Bouncing checks almost always ends up being a lot more costly than sending in a late payment. Not only do you end up getting the late charge, you also get a 25 to 30 dollar fee from your bank. Long gone are the days that it takes banks a week to process checks, so the money must be present in your account when you mail a payment. The best way to avoid bouncing checks is track your spending closely, always keep a buffer in your account and sign up for overdraft protection with your bank.
One thing that has helped me to avoid bouncing checks is that I started to use duplicate checks. This goes a long way toward keeping up with your finances because you never have to wonder if you wrote a check and forgot to put it in your checkbook. It is already written down. You still have to keep up with subtracting what you spent and what your deposits are, however. Also, my bank has a Handy Call service that I can call to make sure if a check has cleared or not, and it lists all of my deposits in case I forget to write one down.
I have 2 savings account and a checking account one savings account has long term savings that I try not to touch. The other savings account is an emergency account one that is set up by me to withdraw funds as needed if my account gets low. I have internet banking so I can track my account as needed and daily if necessary. I can transfer funds anytime day or night, with the click of the mouse.
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