Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rip up the checkbook!

Overall, I think I am a pretty bright individual. Above average intelligence. Mostly rational. Sort of level headed. Skilled in tricking small children. And seducing grown men. Uh, ahem!, did I say that? Able to leap tall words in a single bound.

But when it comes to balancing my checkbook, I feel like a complete idiot. I mean how hard is it to write down all of the transactions, pull out the little calculator and tally everything? Not hard, right? Then why does the calculator, the check registry and the bank statement ALWAYS say something different? Three different totals. Each.and.every.time. Okay, that's just a slight exaggeration.

This hasn't been a problem my entire life. When I opened up my first checking account at the tender age of 14 (when I got my first job in a library, of course), my checkbook always balanced effortlessly. Okay, well not so effortlessly. But my mommy would help me and all would be right with the world. In my late teens, I took on the task of figuring it out myself each month and it always totalled out. On the off chance it didn't, I drove to the local bank, sat down with the bank person and reviewed what I assumed was their error. Sometimes it was - well, one time - and sometimes (uh, mostly) it was mine.

This was back in the day when customer service really meant customer service. As a matter of fact, I remember the first time I went into a bank in the mid to late 90s and requested that type of assistance and the lady politely said, "We don't help you balance your checkbook or go over your statement."

Uh... okay. What if I think it's a bank error? Well, never mind. Not important. I digress.

If I were kidnapped and tortured to garner information from my overfilled brain, all the terrorist/kidnapper/bad guys would have to do is make me do math - with or without a calculator - and I would totally spill my guts. I would fall to the floor with snot dripping outta my nose, tears streaming down my face and scream the secrets at the top of my lungs ending with, "Please, please don't make me look at another calculation. I'll tell you everything!"

Deep breath.

None of this helps me get my checkbook balanced, does it? It wouldn't be so bad if there weren't so many transactions that I've let get behind over the course of this crazy month. Normally there are very few transactions, which makes it easy to keep up. I guess the multitude of transactions is a good thing, but I think I need a different approach to keeping track of my money.


Withdraw cash at the beginning of the month and insert in appropriate envelopes? Use a spreadsheet, some type of software, marry a millionaire?

I like that last one.

An-t-way, guess I better stop complaining about it and get to calculating. Eventually someone is going to want me to pay a bill and I refuse to rely on the bank's calculation 'cause they steal pennies. What? You didn't know?

Better keep a close eye on your account.

Luckily, everything is still in the green so I don't have to get too worried as of yet... I'm off to plan my next undercover mission. You know, children to trick and a man to seduce... damn, did I say that aloud again!?