Author Topic: your checking account balance  (Read 50025 times)

bo_knows

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #50 on: September 19, 2012, 08:36:34 AM »
Call me paranoid, but we keep about 7k in our checking account.

We mostly pay for everything on an awards credit card, mortgage is on auto-pay from the checking account, and post-tax investments come from that checking account.  Our non-mortgage expenses are only $3k/mo these days at worst, but I grew up in a family where my Father would overdraw the checking account on a regular basis (also, my brother is terrible at finances and does this often) and I have it in the back of my head that I will never ever do that.

Occasionally if our expenses are low for a particular few months, I'll see it creep toward the 10k mark and make sure to send more to our post-tax investment account.

igthebold

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #51 on: September 19, 2012, 08:40:33 AM »
I'm a wuss. My account balance is <current credit card balance> plus $2000 or so.

jonzi

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #52 on: September 19, 2012, 02:13:45 PM »
I like to live on the edge and see how close I can get to overdrafting. ;)

But seriously, I usually have a $300 zero point.

laura

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #53 on: September 19, 2012, 02:58:27 PM »
We keep a 300 buffer.

Mr. Tiny Stache

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #54 on: September 19, 2012, 04:40:36 PM »
Zero balance for us is about $2,000 but it has been falling.

SunTzuWarmaster

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #55 on: September 21, 2012, 10:32:20 PM »
$8K

However, it earns 3%.

Also, it represents a 4.5 month emergency fund.

I also have $300 at Chase (saving account minimum), which helps with various transfers/conveniences.  Also, they give free coffee ($.75/month for 2 cups of coffee, nearby ATM for cash deposits, and free transfers to all accounts... worth it).

Generally, my investment choices are:
3% - cash
5.5% - mortgage
10% (assumed) - stock market
10-14% (assumed) - risky investment

I balance this as 8K (4.5 months expenses) in cash, 25*% invested in mortgage, 60*% invested in the market (various funds**), 15*% in high risk investments.

* of additional capital
** until market > mortgage

grantmeaname

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #56 on: October 09, 2012, 04:56:19 PM »
I've got a little under $800 right now. Probably by the end of the year that'll be close to nothing-- I pretty much follow Russ's pattern of being a college student, except that I'm uncomfortable with less than a couple hundred in the account.

magnuminator

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #57 on: October 09, 2012, 05:20:27 PM »
This is an interesting topic for me.   For the last year or so I've been keeping a lot of money in checking accounts, primarily because I want to keep potential house downpayment funds liquid yet safe.  I have two credit union checking accounts that pay (relatively) high interest (2.0% up to 50k in one, 3.0% up to 10k in the other) provided that I make a certain number of debit card transactions each month.  Recently, though, I've run into a couple of snags:

1) Meeting the transaction requirements is a hassle.  One account requires 12 a month and the other 10.  I have some automatic payments set up that knock that down to 8 and 10, but I'd still rather not have to manage my purchases to meet the requirements.  I'd rather just use cash for more things.

2) One of my debit cards (or rather the number and related information) was stolen recently.  I have fraud protection so I won't lose money and I can just use the other account for the time being, but it has been a hassle and does point out the risk of making numerous small transactions all over town.

I'd like to simplify this arrangement a little.  The obvious choice is to give up a little return and just use the 2% up to 50k account.  But I still don't fancy the idea of having that much of my cash "exposed".  I wish I could find a good high yield savings account and just use the 3.0% of up 10k card for purchases at my "regular" stores.   In that case I'd keep my balance under that limit.  But I just haven't found the rate account.  Does anyone know of a better option than Ally's online savings (0.95% last I looked)?

Pete914

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #58 on: October 10, 2012, 01:16:29 AM »
I use $3000 as my zero.  I'm surprised so many people feel almost ashamed about having a few extra thousand dollar buffer- there is no "right" answer to this question.  It's all about your tolerance to risk and what allows you to sleep at night without worrying about it.  Since you are here on MMM, you are likely savings minded anyways and keeping a few extra thousand in a checking account really won't make that much of a difference- especially when one overdraft charge or one minimum account balance violation (if you have those) will wipe out a good deal of the average profits you would make in a month of investing a couple thousand dollars.

Icaro

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #59 on: October 10, 2012, 06:16:59 AM »
$10k or so -- I use $3k as "zero" + $20k in Ibonds as an emergency fund.

notquitefrugal

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #60 on: August 15, 2013, 02:22:43 PM »
$10,000 is my target. I don't call it a zero, as it frequently falls below that--for instance, it's below that now, and will likely stay below that through the rest of the year. If my projected end-of-month balance in Quicken is over $10,000, then the surplus goes into a taxable mutual fund at Vanguard.

Edited to add: $1,000 is the drop-dead minimum on the account. If I fall below that, I incur service charges for the checking account.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2013, 09:25:52 PM by notquitefrugal »

hybrid

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #61 on: August 15, 2013, 02:47:45 PM »
I keep a substantial amount in checking as well, but I really ought to check with out Postal CU and see if they pay better significantly better interest than our big bank, which pays almost nothing.  But I do have four separate accounts for various reasons and there are no charges on any of them either.

Switching banks for me would be a major headache, but if the price were right I'd do it.

Cecil

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #62 on: August 15, 2013, 03:07:22 PM »
Interesting topic. I have a line of credit attached to my chequing account, so if my balance goes below 0 I only pay 5% interest on the negative balance, calculated daily.

So, it fluctuates between -2k and 4k. I use Microsoft Money's cash flow projection tool to make sure I won't be below 0 for more than one paycheque, but I'm comfortable going red in order to send a big even chunk off to the investment account.

oldtoyota

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #63 on: August 15, 2013, 03:20:11 PM »
Since I "save" in my checking account for future expenses, I have about a $1-7K buffer. One could argue it's not really a buffer if I intend to spend it, but the amounts will be spent at various times and are always being "refilled." I track it all with YNAB. I use the YNAB balance to budget and ignore the higher bank account balance.

gecko10x

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #64 on: August 15, 2013, 03:38:50 PM »
Interesting topic. I have a line of credit attached to my chequing account, so if my balance goes below 0 I only pay 5% interest on the negative balance, calculated daily.

So, it fluctuates between -2k and 4k. I use Microsoft Money's cash flow projection tool to make sure I won't be below 0 for more than one paycheque, but I'm comfortable going red in order to send a big even chunk off to the investment account.

So, it's like a credit card with no grace period? That sounds like a terrible idea! Waste of money. (If I misunderstood, and there IS a grace period, then I rescind my comment.)

matchewed

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #65 on: August 15, 2013, 03:43:29 PM »
Up until recently I was close to the >10k region for various reasons, most mental but one concrete in I'm saving for a house. I've talked to current roommates and found that they're willing to rent with me while they get their financials in order. That opened my window for the house savings so I transferred 8k into my investment account. So now I'm living with 2k-4k in the bank and investing the surplus. I'll pull from there or my Roth IRA for my down payment. If the market tanks when I'm ready to buy then I'll just keep renting until it recovers.

worker parasite

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #66 on: August 15, 2013, 03:59:40 PM »
$1500 is my "zero", and it's also the point at which fees are waived, which saves me ~$40 a month (I wouldn't have this account if I actually had to pay the fees, but it's nice to have now).

ender

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #67 on: August 15, 2013, 05:26:15 PM »
Its over $2000 almost always.

Fluctuates up and down probably close to $1500 up and down.

The knitter

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #68 on: August 15, 2013, 05:37:47 PM »
$1000 is my account "zero".

Agreed that keeping somewhere close to actual $0.00 would cause a great deal of stress and overdrafting in case of things coming up that you didn't plan for.

Ditto

impaire

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #69 on: August 15, 2013, 06:47:11 PM »
About 3K at the beginning of the month, growing to 7-9K during the month, and emptied in different saving and investment accounts at the end of it.

This, mind you, is because my husband manages our shared checking account. I was more of the "$100 or so" persuasion when I managed my own checking, but I guess his style is different--he's less of a micro-manager than I am, and low amounts would lead to occasional overdrafts.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #70 on: August 15, 2013, 07:07:38 PM »
I drain it every month to pay off debt. So, it depends on what day of the month it is.

KingMe

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #71 on: August 15, 2013, 07:30:04 PM »
I went to the ATM today.  My balance is now ONE DOLLAR.  $1.00.

I have multiple checking accounts. Those that pay for actual expenses like bills and may have undeposited checks have much more than a dollar. This account also has free overdraft protection linked to a MM account with much more than a dollar in it. 

ToeInTheWater

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #72 on: August 15, 2013, 07:45:22 PM »
about $4k is our zero

b

Micheal

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #73 on: August 16, 2013, 12:36:17 AM »
No Bank account atm i mostly use cash and a no fee pre-paid CC to pay bills online.  When i did have a Checking Account I liked to keep about $500 in there to prevent overdraft fees and i kept the rest in an high interest saving account.  Alas for the days when i needed to spend almost nothing.

lizzigee

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #74 on: August 16, 2013, 01:02:30 AM »
I don't actually 'keep' any money in my cheque account.  The balance varies between $2K and zero, depending upon how far away from my fortnightly payday it is. I can't see why people freak over a low balance. I have a spreadsheet that goes about 3 years in advance (literally), I know what's coming out and when, and everything is budgeted for, with extra money transferred across to the mortgage at the end of each fortnight. If an unexpected bill crops up then I could tweak the budget or just transfer a smaller extra payment to the mortgage. If it was a true emergency I guess I could use a credit card, or transfer some of the extra back from the mortgage. It seems a waste to have that money sitting around doing nothing (bear in mind interest rates on housing loans here in NZ are a LOT higher than in the States)

MoneyCat

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #75 on: August 16, 2013, 07:07:32 AM »
$1500 is my zero, but I usually keep much more than that handy for paying bills.  Most bills are paid on my account-linked rewards credit card and then I transfer funds to cover it.  So far this year, I've earned over $600 in cashback for necessities I was going to need to buy anyway and I get a bonus on the cashback for having the checking account.

OzzieandHarriet

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #76 on: August 16, 2013, 08:41:35 AM »
Joint checking account at a credit union -- usually $3k - $4k because all of our regular expenses are set up to be paid automatically (either through ET or a check sent directly from the bank) so I don't want us to be caught short. We have accounts at another credit union where we have our current mortgage, so a portion of my husband's paycheck goes directly there and the mortgage gets paid automatically through that account. (Used to be my paycheck until I left my full-time job this month.) Our main savings account is with ING, and I set up an automatic payment to that as well. I occasionally have to move money from there back to the checking account if we have an extra expense, but it only takes a couple of days for the funds to be available so it hasn't been a problem. The ING account is our emergency/life happens fund, varies from 6 months' to 1 year's expenses.

If the amount in the checking account gets bigger than about $4k, I move the excess over to the savings account so it at least earns a little interest.

I also recently set up a Vanguard after-tax investment (just started with the $3k minimum) and have some money transferred automatically to that every month as well. (So far, it's lost $75 ... sigh ...)

(My credit card also earns cash back -- 1% -- but I haven't gotten into counting on that in any way. Just look at it as a little bonus.)

sleepyguy

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #77 on: August 16, 2013, 09:21:53 AM »
Generally we keep about $200-400, but I would be more dumbfounded if the person in from had like $2 million or something :)  earning a measly 1% or whatever the pathetic savings rate is.

mpbaker22

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #78 on: August 16, 2013, 09:24:37 AM »
I have about $7K right now, but I plan on buying a house in the next few weeks.  I need to transfer some more in when I purchase; that's not all my liquid assets.

innkeeper77

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #79 on: August 16, 2013, 09:29:16 AM »
$1 or less..

As a college student, I do not have terribly much spare cash. Therefore, I like to keep as much of my money invested as possible, or at least in a savings account earning double the interest of my checking account.

I track all of my finances in Gnucash, where I also account for all future bills coming out of any particular account. I also have free overdraft protection, though I have never needed to use it. Lastly, I put all of my irregular (non-bill) expenses on a rewards credit card that I always pay off by the end of the month. This means that when I say it is at $1, it could easily mean $1+Rent+Utilities, but $1 will be the final value when all the bills go through.

Since I micromanage my accounts effectively, I feel safe with between $0.10 and $1 in any particular checking account. However, as I continue to work I will likely be moving my zero balance upwards, first to $10, and eventually likely up to $200 or so. However, I believe that with my temperament I will never see a need for a particularly large checking type account balance outside of a temporary event such as buying a house.

Cecil

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #80 on: August 16, 2013, 12:15:06 PM »
Interesting topic. I have a line of credit attached to my chequing account, so if my balance goes below 0 I only pay 5% interest on the negative balance, calculated daily.

So, it fluctuates between -2k and 4k. I use Microsoft Money's cash flow projection tool to make sure I won't be below 0 for more than one paycheque, but I'm comfortable going red in order to send a big even chunk off to the investment account.

So, it's like a credit card with no grace period? That sounds like a terrible idea! Waste of money. (If I misunderstood, and there IS a grace period, then I rescind my comment.)

Yes, it's like a credit card with no grace period, and the interest rate is only 5%, which is less than I expect to make long term in index funds.

tomsang

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #81 on: August 16, 2013, 12:22:23 PM »
I keep as close to $0 as possible.  Account is connected to my personal line of credit, so everytime a check or amount is withdrawn I get an email notice showing the automatic Overdraft Protection Notice with amount.  Wife gets the same, which give her pause on spending money. 100% of paychecks go directly to payoff line of credit and HELOC.  So my savings account is earning the rate of my HELOC, which is 4.24%. Personal line is typically at $0 unless we make a large investment. 

cats

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #82 on: August 16, 2013, 12:29:55 PM »
Usually $1500-2000, mostly b/c our landlord can be really lazy about cashing the rent check.

ncornilsen

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #83 on: August 16, 2013, 12:42:48 PM »
Well, in my direct-deposit mortgage account, the balance is 200 right after the mortgage payment is withdrawn, then each paycheck auto deposts 1/2 the mortgage payment plus $20. Ususally I need the pad to balance my escrow.

My main checking account (gas+groceries) is between 225 and 0 each payperiod.
My discretionary account is between $200 and zero each pay period.
The bills account typically goes no less than $500, but I cleaned it out to kill off a student loan, so it's near 0 right now.

semi-annual car insurance payments, and a defered $100/month in maint costs, plus $100 a month for safety net, goes into my smarty pig savings account.... so I have those cash buffers.  I also have about $5K I could get access to in a few days if I really needed it, from the company stock purchase program.


I check my balances compulsively, so i never worry about over-drawing.

secondcor521

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #84 on: August 16, 2013, 01:20:56 PM »
I have three checking accounts:

Local #1 - primary local account used to deposit miscellaneous checks and cash - "zero" is $1500 spread between checking and savings to avoid monthly maintenance fee.  Excess is periodically scraped into account #3.

Local #2 - secondary local account opened to get $150 bonus.  Will close in a few months once the clawback period expires.  "Zero" is $500, but I guess could be lower.  Excess is periodically scraped into account #3.

Main #3 - main central checking account where paychecks are deposited and all bills are paid.  "Zero" is $1000, could be lower I guess.  Excess is periodically scraped into savings account paying 0.80%.

I've thought about the reward checking accounts before but just been too lazy to set them up.  I've got bigger budget fish to fry before doing them, also.

Oscar_C

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #85 on: August 16, 2013, 01:41:54 PM »
Usually it's under $40.00

All of my items are budget for so it's a non issue.

I have 2 checking and 2 savings

1 Fun Checking (40 per week allowed)
1 Monthly Expenses Checking (Bills go here)
1 Long Term Savings (employer matching and stuff)
1 Emergency Savings (anything left over goes here)

BlackRat

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #86 on: August 26, 2013, 08:00:41 AM »
I had $500 as my "zero" when I started uni - my expenses are low and I haven't had anything unexpected so I keep $200 as "0" now.
I do have $2-10k in my higher interest account.
Having a nice stash makes me feel more secure.

Half-Borg

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #87 on: August 26, 2013, 08:58:25 AM »
I'm going from 3000 the day I get paid (which is monthly) to like 72 at end of month. I know my expenses and when they are due, and even if I forget one, there is no overdraft fee.
I also have more cash in a higher yielding account, which can be transferred in 3 days.

jrhampt

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #88 on: August 26, 2013, 09:56:04 AM »
These days it usually has an extra 1-2k in the account.  When I was paying off student loans, I used to transfer it out as soon as it built up, but now I leave a little extra in it because I get my auto insurance deducted automatically twice a year, and it's nice not to have to think about whether or not there will be enough in the account to cover it.

SMMcP

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #89 on: August 26, 2013, 10:05:24 AM »
My low balance in checking this month was $1400, high balance $3850.  It's usually around $2000. I probably should keep less in checking and more in savings as my bank allows immediate on-line transfers as long as you don't exceed 5 transfers/month.

BigRed

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #90 on: August 26, 2013, 10:31:35 AM »
At the moment it's about $9k, and it was as high as $20k recently for no good reason other than that I'm keeping a large amount of money liquid and my savings account options aren't really that much better than my interest checking account.  We're saving for a down-payment in the 2 year timeframe, possibly in SoCal, so we're liquid to the tune of $100k right now (and growing) and the benefits of moving into stocks or a bond fund seem not worth the risk to me.

If anyone has a facepunch and an option that I should be considering, I'm all ears.  I know I'm incurring significant opportunity costs and inflation risk, but I don't know what else to do.

Numbers Man

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #91 on: August 26, 2013, 10:36:49 AM »
I had about $10k in there today and it's been as high as $20k. It's just extra cash that accumulates from the paychecks that is eventually invested.

step_away

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #92 on: August 26, 2013, 11:53:59 AM »
I keep about $15K in my checking acount (equivalent to one year worth of living expense) plus $28.5K in Travel/Fun saving account. 

Before someone offers face punches for keeping that much for fun account, I want to raise that I accumulated it over several years without touching my base pay nor bonus (with net of tax saving rate of 80-90%).  The source of funds are:  pay out of my unused PTOs, dividends from my company stocks bought at a discount, and credit card bonus / cash backs.  The accumulation means that I was only able to take occassional vacations and in some cases travel cheaply by combining it with work travel (resulting in company paid airfaire).
« Last Edit: August 26, 2013, 04:24:58 PM by step_away »

cynthia1848

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #93 on: August 26, 2013, 12:31:09 PM »
I like about a 10K buffer.  Our outflows can be big, so this helps if we get a big bill ($6K for the year of preschool, or whatever).

AlanStache

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #94 on: August 26, 2013, 02:42:30 PM »
Normally in the 2-3k range.  The mortgage and condo fees normally go out before the pay comes in so I need that 1500$ there for the second half of the month.  Then I like some buffer on that so I can pay 'small' bills as they come in.  I would still have to think and maybe wait on larger work-travel cc bills.  But that amount seems to work for my situation.  I guess I could get aggressive and move things around with a higher yielding savings account but does not seem worth it for the time involved or worry.

RubenDF

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #95 on: August 26, 2013, 03:08:40 PM »
$107 at the moment, and I only have this much because I over budgeted my electricity for the month. I'm pretty anal about my budget and know exactly which bills will be due when, and since I don't have discretionary (bullshit) expenses anymore, every single $ in excess of bills due for the period go into debt repayment or some other net-worth increasing endeavor. I have to note that due to a severance agreement with my employer, I have no need for an emergency stash - If this were different I would probably have 3 months of bare-bone expenses in some liquid cash account somewhere

Joel

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #96 on: August 27, 2013, 12:26:04 AM »
About 20k.

Now, before people freak, that includes my emergancy fund.  My checking gets ~2% interest (up to 30k, & higher % in the past) and I have pretty much no problems with impulse spending, so it's not a temptation to have it sitting there.

If I could find a better interest rate, I'd move it, but I'm not to concerned about it.

I do the same, keeping between 10 and 20k pushing any excess to my brokerage account.

Tami1982

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #97 on: August 27, 2013, 01:47:31 AM »
Currently $180.  And it's driving me nuts.  I hate having money sitting in an account.  I ride the line pretty close.  I'm comfortable with about $75-$100 being my balance.  When I get $100 over that I send $100 to the student loan.  If I don't get it out of there I'm too tempted to spend it. 

I recently opened a savings account with a pathetic interest rate, but I wanted an account separate from my checking.  Unfortunately, I got it with the same bank, so when I log on to track my checking account, there is the savings balance starring at me.  I didn't want that.  I wanted to put money somewhere and never see it until I had a $1,000 emergency fund and then my first $1,000 to invest.   At this point they are both moot because I'm sending everything like gangbusters to the student loan.  I'm hoping to have it paid off by December 2014, and then attack these other two goals.

pom

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #98 on: August 27, 2013, 08:31:07 AM »
2k is my zero and my account usually fluctuates between 3k and 5k. Everything above 5k is quickly invested.

Carrie

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Re: your checking account balance
« Reply #99 on: August 27, 2013, 08:36:58 AM »
My extremely nervous balance is $250, but my usual cushion is $500; linked savings accounts hold six months of expenses and that much more in sinking funds, so I'm never actually close to the edge.  I budget down to between $500-$700, though, and not worry much if groceries run a little high or we have small unexpected things come up that bring us down into the $300-$500 range.