When you’re tight on money and considering filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. every dollar matters. It’s important to know where your money is going so you can budget properly. But, in this age of convenience services, it’s easy to lose track of it. We’re often encouraged to set up automatic bill pay for our utilities, direct deposit for our paychecks, and paperless bank statements. Sure, it’s “green” but it becomes much easier to miss errors. We are generally bad at reviewing these statements and it costs us.
For example, I received my cable bill online today and noticed that it was $10 more than normal. If I had it on automatic bill pay, I may not have noticed that charge in my bank account balance. It turns out I had a free Showtime promotion that had expired on the most recent billing cycle (I didn’t even know that I had Showtime for the last 6 months). Anyway, it took some time to situation but it was worth it. $10 doesn’t sound like a lot but it works out to $120 per year. There are plenty of places to spend that money instead of spending it on a channel I didn’t even know I had.
The other thing happens more than you might realize is a random deduction comes out of your paycheck that you’re not aware of. Sometimes it’s a garnishment. Although you should have received notice of the garnishment order, they occasionally slip past people. A garnishment can take up to 25% of your income in Ohio. That’s a lot of money to be missing. If your income fluctuates anyway and you get direct deposit, you can easily miss it.
Finally, it’s important to reconcile your checking statements. Compare your deposit receipts to ensure the deposits were done properly. Occasionally, numbers are transposed. Ensure that the checks you wrote that month were cashed. Check for duplicate charges. Make sure that you did not inadvertently authorize someone to take a monthly charge from your checking account.
It might feel like a lot of work at first, but it’s your money. Know where it’s going.