Life Out Loud: Quick eye for the cash guy

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I really wanted to write something today, but I’m currently obsessed with stalking my bank account. This is, I assure you, every bit as exciting as it sounds.
I finally figured out how to set up my financial software to sync with my bank account online.
Unfortunately, this means I have minute by minute access to our money, and more horrifyingly, where it’s going.
Once a reasonable person with a full life, I now spend 98 percent of my day looking at electronic banking statements on the Internet, thinking, “Man, we spend way too much money on dog grooming.”
They lick themselves for free for goodness sakes. Do we really need to PAY someone to bathe them?
Food, a necessity? Watching the numbers on the balance side of the screen slide inexorably into the red, I am also questioning certain other “essentials” such as groceries, gasoline and life insurance.
Surely, we could eat less! Three meals a day is so overrated. I think we could get by on one, maybe two, and some cheese and crackers (generic, of course).
Hey, if we are frugal enough we’ll eat better (or at the very least, less) and live longer – at least it will SEEM longer.
Either way, we’ll eliminate the need for all that life insurance so it’s a win-win situation.
Unbalanced. Meanwhile, I’m trying to reconcile the credits with the debits, but the numbers refuse to cooperate. The balance just keeps shrinking.
Clearly, there’s a deposit of like $127,000 and some change there that completely slipped my mind.
You know that old saying, “Like sand through the hourglass, so go the days of our lives?” Well, I’m having somewhat that same sensation, but it’s more like “cash through the ATM machine.”
That’s enough. Don’t those things have a cutoff? I mean, bartenders are bound by law to stop serving when you’ve clearly had enough.
We need an ATM that says, “Sorry buddy but you just took out 40 bucks yesterday and no you do NOT need another 20 today. Come back when you really NEED it, big spender!”
Used to be I could live in a state of blissful denial until I dug a fistful of faded receipts from my spouse’s dashboard.
Now I have what is appropriately termed “way too much information.”
Spending sleuth. Nonetheless, I can’t put my finger on why we keep ending up with more month than money.
It can’t be blamed on new withdrawals or old checks being cashed, because, as I already noted, I have an obsessive eye on our account.
When money comes out, believe me, I know about it. I am the ultimate “Big Brother.” Worse yet, I have cellular access to my spousal spender. Poor man.
With instant access, I brighten his day with homey missives such as, “Honey, did you just buy a bottled water at the Quick Mart 6.2 seconds ago? How many times do I have to tell you: water fountains are your friend! Drink for free, Mr. Moneybags!”
Or, he’ll hear, “Sixty-two dollars in gasoline? What’d you do, fill up the cup holders and the glove compartment too?”
He’s like a fugitive on the lam, being tracked through his debit spending.
Spousal spending. Clearly, I need help. Looking at our money and trying to understand it could easily become a hobby – albeit a particularly costly, ill-advised, and stressful one. I’m thinking it will be something like golf that way.
Meanwhile my spouse, in his pre-me days, used to perform amazing feats of financial aptitude, managing to purchase his first home on his own at age 20.
I, on the other hand, bought a temperamental red sports car and blew all my paychecks on auto insurance and those little pine tree air fresheners or something. All I know is I have nothing to show for it now.
I think this should sum up, quite nicely, which of us is more financially savvy.
Financial flub. So, it makes perfect sense (not!) that I would be placed in charge of balancing the bank statements.
I don’t doubt that my poor spouse (literally, and figuratively) is not-so-secretly wishing he’d never involved me in managing the money.
That is, when he’s not being grilled about that $3 value meal he charged 3.6 minutes ago.
Thirty-nine cents to supersize? Sheesh! Spendthrift!
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt really needs to log off. She welcomes comments c/o kfs@epohi.com; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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