Three years of checks and balances

I’ve mentioned this before but I’ve realised more about it. One of the key things I recommend you do is to check your bank balances every day. That’s it. It keeps you focused and, moreover, it keeps you really aware of how what you do pays off.

Now, that’s not to say that you can or should only measure your productivity and worth by how much money you earn. I’m a writer, I’d be insane to do that.

But it is a measure you can see and now that it is so easy to check our accounts online, it’s a really fast and handy measure.

The reason I’m telling you this again today is that I’ve now been doing it since 2011. Today is my third anniversary of checking all my accounts every single day: I have checked without fail 1,095 days in a row.

And this is what I have just realised: while I might want those balances to be healthier, the fact is that whenever I doubt I’ve got the discipline to do something, I can now look to 1,095 days in a row where I did.

Do a test run on online banking transfers

Cheques are a pain but online banking can go wrong with a typo. Perhaps this is another reason to use services like TextExpander or 1Password, to have the correct sort code and account numbers to hand. But when you’ve been given a new account to pay into, check it first.

Transfer a single penny.

If the recipient gets that, you’re good to go: you know for certain that it works.

There is the chance that someone else is sending a penny – why does that sound rude? – on the same day but yours will arrive with your reference.

It’s an idea nicked from PayPal which checks out your bank details by doing something similar: it deposits some random, if very small, amount and you have to confirm what that amount is. But that’s done as much to confirm that you are you as it is to check that the bank details have been entered correctly so I’d keep it simple.

This does depend on who you’re paying. If it’s a firm you don’t know, you may find it hard to learn whether they got the payment or not. But then if then phone up demanding to know where your big cash transfer is coming you get to say well, duh, if you’d check your accounts more often you’d be paid now.

Keep your balance

Here’s a tip for staying on top of everything in your life: check your bank balances every day. All of them.

I’ve been doing this for the last 1,044 days without fail and that means quite a few things. Firstly, it means there are days I really don’t want to do it but, so far, I always have. And there are days where I’ve done it just after midnight because I couldn’t wait to see if a particular fee had been paid in.

Most of all, though, it means I know everything. Yes, the finances, but also I know who’s paid and I know it just about the moment they have. There’s one firm I work for sometimes who is really quick at paying. They could be terrible people but I’d carry on working for them because of that.