no more checking floating at your favorite stores

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by ctmom05, Nov 23, 2008.

  1. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    I was reading an article about the economy and came across information about floating checks until payday. I suppose it was an alert for those crunched by hard economic times.

    Have you ever written a check for a purchase when the funds were not quite there yet? You knew from experience how long it took the store to pass your check thru the bank, so you were willing to take the chance.

    This happens especially when the purchases are for basic necessities, and not discretionary items. Like - when there was no food in the house and the paycheck wasn't coming for 2 days. Or....when your heating oil was so low you weren't sure there was really any left. Maybe you needed to fill a prescription for antibiotics for that ear infection.

    Apparently checks are passing thru much more quickly these days and there is no grace perios in many places where there used to be one; the grocery stores, Wal Mart, you name it. Electronic, computerized systems have taking care of that. The days of collecting all the checks from the registers at the end of the shift, bringing them to the money room, and making a daily or weekly deposit are gone for most retailers.

    Lots of folks have to juggle money from paycheck to paycheck!! Even tho gasoline is going down in price, I don't think that's going to fix a whole heck of a lot. The overall economy is the worst I have seen it in my adult life right now.

    For folks who float funds by writing checks before the money is in their account, note that this practice is not going to work the way it once did. It would be really tough to get caught at the check-out with a cart full of groceries and the cashier saying your check had been declined.

    As a side note, this is the first holiday season ever I am making gifts that are not edible. Every year I bake this and that; this year I am doing some limited crafting and sharing those things with family and friends, in addition to the usual baked goodies and a few store bought presents.
  2. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    I have never floated a check - but I have used a credit card in much the same fashion. My goal this year is to pay cash for everything - or just go without.

    I have already informed my kids that Christmas this year is about fellowship and some tasty treats. I think we are all good with that. Personally, I'm glad to see families get back to more simplistic celebrations. Keeps the focus where it should be in my humble opinion.
  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    The check float time reduction has to do with electronic transfers. It used to be that your checking account wouldn't be debited until your bank actually got the check back... now they just need the information transferred in electronically. This usually includes an image of the check.
  4. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    About a year and a half ago, I was food shopping on a Sunday afternoon. The bill came to $165 and I wrote a check, knowing that my paycheck would be direct deposited at Midnight, knowing that the money I had in my account was not going to cover the check but that by the time the check went through my bank the next day it would be more than covered.

    Well, imagine my horror and embarrassment when the cashier announced, rather loudly if you ask me, that my check bounced. Right there! There I was putting away my wallet and getting ready to turn and leave, thinking all was right in the world and then the cashier lays that one on me. I was truly horrified and said, "Impossible - how could it have gone through my account already? My pay gets deposited tonight at midnight". The guy behind me said, "Everything's gone electronic - you can't float checks anymore" as if he too had lived through the same embarrassment. Thankfully, H was with me. I covered half the groceries and he the other. To say we briskly left the store is an understatement. Ugh.

    I haven't ever floated a check since. You just have to be more careful with planning when you spend your money or pay bills. Another thing to do is to apply for an overdraft protection with your bank that is tied to your checking account, just in case. And I pay all my bills on line, so I know exactly what I'm playing with and how much to keep in reserve for other regular essentials I will need until next paycheck. I hate living paycheck to paycheck, and for a while we enjoyed a time when it wasn't like that, but these days...hmmmm.

    I usually buy a turkey for charity every Thanksgiving with some fixins'. I can't this year and I'm more bummed that I can't help others than anything.

    Christmas will definitely be much simpler this year and our girls know it, though I don't think it's truly registered in difficult child's little head yet. I already told H not to spend more than $50 on me. He has a habit of splurging and then complaining to me about it later. I always tell him not to do it, but he's uncontrollable.

    Chris, your holiday plans sound lovely. That's what I do, homemade canned items and baked goods. My boss gives me a case of wine every year so I am able to give out a bottle or two to close friends as well.
  5. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    The horror of being told my check bounced when in line has kept me from ever floating checks.
    Once I had to leave a huge order of groceries behind because I somehow messed up my check book big time. Never again.

    I am making calendars with the photo's I have been sent of niece and nephews for Christmas gifts. They are 20.00 and are priceless.
    We have for a long time de emphasized long christmas lists. It seemed to encourage self absorption and the "gimme's". I figured it was up to us as parents to redirect our kids from this sort of holiday insanity. Hopefully their childhood memories will be about food, family, laughter, sharing and appreciation.
    When the boys were little they were allowed request one large item and one small item. Anything else they got from family was the gravy and a surprise. Now, they don't even ask and seem to like it better this way.
  6. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I admit to being more than a little confused by all of this. Our local grocery store still does it the old fashioned way but they use the same bank that I do, right down the street, and checks usually clear the very next day. The Walmarts and one local discount store in town do it electronically now. It's a little disconcerting to just sign my check and then get it back again! I go online and check my account almost every day, and what I don't understand is that these 'electronic' checks don't show up as coming out of my account until several days later, at least three or four days!

    I suppose it is a safeguard for the stores and prevents them from taking some bad checks, but it's not 100%. They have no way of knowing how many other checks someone might have written on that same money in the bank!
  7. mom_in_training

    mom_in_training New Member

    The new electronic age thing, Grrrrrr... I do recall something about the Gov mandating this check debit thing a while back. I can't say if its optional for some businesses or not but all of the utility companies and credit card companies are doing the debit thing. I don't really like the whole idea though because I notice on my bank statement every month that the credit card acc #'s are on the bank statement. Way tooooo much information in to many places. I suppose its just safest to pay the credit cards off and just never use them or take the $10.00 hit and pay by phone or do it free online but I don't feel secure about that either. I don't like the idea of the whole acc # being on the statements. The utility acc #'s are as well but I don't care about those being there. Yes we do have privacy laws but that is not enough to prevent identity theft.

    Oh and I find it strange that when I write a check out at WalMart that sometimes it is an automatic debit but there are other times when I see the check does not post for two or three days. Just strange considering that they are completely set up for the check debit when you pay and yes I get the check back every time after I sign the lil receipt thing. Another thing is with debit cards, I notice that some places have an issue reading your card for debit but has no problem inputting it as credit on the same card. And that takes a couple days to debit. Hmmmm, Is this their way to charge you a small fee? I know that some gas stations started charging a small fee for using a credit card to pay for gas.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2008
  8. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Lord know, I don't have much money, but I'm very persnickety about what I do have. I know a lot of people that have their utility bills paid automatically out of their checking account, but I'd never do that! I've found too many mistakes on them - what happens if the bill is wrong and they've already taken your money? I do get and pay most of my utility bills online, just not 'automatically'. I want to be able to see the bill, make sure it's correct, and have a chance to dispute it if I have a question before I pay. Works for me!
  9. mom_in_training

    mom_in_training New Member

    I would never set up my utitlities to do that. I have heard of to many problems when people do that. Like the utility co taking two payments in one month not realizing for whatever reason that they had already done it once. Yikes!!!! That happened to my sister one time and it overdrew her account and created allot of headaches on top of the outragious fees that the bank tried to nail her for. It was a mess and all due to someone making a mistake pressing a key on a keyboard is all. I just got a debit card for the first time but do not use it much and don't plan on getting in the habit of doing so.