So sorry to hear that. I know it can be tough to try to spend finances properly and then if your husband is not doing his job to help those finances, things can quickly spiral out of control.
When you bounce something, if it’s not caught early, everything bounces and each charge that goes through, can cause a complete headache with the clean up process but also in fees.
It can cost up to $30 PER transaction that goes through. Even if it’s a $5 transaction going through, they charge $30 and before you know it, you’re at $700 in overdraft fees alone!
My Husband Never Gives Me His Receipts and Then We Bounce
This was pretty common when I worked in banking. Banking institutions (the ones I worked for) ENCOURAGED people to bounce by doing some shady things, such as allowing people to withdraw cash from an ATM if it made them go into the negative.
Things like that are no fun and banks are all about money, which leads me to my first point….
Bank with a credit union
You will be far more protected (and loved on) with a credit union over a bank. Why? Banks are stock share holders owned whereas credit unions are owned by the members. That’s why credit unions pay dividends.
Look at it like you are “part owner” in a credit union.
In a bank, the money goes to CEO’s, share holders, etc.
It’s a much different set up so you’ll get a lot more care at a credit union (generally speaking).
First being with the right set up (a credit union over a bank) can help in many ways and one of the ways is grace and kindness when it comes to overdrafts.
Working at credit unions, I saw my bosses waive even $700 in overdraft fees for members before, always truly caring about the member.
When working at banks, it was very different. Again, they purposely (schemingly, but super subtle like the ATM example above) try to get people to bounce because the fees are what make them the money on checking accounts.
Banks will NOT waive those fees (again, speaking generally here; a couple banks may).
Being with a company that genuinely cares about you is the better option, by far.
Set up overdraft protection
Set up some money in savings, even if you open up a special savings account solely for this purpose, and have it be your overdraft protection. Try to put a good $100-$500 in that account and you should be covered (depending on how much is being spent).
Having that set up, will prevent any overdrafts.
Whenever the checking account goes negative, it simply pulls the money from the savings account to pay it, to avoid your going negative. There may be a small fee involved in this (not with credit unions, but there may be with banks?) Check into those fees, but it’ll STILL be way less expensive to pay a small fee for overdraft protection than those nasty overdraft fees.
If you or your husband have trouble touching the money that is in savings, let’s say one of you knows the money is in savings and you or he want to keep spending it, ask if you can make the savings account a two-signature account.
They do this at most credit unions, for banks, you’ll want to ask. At one bank I worked for they did it and another they didn’t. So just ask them if they do if you are with a bank.
But a two-signature account means that you need to have two signatures to withdraw money. For that type of account, to prevent fraud, they usually don’t allow you to come in with your husband’s signature to withdraw the money either, because the signature could be forged.
Usually, they make you come into the bank/credit union in person to withdraw and the teller will watch both of you sign the papers. Tellers are also trained (usually either by formal training or just knowing customer traits over a period of time) to know the signs if someone is being forced against their will to sign the paper as well. If they suspect anything, they may get a manager involved.
Either way, it’s a great protection service. The downside is that if you DO need to touch the money, you’ll need to agree and both be present to sign to withdraw the money.
AFTER you’ve done all that, and I say AFTER because as women, we always want to do everything in our OWN power to change the situation FIRST (understanding that we cannot change people), then, it’s a good idea to have a talk with your husband about it.
Talk with your spouse
Make sure that he and you are on the same page.
With my ex-husband, I would tell him this but he still would not listen. He would try sometimes, but just always still “forgot”. I’d find receipts in his pockets when doing laundry, and things like that.
Those receipts I got out and wrote in the checkbook, but there were many I couldn’t get because he was a bit careless when it came to receipts.
I don’t suggest talking to him about this on a continual basis, because it can very quickly become nagging and frustrate him. Again remember that we can’t change other people, but you absolutely should make all this known to him.
If he continues to be careless with receipts, as my ex-husband was, then you have to understand that you can go to God in prayer.
Are you praying about it?
One of the best things you can do is to pray to God about your problems. Sometimes, it’s just honestly better to go to God first and ONLY go to God about some things. Don’t even bother your husband about them (an example would be if you know he won’t change the problem).
God is your biggest power you have as a believer and He cares about us all so immensely. He died for us. He cares about everything that is important to us, so if you’ve tried everything you can do and you’re still finding this to be an issue, take it to prayer.
First praying that God help YOU be more patient and loving to your husband, despite his lack of respect to you and the family in not being better at giving you receipts, and secondly that God may change his heart.
Remember that we want our family’s HEART to change, not just the external action.
It’s the same with my kids, my son in particular. He loves to say he’s sorry very quickly, but in his heart, you can tell, it’s just lip-service. He doesn’t truly mean it. He’s not upset about his sin, he’s just saying something quickly, as a blanket statement to get out of trouble and so I’m constantly working with him about his HEART and praying for his HEART.
Let me be clear, your husband is NOT your son. Your husband is NOT your child and we are to never treat our husbands LIKE our children, however, praying for a heart change is a good and wonderful thing and if your power is prayer and we are NOT using that power, it’s an awful shame! On US!!!
Another really great idea and I got this idea from a Pastor, he said that his wife gives him an “allowance” each month in cash and he can spend it however he wants. Once the cash is gone, it’s gone and he can ask if there’s more money or go from there, but that using cash is a lot better for him personally, than spending money and trying to remember to give her receipts.
He said that’s the system they have worked out. Each week, his wife gives him more cash and so he always has his cash.
If your husband is on board with that, you guys can do that. Then there’s no accounting or anything like that and he still feels like he can spend money and be okay.
If your husband is NOT on board with that, what if YOU use cash for your part then?
For me in my situation, my ex-husband wasn’t good with cash either. Like receipts, cash would end up lost, falling out of his pockets and wallet and in the washing machine. So, what if YOU use cash?
Perhaps you can have a budget and take out the amount necessary and use cash envelopes to pay cash with the things you need. Even things like groceries, if that is a stickler to your budget.
You can get some free cash envelopes here.
If Christmas budgeting is an issue, I have some free cash envelopes for Christmas here:
- blue snowflake
- green Christmas tree
- blue Christmas present
- red Christmas tree
- santa/elf with snowflakes
Another option you could do is have your husband have his own checking account for the excess money he spends or even using a pre-paid cash card type of thing. I don’t encourage separate bank accounts, it separates you guys more and more and you should try to do everything together as much as you can (two become one principle), however, in some cases, that might have to be the case.
Another option too is having him have his own credit card. Get one with a low interest rate and then he spends whatever it is (let’s say his budget is $100/month), make the credit card for $100 limit. Then with credit cards, unlike banks, they don’t like to let you spend over your limit. Some will allow it, so just make sure you get one that doesn’t.
Then every month, you can pay it off from your checking and be okay. Just keep that balance low and when the credit card tries to up your balance over time (they want to get your money), deny it and have them not up the limit.
Lastly, you want to get your monthly bills down as low as humanly possible, so that you HAVE more wiggle room in your budget.
Keep bills low, so you have more money
Having enough of a cushion every month is so vital when you are married and dealing with TWO people using a checking account.
You want to strive to have a cushion of $300-$500/month when you’re first starting out (your first goal) to live below your means.
I’ve written a post all about the 20 ways to save money on your monthly bills here. There may be some things you haven’t thought about or tried yet, in order to get your monthly bills lower!
Getting those bills lower will help your overall financial picture and help you guys to stop arguing so much about finances to boot! 🙂