Reason #297 I Love Budgeting: When Someone Finally Cashes a Check I Wrote, It Doesn't Wreck My Day


About six weeks ago I wrote a $400 check to a doctor. He must have stuffed it in the glove box of his BMW*, because weeks past and the check didn’t post to my account. I actually started hoping he’d lost the check (don’t judge me), but a few days ago the check finally cleared and the $400 left my bank account.

So, who cares?

Well, in my pre-budgeting days, this is how it would have gone:

  1. I write the check.
  2. I forget about it.
  3. Doc stuffs check in glove box.
  4. Weeks pass as I go on living my paycheck-to-paycheck, close to redline life.
  5. Doc’s auto detailing guy finds check in glove box, gives it to Doc, who finally deposits it.
  6. Check overdraws my checking account; I say bad words (hopefully under my breath if the kids are around).

Thanks to budgeting (with YNAB), it goes like this instead:

  1. I write the check and record it in my checking account register (in YNAB).
  2. I forget about it.
  3. Doc stuffs check in glove box.
  4. Weeks pass as I go on living the budgeted life.
  5. Doc’s auto detailing guy finds check in glove box, gives it to Doc, who finally deposits it.
  6. I notice the check has posted, mark the transaction as “Cleared” in my budget (which updates my cleared checking account balance, but not my working balance**), and go on about my day.

That’s budgeting bliss. Fewer surprises, fewer bad words, and less stress.

*He actually did drive a BMW, but I made up the part about the auto detailing guy. Is it really that big a stretch?

**If you’d like to learn the difference between “cleared balance” and “working balance”, take a 34-day free trial of YouNeedABudget. You’ll be glad you did.