have been paid by the service. I use debit cards at the grocery store. No checks. No postage. I write maybe three checks a month. And I track everything in Quicken. Just another bunch of hassles solved with technology.

Bou, as an engineer, I'm surprised you haven't embraced current financial technology.

Posted by: Denny at May 7, 2009 01:02 PM