“Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Saturday, at least for ten more minutes.

I spent most of today trying to balance an account.  There's a two hundred dollar discrepency between my "Quicken" records and the bank.  Usually it's an oversight, something I've forgotten to enter into Quicken. But I recently developed a tracking chart to prevent that, and as far as I can tell it isn't one of those problems.

Since all the members of my family use our debit card, there are a lot of transactions. Once upon a time, I balanced that account every day.  It was easy to do with computer access to the bank records, and took little time. Then the day came when I needed help on tracking down a two dollar discrepancy that I thought was a bank error (it was.)  The book keeping department told me they needed me to reconcil with the monthly statement only. I think it's more likely they just didn't want to fiddle with two dollars. But ,  I don't care if I am off one cent or one hundred dollars, I want to balance.  So I started balancing once a month when the statement came, which makes it a lot harder to find errors.

The thing about a debit card that reeks is that you see a charge, but it's not exact. Often, especially gas stations,  will put in a "holding charge" that is just an estimate. Then in a couple of days the real charge comes through. Since I don't get receipts from the kids (it's impractical) I often get tripped up by this and have to sort it out at balancing.

Before computers I just used a spread sheet pad and I never had a problem. Well, it will give me something to do tomorrow.

I got out in the Jeep and drove around some today just to get out of the house, despite the rain. Big trees down all over the place, and across the roads in particular. There was a time when I would have taken the truck and the chain saw and got the trees off the paved roads. Now I let the younger crowd handle that. Especially on a day like today when it's steady rain. A few minutes ago I went out and I saw stars, but the clouds are back now.

I bought a big thing of chicken salad at the store and I ate it all for supper, and now I feel lousy. Too rich, and I'm not used to it.  Guess I'll go on to bed here shortly, not a bad day but I can't say I got a lot done.




20 comments:

  1. Sounds about like my day though I did get a few lingering tasks completed which was good. Left the house just to go somewhere and ended up having an early dinner at a local restaurant.

    On a side note I recall you had a meme of the George Orwell rifle quote with a picture of an AK. Can you either repost it or send it to me via email? Thanks in advance, Ryan

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    1. That still sounds like a good day. I posted the picture you wanted.

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  2. Arrrgh! I feel your pain. I also hate it when bank re-cons / accounting programs don't match. Especially when invariably it's because I have had a senior moment and entered an amount transposing just two numbers... Grrrrrr!! What a waste of time.

    Good luck!

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    1. I am really pretty good at accounting, and even with the debit card transactions I should never be that much off. I imagine I'll find the mistake in the morning, I just got burned out on it today. It does get harder to do as you get older, you're right.

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  3. Can't say I bother with bank stuff. I only use my debit card and I check the online transactions and never seen a problem. Of course I am the only one using it so I know if a charge was entered wrong. I have caught a couple of places double charging me a few times but I just go take it up with them. I guess it would be different if I had others using the account but I am thankful that's one headache I don't have to worry about.

    Gee Harry what are you gonna do when fuel is $10.00 or more a gallon? I know you and I differ on this but for a guy who wanted a secluded retreat you seem to have the need to get away from it an awful lot. If it wasn't for the need to bring in a little money I doubt I would ever leave my place except when I had to pick something up.

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  4. I need to get out and at least take a drive through the forest, or go to the gas station and sit on the bench with a cup of coffee. I get to feeling really ancy sometimes.

    I balance all my statements. I always have. I wouldn't trust a bankster or a brokerage house any further than I could throw them.

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  5. What screws me up in QuickBooks is when I transpose debits/credits. If I paid out $20 from checking and used it to buy office supplies it should debit checking and credit office supplies. But sometimes I enter them backwards...that doubles the amount so instead of by $20 I'm actually off by $40. My experience has been that if the amount Im off by is an even number, to split it in half and look to see where that amount is posted. I've spent hours and hours tracking down $2 discrepancies.

    None of my business, and Im asking out of curiosity, but I was under the impressison your kids are grown...are they not earning enough to cover their own bills?

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  6. Yes, they both have decent jobs. But their mother and I like to call up and say "why don't you all go to the sports bar and have wings" or " You've had a tough day today, why don't you order pizza" It makes us feel good, it doesn't cost much, and it shows them that just because they have moved, that doesn't mean they are not as important to us as they ever were. My kids are my best friends (if you don't count my ferrets of course.) ;-)

    It also allows us to react to emergencies up there. My daughter has Ehlers Danlos syndrome, and she has heavy medical expenses.

    There are all sorts of things that can screw you up with double entry bookkeeping. I find that most of the time I have forgotten to enter something, which is why I use a visual cross check system.

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    1. Man, I wish my folks would drop pizza and bar food in my lap 'just because'. I think I got ripped off in the parent department.........

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    2. You should have grown up on an isolated mountain top , near a town that consisted of a gas station, a grocery store, and a bill board for the police to hide behind. It makes for a very tight knit family.

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  7. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)

    I do everything in cash. everything!

    I use the stupid atm to pull cash out and I use the receipt to show how much cash I have left in my account for bills.

    It makes life a lot easier that way.....

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  8. But how do you make hotel reservations, or buy books and dvd' s on line, or make airline reservations, or do any of the many things you have to use the plastic fantastic for. I pay my bills off but we couldn't get by without that capability. My wife has to go to conferences and we would be sunk if we couldn't make her reservations on line. I know you lead an admirably simple life but still, cash only is very limiting isn't it?

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    1. Harry,

      (captaincrunch)

      I use a credit card for buying stuff online then I pay the balance off the next month. I don't buy dvd's I wait and watch movies online from ITunes when they get cheap, like $4.99 to rent. I have a large computer monitor that makes it easy to watch tv and movies online. Books I get used online and sometimes I sell them to a chain used book store and sometimes I break even on the cost of book or make money on the resell (on a side note, I just finished that super volcano book, it started slow and then really picked up)

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    2. You have a good system going there CC. It's really the best way, not to spend money or just spend a little. I'm afraid I'm too plugged into the internet for it to work for me. I need a lot of things I can't get here at all, and the net lets me buy without having to drive three hours rounds trip to do it. My hope is that if and when the net goes down for the count, I won't need a lot of things and it won't matter, at least in that department.

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  9. I understand that it is a real pain in the ASSets. My folks each had different banks. Sometimes my dad would forget his check book and mom would write the check. When they got home dad would write mom a check to cover. A good friend never carries his check book or C.C. It drives his wife crazy. He tells her if he wants something bad enough he will get them and go back. I have a debt card but not with a local bank. It is getting old. I can't do pay at the pump for gas. I have the govt. debit card, that is going to change in a few weeks. My boys cashed their pay checks and had cash on them, but the bank pressured them to open a accounts, (and they get hit with fees.) I told them not too but they make their own choices. I too have quicken and need to learn to use it more.

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    1. Because I am a Geezer, I get my checks free and there are no fees on my checking accounts. The downside is, nobody really takes checks anymore. I don't write checks to pay my bills because I can use the banks on line bill pay and I don't have to pay postage. The debit card has been a mixed blessing, it's more convenient but at the same time, it has essentially transformed my family into a "cashless" organization. So now I have to enter my wife's $1.00 purchase of a glass of tea in that checking account, where before I would have entered it in a cash account that is easier to balance.

      I guess there isn't really any good way to manage your "money" these days. I bet I don't see $50.00 a month in cash because I never carry any. Everything is electronic. Quicken is a good program. I don't need Quick books, but I used it for many years at work. Quicken is much simpler.

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  10. When I used to reconcile cash we would look for the debit/credit issue if it were an even number (or just typing in the wrong number). If the difference was an odd number, it was likely a transposition. We use debit at gas stations, our will often hit us with a $1 charge to see if the card works and then the actual comes the next day. Hope you find the error!

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    1. Those are good rules. I think in this case I just missed doing an entry, and I am about to start running down the statement against the register and see what pops up, or doesn't. I have all the print outs sitting at my elbow. I look at it with dread and annoyance.

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  11. I try to use cash for everything.

    It sounds like paranoia bit I prefer cash because it leaves less of a paper trail.

    I've had fed.gov ask me about purchases based on debit/credit cards and now I pay cash. If I need something off AMAZON or the like I get a pre-paid Amazon gift card or whatever and have it shipped to a rental mailbox at a place that keeps lousy records.

    I know that sounds all tin foil hat but you'd be surprised how much your sphincter can clench up when some fed.gov scumbag starts asking you about purchases that ar none of their business (They had cast a net for folks buying from a certain company and I was in it for ordering some gun parts).

    Pay cash.

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    1. I think you are fully justified in your precautions. I know some long time acquaintances who go much further than that. It does not sound paranoid at all to me, especially in light of events in this part of the country over the last five years.

      In my case, I have an FFL (C&R), a concealed carry permit, and I've been writing exasperated letters to politicians for more than thirty years. I figure I don't have a lot to hide, and I'm really getting too old to be much concern to the Feds anyway if the truth is told. Or, maybe I"m old enough that I just don't worry as much as I should.

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