What To Do If You Overdraw On Your Bank Account

Last week I woke up to a series of e-mails telling me that I overdrew on my bank account.

Not a good way to wake up.  All that red font that they use too just adds to the panic.  Stop that.

I logged in to my banking website to find out that an annual bill had come due that I thought was connected to my credit card, not my checking account.

We had the money to pay the bill, it just wasn’t in the right account.

When we have annual bills, we divide the total bill by 12 months and then put that amount away into our internet savings account each month.  That account is making 1% interest.   While 1% is not a lot, it’s better than zero percent.

The problem is, the tiny bit of interest you make is then wiped out and then some when you get hit with a $35 overdraft fee and a$35 returned check fee.  Dang.

So I’ve heard that even though Hawaii is part of the USA, it’s still considered overseas and so there are no mainland bank chains here.  That means I cannot go and deposit cash into my account to cover the overdraft.

I was pretty mad at myself for overdrafting my account.  Second time this year.  Earlier in the year I had MOVED the money from our savings account into our checking, but the transaction didn’t clear before the check cleared by one day.  I called and they wouldn’t refund the overdraft fee.  Dang again.

I knew I had a check that I had been hanging onto and mobile deposited it.  When you mobile deposit it clears the same day.  Unfortunately that amount didn’t cover the total overdraft.

I was lamenting to a friend online of my overdraft woe and he suggested I get someone to write me a check for cash.  So that’s what I did.  Handed a friend here some cash and she wrote me a check for that amount.  Mobile deposited it and I covered the overdraft.  I wasn’t convinced that I still wouldn’t get hit with fees but a few days later, no extra fees.  Phew.

What stinks is that we HAD the money to pay the bills, it just wasn’t in the right place.  I’ve since moved part of our emergency fund so that it always sits in our main bank.  It won’t be getting interest, but it will keep us from paying $70 in fees if anything like this happens again.

I highly reccomend Dave Ramsey’s book Total Money Makeover.  In this book he instructs you on some financial baby steps that we’ve tried to follow.  One of those is having an emergency fund.

My last resort was to ask my parents to find our bank in their area and deposit some cash for us.  I’m glad it didn’t have to come to that.

Also… always travel with your check book.  I RARELY write checks.  And I remember as we were packing holding my check book in my hands wondering if I should bring it.  I decided, “nah, I never write checks.”  And didn’t bring it.  Now I’m kicking myself for not, as I’m scrambling to figure out how to pay another bill that’s due in a few days.

Oh banking woes…

Do you have any finance or banking tips?  Leave a comment and let us know.


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