Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Anticipatory online chequebook balancing

For the intersection of Luddite and Technophile
  [vote for,

Once upon a time, when you wished to give someone more money than you had in your wallet, you wrote out the amount and payee on a little decorated slip of paper called a 'cheque', which they take to the bank, who then gives them the money on your behalf. To make sure you didn't give them more money than you had in your bank account, you kept a little register of cheque transactions, subtracting each payment from your records of your account as you made it. How quaint! The ways of olden days, before the debit card and online payments!

. . . except that in many cases, this is still the simplest and best way to move money about.

However, in the land of debit cards, it's no longer simple to keep track of transactions in a little register. You have to carry it around, and remember. If like me you're accustomed to checking your balance online, it's a hard habit to acquire. However, online balances are misleading. Cheques that have been wirtten out but have yet to be presented to the bank lurk, Chekhov's cheques, to be drawn out just when you had forgotten that you wrote them. Online balances also don't show money you plan to spend on a large debit card purchase, or credit card payments you need to pay off, or the like. My bank, at least, does offer a tool called Projected Balance, but it can only project recurring automatic payments.

There should be an option to enter, online, money you plan to spend, or money on a cheque you've just mailed, and have it 'subtracted' from your account as you enter it. When a transaction actually came through that matched your anticipated transaction, the anticpated transaction would be deleted.

In this way you don't have to carry around a register and remember to fill it out every time you use your debit card, but you are not misled as to how much money you have to spare.

gisho, May 20 2010

Or you could pay for absolutely everything by cheque. http://en.wikipedia...wiki/Jerry_Springer
[mouseposture, May 25 2010]


       + I use an old-fashioned ledger sheet and a spreadsheet for noting yearly large items (insurance, property tax, etc.) and the anticipated date and amount.   

       It would be great to integrate this into the register function so as to be able to accurately predict when I could spare a grand or so to fuel up the yacht.
csea, May 20 2010

       // a grand or so to fuel up the yacht. //   

       Cheap yacht ...
8th of 7, May 20 2010

       I would attempt to create an idea for a piano-fueled yacht, but I'm not certain how it would differ from any old wood burner. Perhaps some octave - octane boosting effect.
normzone, May 20 2010

       A lot of kinetic energy in those tightened strings. The pitch could gradually drop as energy is removed for propulsion, and when it was uncomfortably deep-voiced you could call the piano tuner.
pocmloc, May 20 2010

       Oh dear god YES YES YES. [+] and more if I could give 'em.
awesomest, May 20 2010

       Good idea. Also, //Chekov's cheques// is worth a bun on its own.
mouseposture, May 20 2010

       Little does [8th of 7] know that [csea] needs to accurately predict at what interval of seconds he can shovel a stack of benjamins into his burner without decreasing the depth of his lake filled with money, lest his gold hull gets scraped by the rocky diamond floor which lies kilometers beneath.
rcarty, May 21 2010

       Aw, c'mon, guys, my modest yacht only requires the usual shovelling of dollars into the hole in the water it displaces.
csea, May 21 2010

       Just save the receipts for all transactions and stuff them into your checkbook when you get home?
RayfordSteele, May 24 2010

       //Just save the receipts for all transactions and stuff them into your checkbook when you get home?//   

       Yes, that's what I do, but this standard practice doesn't benefit from [gisho]'s clever anticipatory idea.
csea, May 25 2010

       The question "what is my balance"? Is already a tricky one - most banks offer a straight balance, along with an "authorised balance" and then, in addition they might provide you with an "available balance". Each balance depends on what transactions they are aware are coming over the account, and which of those they choose to include.   

       But the only real way of determining the value of your real, actual balance - as you point out - is to keep your own records and reconcile them daily against your bank-statement, leaving the unreconciled items as your adjustment figure. A place on your online account screen to do that might come in handy, but if you're serious about it, it may be better to get into the habit of doing that it in a little book, or on a spreadsheet somewhere.
zen_tom, May 25 2010

       // save the receipts for all transactions //   

       But whores, drug dealers and hit men rarely give receipts ...
8th of 7, May 25 2010

       They rarely take debit cards, either.
RayfordSteele, May 25 2010

       But they might take personal cheques. <link>
mouseposture, May 25 2010


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