When I write checks, I have the $$ in the account to cover them. But then people hold them and don't cash them! One school took nearly 3 weeks to cash a check. Another is still holding one after 2 weeks. A third person has been holding a check for nearly 3 weeks. I'd like to think that the $$ is still in the account, but I know that I have to rebalance and cover them, which effectively means I now have less $$ because they wouldn't go to the bank. Grrr.
I'm not completely sure I understand why you are upset.
Once you write a check you must consider that money gone, it is spent and no longer yours.
If you keep an updated running balance on your check ledger, you will know exactly how much money you have to spend at the moment regardless if people have cashed their checks or not.
Perhaps a different way to think about your account is like this, you don't have any MORE money in your account because someone hasn't cashed a check. Your current balance is your balance the minute AFTER checks are written, not when checks are cashed.
If you keep an updated running balance, you won't need to do any rebalancing and you won't be frustrated by people who can't/don't get to their banks as soon as you wish they would.
There is no way around not having to reconcile your bank account balances unless you go totally check free.
idk if you can use cash for those instances, but that's why we began paying daycare with cash. She'd want the money asap but wait 2 weeks to cash it.
edit: What Parker said is true, but I've never been a balancer. Yes, I'm an adult and I know it's what should be done, but I forget. And now EVERYTHING is checking...we have debit cards and it's harder (yes it's an excuse). So we use cash a lot now.
teacherwriter: I understand exactly why you are upset! You probably look at your online bank statement more than your check ledger to check on your balance. It definitely is a pain when it takes people a long time to cash a check.
Yeah, that's it. I do look frequently at the online balance but don't always keep the ledger up-to-date. I balance the book probably twice a month based on the online report. When I do so, I have to account for the checks that I wrote but which haven't been cashed, of course, and that's where the problem is--people get checks but don't cash them, so I have to keep setting the $ aside until they do cash them. If I ran the paper ledger, I might not have this problem; the $$ would already be in there and set aside. Hm. Could it be that the paper report is better than online? Horrors!
I am guilty of hanging on to checks. Here is how I see it... It is my money and I can do with it as I please. My bank has horrible hours and I am working all the time or driving one of our kids somewhere. With 4 kids and a full time job we are always on the go and never near the bank. I am old fashioned but I don't deposit money into the MAC machines -- I don't feel comfortable. That may sound crazy - but it works for me. That leaves me up to the mercy of the bank hours and my schedule. Two weeks is the norm for me to go before cashing checks and it is often 3 or more. I don't get a lot of checks (pay is direct deposited) so I usually wait until I have a couple of checks before heading to the bank. We do make a point to try to go to the bank once a month. We do everything online rarely use cash so with the exception of a check or two a month, there is no reason to go to the bank. I guess I never really worried about the what it was doing to the other person's account -- now I will probably think twice before skipping that bank run. I just never imagined that it would cause a problem since they knew that they had handed that money over, they would have a record that the money was no longer available for them.
Perhaps it's my age (30's), but I can't tell you the last time that I wrote a check or had someone write me one. I pay every bill online and conduct all of my banking online and through ATM's. My credit union doesn't have a physical space to walk into and conduct business. I have a check book, but I couldn't begin to tell you where it is.
I'm sure that it's tough to have your money tied up and people not making deposits, but I guess that's the risk that you take once you give them the check.
I still pay most of my bills with checks and use them from time to time for other types of payments (school fundraisers, for example). Part of my routine when writing a check is to immediately subtract it from my balance in my checkbook ledger. I honestly thought everyone did that! It's impossble to bounce a check that way.
I would drive you crazy.
I hate when people write me a check because I almost never go to the bank. My paycheck is directly deposited, and my bills are either auto paid (mortgage and a few others) or I pay online. I use an ATM when I need cash. Going to the bank is kind of a hassle and something I just don't think to do. Therefore, when I do have a check, it sits in my wallet until I get around to cashing it. Sorry to all I'm causing problems for!
I hate getting checks, too. It's so hard to get to the bank and deposit it, so I don't get immediate use of it, and the person might have to wait a while. I can understand that it's frustrating for you if you look at the online availability- you do have to constantly mentally readjust for any uncashed checks. Parker had good points- you definitely don't have any less money, you just have to think of it as gone, which is a pain to mentally do each time.
I also agree with a pp- once I get the check, it's mine. I try to cash as soon as I'm able, but it's my piece of paper to do with what I'd like. I could eat it, if I wanted
I am guilty of keeping cheques for a while too. I had two people write them in mid-December and I still haven't cashed them. The problem is that my bank only has one branch in the city and it's on the other side of town, so I rarely have a chance to get there. It's in an area I don't go to very often unless I have a specific need, so I kind of just forget about it because I do all the rest of my banking online.