When I was in college, I was always overdrafting my bank account. I was the kid who was trying to pay for just a regular fry at a campus restaurant and overdrafting my account by $2. When I was in college, this was okay because I found a loophole, Regions only charged an overdraft fee if you overdrew more than $5. I may have used this loophole a bit too much in college.
Unfortunately, Regions probably began to understand that most people overdraft for less than $5 so they got rid of that rule a while back. Today on the blog I am going to cover my seven tips so you can stop overdrafting your bank account.
1. Create A Savings Account
You can't overdraft if you can sneakily transfer over a few dollars from your savings account to your checking account before you overdraft posts. Creating a savings account is a responsible thing to do, and it helps you in a cinch if you need to make a quick transfer to cover your butt.
2. Check You Account Before You Spend Any Money
If you think that you will be short on money, check your account before you make any purchase. If you want to stop overdrafting your bank account, you need to be aware of the money you have before you spend it. Be aware that your account may not be showing any pending purchases that are about to happen! You need to be mindful of what comes out of your bank account automatically.
The best thing you can do is get a mobile banking application on your account. It's an effortless way to check your account on the go!
Check Your Account Statements Monthly
On top of checking your accounts before you spend money, do a deep dive into your account statements each month. You want to make sure that every purchase on your account is a wanted purchase. So, dig through your bank statements because you never know when you might find a purchase that you didn't authorize.
3. Set Up Alerts For Your Bank
Setting up alerts only takes a few seconds of your time, but you can set up all sorts of alerts on your bank website. You could set up alerts for significant transactions, when your bank account balance reaches a certain level, when you make any purchase on your card, etc. Different banks offer different alert options, and they all help you become more financially savvy.
4. Only Use Three Or Fewer Forms Of Payment Online/In Person
You want to condense the number of payment forms considerably, especially if all your payment types are tied back to an original money source. For example, your checking account may connect to your Paypal as well as your checks and a debit/credit card. When all of those things are tied to your bank it can make it extremely difficult to keep on top of all the spending you are doing in multiple places. Certain options take a few days to clear like Paypal or writing a check, and that muddies the waters even more. Make sure that you factor in money spent that is pending in other locations when looking at your bank account.
5. Turn Off Overdraft Protection
(Or use an overdraft protection that is tied to a savings account or credit card)
In my opinion, overdraft protection just stops you from being embarrassed in public, but it can still come back to bite you in the butt when you are spending out of control because you think you have the money to cover a purchase. Overdraft protection is helpful in those situations when you need to buy something, but you should only have overdraft protection if it's connected to a service like a credit card or savings account. This way, you can draw from those accounts to cover the overdraft that you have.
6. Get Rid Of Unnecessary Subscription Services
We all pay for things each month that we probably shouldn't pay for. These things clog up our email inbox and our bank account. Look through your bank statements or use an app like Trim to determine what your subscription services are, then cut them loose. Don't pay for anything that you don't need.
7. Keep A Minimum Balance (If Possible)
Try to keep a minimum balance in your bank account if you can. I mentioned this advice last because it is the most "no duh" of the tips I am sharing today, but I wanted to close with it. The only way to stop overdrafting your bank account is to make better money decisions. Making better money decisions includes keeping a minimum balance on your account so you can keep up your account up and running if you get a random charge you weren't expecting.
Overdrafting your bank is no fun. As the girl who has called the bank crying because of an overdraft too many times to count, I know an overdraft can be daunting. I want you to stop overdrafting your bank account, and I know that with these tips, you can do it.