Friday, August 17, 2012

1058 Checkbook Roundup

1058 Checkbook Roundup

Yippie-yi-o-ki-yay, podners.  We’ve found a way to solve one of humankind’s Great Problems, balancing your checkbook!

It’s simple, but you have to give it time.

Instead of paying your bills and filling out the check register, round up to the next full dollar and write the check for that.  Then reconcile.

Now wait... it’s not as stupid as it sounds.  It’s even patriotic, because it encourages saving.   Those pennies add up.

Say your electric bill is $157.85.  No one but hermits pay that little. But it’s just an example.   So you write a check for $158.00.   You overpay the electric company by 15 cents.  Probably, if you can afford electricity at all, you can afford the 15 cents.

This is going to annoy the electric company.  But that’s just a side benefit.  You write $158 in the register.  Next bill, they will tell you that you used electricty for which they want $189.05.  But since you’ve already overpaid by 15 cents, they can only bill you for $188.90.  You pay $189.  At some point you might earn a free month.  But in the intervening time, you get to deduct round figures from your check register and get make the electric company unhappy... not as unhappy as they make you.  But unhappy, nevertheless.

Oh... if your income check is in dollars and cents, round DOWN to the next dollar when you enter it into your checkbook.  Everything becomes round numbers.

Credit cards, telephone, cell phone cable TV, the doctor, the lawyer, the Indian Chief, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker.  (Most candlestick makers today charge round numbers.  So pay the bill as it’s written.)

After awhile, all your transactions will be simple to add and subtract and while your balance will be a bit inaccurate, you will be accumulating credit with the people who bill you for stuff.

So your checkbook will balance.  And you’ll get the added bonus of aggravating all of the billers.  It will cost you only nickels and dimes and your monthly battle with the bank statement will take you ten minutes instead of ten hours as you chase down that errant three cents that make no sense.

You’re overpaying for everything already.  Why not pay a little more, irritate your suppliers and reduce your monthly frustration, and your blood pressure, podner.

Shrapnel (Nickels and Dimes edition):

--Poor beleaguered JC Penney is trying something like this.  No prices ending in cents.  Everything is $Something.00.  It’s not working all that well for them, at least not yet.  But it will work well for you.

--Even the IRS wants round figures in many cases.  No one’s ever been audited for sending them a check for $2,300 when you owe $2,299.17.  And sometimes, they even return the change.

--But even we campaigners for round number are only 99 44/100ths behind the policy.  Eliminating the penny would be unforgiveable. Except at the gas pump.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2012

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