Creative Finance

It’s nearly that time again.  The time that deluges me with dread, makes me tremble with trepidation, and floods me with fear.  The scenario goes like this:

“Honey, bring me your checkbook so I can reconcile it,” my husband says.  He tries to keep his voice light, gentle even, like the Horse Whisperer, not wanting to spook me.  With wavering hand, I give him my checkbook and all my receipts and slink into another part of the house.

“Darling,” he calls, his voice still calm, “what is this deposit here?”  I creep back to the living room where he sits at his secretary, and peer over his shoulder.

“Um…it’s a deposit for $82.00,” I say softly.

“Yes, I see that you’ve entered $82.00, but where did it come from?  I don’t see a deposit slip and there’s nothing in your statement to indicate you made a deposit.”

“I’ll go and look for one,” I say, just for an excuse to escape, knowing perfectly well there is no deposit slip because I don’t know where the hell that $82.00 came from.  I sit in a dark corner of the kitchen, wracking my brain for an explanation.  Rising panic makes it hard to breathe.  Why can’t my husband take it on faith that somewhere during the course of the month, I had $82.00 fall into my hands and I entered that amount into my checkbook.  Why does he always need nit picky details?

“Sweetheart, did you find it?” he calls, voice a little thinner, and I slink back in.

“No, sir,” I say, forgetting I’m not a teenager addressing my father.

But he won’t let it go.  He keeps probing and prodding and pulling the explanation out of me until I finally scream,”I remember now!  That $82.00 isn’t a real deposit.  It’s more like a transfer from my no-show.”  He sighs rather louder than I think he needs to.  My no-show is an imaginary place in my checkbook or the bank or outer space, I don’t know, that catches any money I haven’t spent from my retirement deposit that month.  I just minus that amount from my checkbook with a notation that reads, “move to no-show.”  It’s like an imaginary savings account.  It’s really still in my checkbook, but I pretend it isn’t so I can build a little nest egg for something special.  My husband knows about my no-show but really doesn’t understand how it works.

“I made that $82.00 babysitting last month,” I say, proud that I figured it out and we can end this nightmare.

“But Dearest,” my husband says, with just a hint of exasperation I find a bit offensive, “you have to actually enter deposits into your checkbook before you move them into your no-show.  Otherwise, I don’t know how much you’re supposed to have in your no-show.  Do you understand?”

No, I don’t understand.  To be perfectly honest, I think my husband is a little obsessive.  “I write everything down on a little scrap of paper,” I tell him, wondering where I put it because I know for some ridiculous reason, he’s going to ask for it.  The evening continues in a similar manner until things are more or less resolved or my husband figures things out the best he can while trying hard not to let my sobbing disturb his concentration.  And thus I have survived another monthly bank statement.

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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5 Responses to Creative Finance

  1. Pamela Johnson says:

    You say this is tongue in cheek. I am glad that the posted scenario is not in fact a monthly reality. I understand the “no-show system” as I have one myself. I actually have ways and means where I try to forget the “no-show” money so I won’t spend it.
    As you say, it is a nice way of saving.

    However, if I don’t know exactly what I am doing, how could another person come along and try to help me with the accuracy of my system?

    I remain puzzled why your husband helps you out when he doesn’t understand your no-show system. And furthermore, you say that he would rather not be doing it in the first place. He would love it if you took the checkbook over yourself. I know I’m missing something here, but it is possible that your system is a little too advanced for me..

    Could your daughter possibly be right about opening up a savings account? The only problem with this, however, is that the bank pays about 0.01% interest on these accounts. Hardly worth the trouble of driving to the bank. Nevertheless, it might simplify your life. And maybe I should do the same.

  2. Pamela Johnson says:

    During my five-year marriage, my husband and I kept separate checkbooks. It was agreed that I would pay the utilities and grocery bill; he would make the house payment and pay for our trips and entertainment. We still ended up getting divorced, but neither one of us had to account to the other about how we did our checkbooks. I would strongly urge you to do the same. No woman should have to sob over a monthly checkbook interrogation. I urge you to stand up for yourself and find a better system. This is not “creative finance; it’s “abusive finance!” You deserve better than that.

    • comingeast says:

      HA! You don’t have to worry about us. It was all tongue in cheek. You need to get to know my sense of humor. Emily (my daughter) thought it was hysterical because she knows her mom and dad. And it’s not an interrogation. My honey does it to help me out. It’s my personal checkbook, my account, and he goes over it to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes. He would LOVE it if I just took it over myself.

  3. pajamadays says:

    OMG – I can totally see you and dad having this conversation! Hilarious. But I think I must help you open an actual savings account the next time I am in town…

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