Sunday, November 28, 2010

So the bank ate your pay ~ a glass half full of cents and sensibility

Storms ~ so many fronts ~ and we are ahead on all bar Mother Nature

Over the past few days, one of the 'big four' banks has been advising issues with delays to pay distributions likely and people's payments were transferred but not actually in accounts for access. The big impacting factor was this had captured many Centrelink pensions and allowances ~ leaving a considerable amount of those living the 'pay to pay' cycle in a pickle.

Sure - Allowances and refunds of fees will be made, banks were opened with arrangements to provide cash against payment slips and things were a little manual ~ however the 'fall out' also caused problems to international banks such as HSBC, VISA transfers and now it is rippling through to the other three 'big banks' on different levels, including the depletion of cash from ATMs. As some accounts waive ATM fees if the transaction is over $200, but when all the poor machine has left available is $20 that is all you get - plus a $2 account fee. We will be claiming it back from NAB even though its services were not directly involved.

We, like so many others, have funds caught up in the National Australia Bank 'glitch' or payment debacle ~ almost 40% of our fortnightly income actually, and in the week most payments go out as we receive about 75% of our income this fortnight. The debits scheduled for bills, transfers and other such payments are going out as normal, 'glitch' or not

In the newspapers, on Simple Savings and across the television is discussion about the inconvenience and the disruption to so many people reliant on social security payments who are being impacted, so many more living on a pay day-to-pay day cash flow. Are you coping during this Australian 'Pay Day Financial Crisis'? Or are you one who relies on the specified amount being in your account on the specified day. 

Did you know nationally, employee weekly cash wages average at $958 - $1180 non-managerial fulltime? And low incomes scales fall between $410-$690 weekly per adult person? Well now you do ~ and you can find out more at the RBA Statistics page. When receiving $310 per adult per week, a delay in available funds can result in $60-$100 in late fees on transactions which are still being processed whether funds are there or not. One third of the budget gone. Hence the Financial Redress class action! If every bank went down tomorrow, you could get cash from the counter at branch level, could you be sure all transactions are covered and the deduction of a 'fee' isn't going to ruin the budget?


Having previously lived from pay to pay - literally and completely - not receiving any of your pay as scheduled has you 'screwed' for the weekend at least. We know that. How often are you getting 'caught short' for a day or two, vowing to have at least a few days cashed stashed somewhere safe, like in the bank in one of those high interest online accounts ~ next pay tho' because you'll be behind from this one, as it never rains it always pours.  
It is wonderful to know it doesn't really matter if the bank takes until Tuesday or Wednesday to get everything back on track and up to date. Not that we have the 'as suggested by Suze Orman on Oprah' three month income in some secret (high interest online) account to fall back on, we do have sufficient for a week or two of transfers, debits and a little cash if that long. We can still access funds already in there; scheduled debits will no doubt go ahead as normal; MudGuts will be seeking his transfer of 'pay' on Monday; every thing needing to happen can. 

If you went to the automatic teller machine to withdraw the weeks' cash from your bank account without checking the balance first, could you? Most likely you could and would be able to do that.

What if today is pay-day and, due to a 'glitch' in accounts, all pay transfers are delayed over the weekend, guaranteed in on Monday morning - is there balance enough and could you still take out all of this weeks' cash as well as cover your automatic transfers?

If You Could...

So then, would you take out less of the week's cash budget, say enough for the weekend until you know your pay is actually there? Tipping many would - just to be safe. You know there will be accessible cash but you don't want to risk missing any electronic bills & transfers if its any longer than the 'guaranteed' Monday. If you do have a secret stash, when to use it or under-what criteria, guidelines and circumstances have you decided upon? Some people have (say) $500 on hand, but will 'hang on until Monday or Tuesday' to see what happens.  There are scheduled payments going out during this time, without access to funds. Why fix up fees incurred when you can omit them completely and replace funds use upon the fixing of the 'glitch'?

What if the problem meant today's pay, electronically 'in transfer' but not in your account, isn't going to be until the same time as your next pay-day - next week, fortnight, month... Any current balance is available, even if only by a teller to get cash - because, of course, the bank is going to waive the counter service fee for anyone affected by this 'glitch' upon verifying you meet the criteria - could you still get this week's cash from the bank and leave enough for all the bills during the week, or weeks, until your pay does land into your account, available and accessible? Or would you be getting a bit stressed and anxious?
Could You? 

Knowing the 'stuck' and next payment will eventually deposit together, we would still have sufficient account balance to cover electronic bill payments, direct debits and payment plan. It might mean withdrawing from the teller/counter as a manual transaction for the cash, but we could. Do you have enough available and accessible through to your next pay day at least?

We could ~ for at least a fortnight, maybe three weeks. Currently we are budgeting to extend this to four weeks over the next three months; six weeks if our Hardship application is approved. 

Here's How You Can... 

Last nights' craving for takeaway food for dinner is one way we have been able to find 'spare' money ~ nothing spent on 'a quick shop' or take-away, despite the desire to do either, maybe both *laughs* 
The 'plan' was make Tuna Mornay and rice. The desire was to ring up for take-away from the local Fish 'n' Chip shop. The reality was we were stuffed tired and broke. We had bacon, eggs, mushrooms and casserole gravy on toasted grain bread. SmallBoy had bacon, eggs and sausage rolls and all under $2 a head using items here. No need to factor $30-$40 on take away ~ be it fish & chips, McChucks, pizza or Indian ~ it's not bought when there is something on par here at home. Now we've found a spare $40 in the budget. Can you see how we did it??

OH ~ And it was delicious, easy and a real home-made 'junk food' dinner!

This has been followed by almost the opposite opportunity tonight. SmallBoy has gone on a sleep-over, we were going to prepare a roast or three 'from scratch' but the rain just has not eased up at all. The desire to slaughter and pluck the roosters was thoroughly washed away by the need to keep the water away from the door ~ plus we had to vote

Sometimes (often) in SmallBoy's absence, Husband and I attempt quality memory creations and dine at a 'new' or never tried restaurant. We try to lower the bill with BYO but sometimes its the 'splurge' on a cocktail and entrees that take the night out bill over $100 so easily. Knowing our Coles had marked down (needed) dry cat food, oil and dishwasher tabs, we perused the meat section to 'find something nice' for an at-home dinner for two

Then for something REALLY Special 

Grabbed a pack of two King Island steaks; over 280g a steak, marinaded at home in a mix of hoi-sin, oyster and teriaki sauces from our fridge; marked down by $9 to $12 (plus a huge $1 lambsfry for dinner tomorrow) knowing there we have a fridge full of salad items. Picked up a tub of Violet Crumble icecream, some marked down Lindt 70% with almonds. Bottle of red from the limited home wine rack ~ crackling fire on this rainy ol' night. *sighs*  It was just the right balance of minimal effort and restaurant/dinner out delight to frugality ratio ~ know what I mean? 

And it means we didn't need $100, didn't miss the opportunity to have a top meal with good conversation and comfortable surroundings ~ no worries here about not being able to get out our usual cash budget ~ yet. *grins*
We did spend, that mentioned above formed about $20 of a $45 shop - plus chook grain bought earlier in the day.  If the weather is dry we'll try again to put an 'Eggs 4 Sale' sign out. Today's effort was rained out! If we sell all the full cartons, for $4-$5 a box, that will cover 2 bags of grain. We're getting extra eggs while 'baby-sitting' friend's chooks as well as our own - almost a dozen a day - not even the neighbours are getting through them quick enough at the moment!! 

Pondering and Pontificating

Did I share this with you:
Care not for another mans' dirt. Laugh and be charged with the knowledge exposed when the mud slinger must bury lies & half truths of their own dug up. 
I made that up ~ along with these ones:
What other people say about me is not really my business or concern. What is said, asked or sought directly to me ~ that's when I get to comment or provide detail. I am grateful to know what is (or is not) my problem... :D
"Truly great friends, those ones you don't talk to for 2, 5, 8years and pick up at and in the conversations of now ~ I am grateful to have friends such as these, true diamonds in the stone-works of friendship..." 

If you like those, please credit Mands On A Mission ~ gratuity via the Spare Change Jar welcome up the top there on the left, appreciated and desperately needed! 

Waffled enough on a topic probably not sufficiently qualified to discuss or pass comment, only remind this is what we do and how ~ and hopefully it has provided food for thought on ways to apply this to your own life. Rather helpful and very important teachings there indeed!

So ends today lesson...


  1. Many years ago now my husband switched all my accounts to a Credit Union instead of a Bank. We have not encountered any problems since doing so. We have found the fees and charges are cheaper than banks.

    I have managed to reduce our debt to just a home loan that I am keen to pay off asap. I could say we wouldn't get caught short if this sort of glitch happened to us. I keep a fairly stocked pantry and freezer just in case and there is usually money left over from our pay.

    Those are some very black rain clouds...

    A very thought provoking post.

    Have a great Sunday,


  2. Hi Mands, We, too, deal only with a credit union. We find the service absolutely fantastic. In some cases the fees are lower than the banks, and some things which the banks charge for, our credit union does NOT. I would NEVER go back to a bank.
    I also have a well stocked pantry and store cupboard, and some cash tucked away.
    I read most of what you write, and you seem to be doing well. Keep up the good work Mands!