Do You Have the Money Transfer Bug?

money-256319_1280This post was written by Sarah Greasonbach

My husband and I are still a few weeks into our first time coordinating a Financial Peace University class. It’s been insanely awesome so far, even if I’m not the biggest fan of talking in front of a large group.

The first few lessons of the course revolve around analyzing your spending habits and writing them down on your paper budget. Fun right? (It’s not). It’s especially not fun if you’re a technology-savvy guy or gal like me.

I love spreadsheets. I love quick-add columns. I love moving things around and trying new approaches without having to erase anything. And I especially love being able to transfer money in and out of my account whenever I need to, even if it’s not great for my financial health.

I realized this might be a bad habit when I said it aloud in the group discussion and I got a few weird looks. Apparently most people analyze their budget, transfer their money, and then…. Leave it there. There’s no checking in two or three times a day, moving a few dollars here and there or transferring money in to cover a surprise expense. It’s all taken care of in advance and they don’t check in more than once or twice a month.

…. That’s not me! I don’t know if it’s because I am on an infrequent pay period and we have money coming in all month (and never a set amount, at that), or if I’m just account-happy and we have too many “holding places” for money as it waits to be sent to a bill, but I got to wondering if I was all that weird.

The thought of not checking in on my accounts or being able to make transfers when I need to scares me! It makes me wonder if all my numbers add up perfectly, or if I’ve forgotten about an automatic bill that will cause an overdraft. I also wonder about how my husband’s transactions will hit the account (give or take a dollar for a gas tank fill-up, for example) and whether or not he’s paying attention to the balance.

Now, this is probably where Dave Ramsey’s cash envelopes system will work so well for us. There’s no overdrafting when it’s cash in an envelope. And so we recommit to using those envelopes for gas, food, medical co-pays, and spending money.

Do you check in on or manipulate your online finance accounts often? How often is often? And do you think it affects how much you spend?