As mentioned in my last post, I recently moved. Long story short, I was really impatient living at my last apartment and moved out two months early. Yeah, that means I'm paying double rent for two months... but I think it's worth it for my mental sanity. Anyway, that's not the mistake I am referencing in this post; that's just some background info. In order to move, I had to come up with the money to pay rent at the old place and then put down the first month of rent at the new place. This was completely feasible; I have enough to cover both, I just needed to transfer some moolah from my online savings account to my checking account. Easy peasy. I even remembered to request the transfer a week in advance (since my online account can take up to 5 business days to transfer the money). Go me!
Well, not so fast. As I checked my account balance the day before we moved (as I was writing out the two rent checks), I had a panic attack. Not only was I down to a couple hundred in my bank account (not nearly enough to pay both rents), but I also had an random charge of $12.50 on my account! Cue minor heart attack that identity has been stolen and someone is out there withdrawing every penny to my name..
I quickly started scanning my account activity, and soon discovered my (huge) mistake. In my haste to transfer the money, I had accidentally moved the money the opposite direction that I wanted! Instead of moving from savings to checking, I transferred from checking to savings! Thus, I had overdrafted my checking account. What a terrible feeling, especially for someone who claims to be good with money. I was rather mortified (and still kind of am mortified, if we're being honest).
Well, it turned out to less horrible than I thought. I frantically submitted a transfer request to fix my mistake and begged the boyfriend to cover my portion of the new rent until I had the funds in my account (I had to turn the checks in that day, and if both locations had cashed the checks that day, I would have overdrafted again).
The lucky thing is that I had, on a whim, set up "overdraft protection" in my checking account- which meant that they would automatically charge my credit card for the amount I was short- so I didn't actually have to pay an overdraft charge. That $12.50 charge that I saw was a fee for the credit card to cover the "shortfall" in my account*. I never thought I'd need that overdraft protection, and almost didn't set it up when the bank offered it a few years ago... but THANKFULLY I did!
So, if a moral to the story can be found... it's that you should always opt in to any free (or cheap) overdraft protections that your bank has. Even if you claim to be great with money... mistakes happen ;)
Don't let a silly mistake get you down. You learn from things like this! I can tell you now-- I will always triple check my transfers before I hit that submit button!
Have you ever made a silly mistake with your finances? Were you able to fix it, or did you have to suck it up and pay the consequences?
* And actually, I tried calling the bank to get this charge waived; I told them that I had been a customer for a very long time (true) and that I had never paid anything late (true) and would they please, please, pretty please with sugar on top (okay I didn't actually say that) waive that fee? The nice man on the phone put in a request to the credit card customer service desk and they looked into it for about a week; finally I got a call back politely declining my request to get that fee waived. Oh well, at least I tried.