Avoiding overdrafts: 6 tips for avoiding money missteps

How to keep from having more month than money.

With our busy, on-the-go lives, it’s not unusual for money to be coming out of our bank accounts daily. Sometimes without us even remembering that it’s being spent. It can go quickly. That’s why we need to stay on top of it to avoid those money missteps (and prevent overdraft fees and penalties in the process). Here are 6 ways to do that.

Stay connected - 24/7

We can interact with our bank in so many ways these days. So take advantage of the fact that we can check our account at any time - whether we’re sitting at home on the couch, or on a road trip to the lake. This way we’ll always know what our money is up to.

Put it on the calendar

One way we can make sure we’re accounting for all the things coming out of our account each month is to plot our bills on a calendar. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we’re auto paying a bill on a certain day. Or we have a check in the mail that’s not accounted for when we view our account balance. Put down the days those amounts are coming out of the account to make sure you don’t lose track.

Set up smart overdraft

Mistakes can happen and we might overdraw our account. But we can avoid making that mistake even more costly with the right set up. Smart use of overdraft protection moves money from savings to checking to cover a shortage in your account. Doing this avoids the fees that can come with an overdraft.

Put computers to work for you

Take advantage of the power of technology and get notified before you make a money misstep. Set up mobile alerts - either through an app or text - that let you know when your checking account goes below a certain amount.

Build a budget (yeah, we said it)

This seems pretty elementary - but building and continuously following a budget is a smart way to avoid spending more than we have in the bank. Sure, budgeting sounds as enjoyable as a root canal for some. But it can be our secret weapon in fighting money missteps. It helps us map out the money we need each month - letting us know whether or not we should stop for that latest flavored latte or that sweet pair of shoes. This might be a good time to revisit your budget or start a new one from scratch. Our budget worksheet is a handy guide to make that process as painless as possible.

Show your money who's boss.

Do you work for your money or does your money work for you? Find out how you can be master of your money. Get the free ebook.

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Excited smiling man making two fists wearing glasses and a beige t-shirt.
Excited smiling man making two fists wearing glasses and a beige t-shirt.

Become emergency-proof

Unexpected expenses can pop up and cause us to overspend. It might be a medical bill. Maybe we wake up one morning to a flat tire. Or the heater might go out just as a snowstorm is about to hit. Whatever it is - it’s not something we’re planning on happening that month. If we had emergency-proof money, we’d take care of that bill and not miss a beat. Being emergency-proof means the freedom from worrying about that unexpected stuff. That’d be pretty great, huh? Here’s how you can get started.

Nobody likes an overdraft. The good news is that it’s not hard to sidestep these missteps. Just follow the 6 tips. They’ll help make you the master of your money.

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