I wrote in August about the secondary checking account we’d opened for my husband, and I thought I would share an update on how that is working out.
As far as I’m concerned, it is working out pretty good. The main perk for me is that I’m no longer having to worry myself every moment about our main checking account. We used to have a bit more breathing room financially when our youngest son still lived at home and was contributing $250 room and board. Unfortunately my husband’s business struggles to make overhead so not a lot can be contributed to the household expenses. This means that the bulk of the money going into the main account is from my employment, which does not cover our budget. I still need an additional $250 from somewhere each month, in order to make ends meet. Usually this comes from Mr. A’s business, while other months it must come from my slowly growing logging income.
One of the complaints my husband had about our main checking account was that it allowed him to continue to use the debit card when I had told him there was no more money left to spend.
It allowed him to continue spending for two reasons: 1) I had bills scheduled for payment which had not yet deducted from the account so money was sitting in the account 2) I have overdraft payment set up. I like it that way. I know some people hate it, but for the way I manage my account, I like the safety feature. When I am the only one using the account, I have a pretty good idea of what is in the account at all times. But I am not perfect, and I have on occasion made a mistake and found myself overdrawn because I’d forgotten about an upcoming payment. However, the overdraft was not a problem because I keep money in my savings in the event that should ever happen.
My husband has been pleased with the secondary account because when the money is gone, the debit card tells him. At least it did in the beginning. And I was sure he was imagining things until I asked the bank and they said as long as he presses debit and uses his pin, the gas pumps should tell him how much is available for purchase. But that feature seems to have stopped working all the time. As a result, a few days ago he went over by $19.24. I happened to log in and saw that this had happened. I moved $40 over to cover it. I was not sure if they would end up charging an overdraft fee since the account does not have overdraft. They did not end up charging us an overdraft fee and I am going to have to call them to find out exactly how this works.
I called my husband to let him know he had overdrawn his account and he was annoyed that this had happened. He wanted to know how could it happen?
He said, “Why doesn’t it stop me from making the purchase and tell me there is only such and such amount left on the card. Like at Home Depot, when I use a gift card, it only allows me to pay for as much as is on the card and then I have to pay for the rest a different way.”
Ah. I realized that somehow he got the impression this card was like a gift card, or preloaded card.
I told him that even though the bank should stop him before he overspends, it is still his responsibility to keep track of how much he’s spent. I still shake my head at this. I cannot fathom willy-nilly using a debit card without keeping track of how much money is left in the account.
I told him the way people used to keep track is they wrote checks and kept a check register. You start out with a set amount of money and for every purchase you write it down and then you subtract and come up with a balance. That way you know how much money is in your account at all times!
I can’t believe what a struggle it is to teach an adult how to manage money.
How about you? Is your partner savvy about finances?