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The 1 Trick I Learned To Stop Overdrawing My Bank Account


Confession: I am bad with money. I overdraw my bank account more frequently than is acceptable for an adult. What’s worse is that since I don’t make a lot of money, that means the consequences are a little more serious, guys. It’s embarrassing. However, I read somewhere that when you grow up without a lot of cashola, you pick up these really bad habits. So even when things are stable you still have these horrible spending patterns because you get used to money being this temporary, elusive thing. Apparently, it’s common for poor people who win the lottery to squander all of their millions and end up in debt.

Supposedly, and I think there is truth to it, that when you don’t have a lot you’re used to immediately spending it to pay bills, utilities, etc.. Then when you get a bit extra, instead of saving it, you spend it on something you normally couldn’t spend money on like gifts for yourself or others. I am grateful to have any kind of job in this economy and at this age, so by no means am I complaining about my income. I am more hitting myself over the head on my inability to conserve the money I have. Look, it’s not a lot, but it’s a manageable amount for me to live off of, yet week after week I find myself freaking out when I look at my bank account.

Just two weeks ago my bank account was overdrawn for the first time since my super broke days in college. I miscalculated the money I had by one day’s public transportation. So I overdrew my bank account for a $5 subway card, then (of course!) Netflix charged my bank account! What a serendipitous occasion! Naturally I was charged with a $35 overdraft fee. Thanks, Chase!

I got so pissed with myself that I needed to find a way to limit my spending and I figured something out that maybe is pretty obvious to you guys but hopefully the bad spenders out there can benefit from this tip. You guys, I just opened another bank account so that I could separate my money . . .

Like 90% of New Yorkers, I bank with Chase and they will let you open as many checking accounts as you want. Since I already had Chase College Checking (which is free for college students!) I just filled out the application for a new checking account online. This took approximately 2 minutes and then I was almost immediately approved. I opened a new checking account versus a savings account because the money is intended to be spent for my real expenses and I don’t want any penalties for making withdrawals.

You see, I don’t spend money because I need to buy 1,234,924 sweaters, I spend money because I have it. Out of sight, out of mind—when it comes to money with me. So using one debit card as my primary account and having another where I put my rent and utilities is just a way of me tricking myself into thinking I only have a certain amount of money.

If I don’t do this I’ll just keep spending and spending and saying to myself, “I’ll just take rent out of the next check,” which will leave my with about $50 for the following two weeks. I am never doing that again. I am finally going to be accountable for my finances. I don’t want to be one of those people who wakes up one day with absolutely nothing, like Carrie Bradshaw, because she spent all her money on ugly expensive shoes.

[Shutter Stock / Lana K]

Emerald is an editor at CollegeCandy, lover of coffee, and pretend francophile. After studying writing and popular culture at NYU she decided to be a grownup and get a job. Tweet at ya' girl @EmeraldGritty.