Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Balancing The Books Made Easy With These Tips!

Dear Tazi:

My wife cannot balance a checkbook to save her life. Have you ever seen that episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where Ray tries to balance the checkbook and ends up creating an entire new one because the screwed up the first one so bad? That's my wife!

"Shirley" has a terrible habit of losing receipts before she can record them, forgets to record them, and simply "refreshes" the balance when the statement comes in - she doesn't even try to balance it anymore! I would take over the duty of balancing the books myself but I am a long-distance truck driver and am not home every day to handle this. I have suggested to Shirley that she pay cash for everything, but she feels that I am trying to control her when I am not around. Tazi, I work hard for our money and am sick of seeing it go to overdraft fees! Any ideas on how to take care of this?

Buffalo Bill

Dear Buffalo Bill:

Finances are one of the biggest issues between couples, especially when one person is more responsible than the other. Since paying cash for everything can be a royal pain (because you don't always know how much cash you will need) I can understand your wife's resistance to this.

Since you are on the road much of the time, I can also understand why it would be difficult for you to take on this responsibility yourself. I have a few suggestions for you from friends who are or are married to long-distance truck drivers:

1. Pre-paid debit cards for stores you frequent regularly. Rather than charge a few dollars for a coffee several times a day, load a pre-paid card once a week. This results in one charge as opposed to several to try and keep track of and record. This would work well for both you and your wife.

2. Online bill payments. These can be scheduled ahead of time so you are never late and since the amount clears immediately you do not have to worry about the "float" period that comes with writing a check, reducing the possibility of bouncing a check. (Just be sure to check your bank account balance before making a payment!).

3. Balance Inquiry at the ATM. Before withdrawing money from the ATM, do a balance inquiry to see how much you have in the account. By doing this, you will be able to calculate your remaining balance before you take money out of the bank (because what is the likelihood that you will re-deposit the money you just withdrew?).

4. Putting receipts into the checkbook. Since getting into the habit of immediately recording all receipts can be difficult, an easier way to handle this is to put the receipts into the checkbook.

5. Use a designated credit card for all day-to-day purchases and pay it off at the end of every month. No more bounced check fees!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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