Monday, January 28, 2013

It Never Hurts to Ask

I recently overdrew my checking account.  Naturally, I was mortified, and I wasn't planning to tell anyone about it, but since I just published this information on the internets, you can see I've gotten over my embarrassment.  Yes, it's shameful that I forgot about a check that I wrote, and I admit that I did math incorrectly, but I ended up with a series of events beyond my control that resulted in me overdrawing my account, but also making some changes for the positive.
  1. I didn't get my gas bill in December.  Usually my gas and electric bills arrive around the same time at the beginning of the month. Last month, the gas bill never came, and I just didn't notice.  Then, a couple weeks ago, I got one, paid it, and then looked at it to see that it had been due December 28th.  Then I got another one two days later.  Double paying my gas bill meant eating up more of the monetary cushion I leave in my checking account.
  2. Car tax was due.  Car tax is due quarterly, and has to be paid for by writing a check since I'd have to pay a fee for electronic payment (no thank you).  I'm really bad at remembering I've written checks, which is why I try to avoid doing it!  So that was another odd amount of money coming out of my checking account, even though I had it on my calendar and knew it was coming.
  3. I'm bad at math.  I thought I had everything figured out, and that there was just enough money in there to cover it, but I overdrew my account by $4.
So I was assessed a $29 overdraft fee by my bank (I don't have overdraft protection because I never overdraw!).  Thankfully, they didn't bounce the check for my car tax, and I moved money over from my savings account about an hour after I noticed I was overdrawn (yes, I check my bank balance several times a day.  Call me crazy, but it comes in handy).

I was ready to accept the fee as just a tax on my stupidity, but then I remembered that I actually have a nice bank with good customer service.  I also have never overdrawn my account before, and that has to count for something!  So I sent them an email saying just that, I've never overdrawn my account before, is there any way I can get a pass this one time.  Within an hour, I got an email back saying, that's no problem, the money will be refunded by the end of tomorrow.

Because this is money I had already mentally spent, I decided it counts as bonus money and I quickly transferred it to my travel fund.  So, lesson learned: even though it sometimes feels awkward, it really doesn't hurt to ask, and it might save you $29.

Double bonus, because I didn't get my gas bill until way late, that prompted me to look at their website again and see that I can now sign up for e-billing, which was not previously available.  Less paper, less chance of a bill getting lost!


  1. The last paragraph is a bit confusing - you mean you CAN sign up for ebilling?

    Anyway, I wish my bank were cool like that. I'd be happy if they updated my account more than once a day, and sooner than five days after I've used my card.

    I need a new bank.


    1. Yup. That was my typical not/now typo. FIXED!