This is a story of the troubles that ensue when you live paycheck to paycheck and your paycheck is late.
My husband has been at the same job for 15 years and has without fail, been paid on time via direct deposit. Paid on time and in full every 15th and last day of the month for the past 15 YEARS! And even-though, with all my technophobia (my budget is still on paper), I have had such faith in the timely paycheck deposits that I automated ALL of our payments, bills, investments. The mortgage is automated for the 1st and most of the rest of the bills (car insurance, car, electric, phone, credit cards…) are all set up to be paid on the 15th.
This was all going along swimmingly, until this Monday, March the 15th.
I had a feeling something was amiss on Saturday when the paycheck wasn’t listed in “pending” on the banks website. If payday falls on a Monday it ALWAYS has been deposited after midnight on Friday night, although it won’t actually “clear” until Monday. I really felt uncomfortable on Sunday morning when it still wasn’t there. I stayed up Sunday night into the wee hours of Monday morning because the knot in my stomach was getting larger by the minute and was hoping against hope it was going to go in there.
I had 16 scheduled payments automated to come out of that checking account on Monday the 15th.
I freaked, it wasn’t there Monday morning by 7am. I scrambled to every website where a payment was scheduled to be made, canceling the payment, hoping it would cancel this late in the game. Trying to remember 16 logins and passwords and clumsily navigating websites I hadn’t visited in months. One website was “Experiencing Technical Difficulties” – “Try Back Later”, *sigh*. I was picturing an endless, disgusting cascade of bounced checks. 16 Bounced checks would = $576 in NSF Fees!!! I eventually figured out how to, and did cancel all the payments.
I called the bank. “No, we see no incoming deposits”. CRAP, the Ides of March got us.
As a SAHM, I say all the time, “I work, I just don’t get paid.” Apparently now, my husband does too.
He gets to work Monday morning, with the office all abuzz and comes to find, “a glitch with the payroll company and the problem will be resolved and deposits will be made by end of business.” And it was, at around 3pm the deposit went in the bank. Magically, it bypassed “pending deposits” and went straight to “available balance.” He was paid in full and on time (it was the 15th).
Now I had to login back in to 16 different websites and redo the payments.
The bills and payments were in no danger of being late, but I liked paying them early and the money left over on the 16th was “uncommitted money”. Our milk money, if you will. I never doubted it would be more than 2 days or so that he would get paid, but the drama of having A LOT of money set to come out of an account where there was NO MONEY was too much stress to bear.
I’ve UN-automated all our payments. No more “scheduling payments” or “automated bill pay”. We’re going old school. Well, I’m not going to write actual paper checks or anything that crazy, but I will pay each bill individually after I make sure the paycheck is in the bank.
We can’t afford to take the chance…