In our household, I manage the bills. Money comes into our account via paycheques or shady off-shore dealings and money laundering (so clean!), and once a month I log in and pay utility bills for the month. I don’t mind doing this, and it allows me to stay on top of our finances and also sleep at night without worrying that our internet is going to be turned off because someone who isn’t me has a laissez-faire attitude towards Big Business and due dates.
I recently was convinced that paying bills manually was so Sense and Sensibility, so in an attempt to be future-tastic I decided I would convert all our utilities to a pre-authorized withdrawal from our account so I could sit back and enjoy the finer things in life like fish eggs and dirt fungus fed to me by well-oiled men with excellent muscle definition and minimal clothing. The automatic payments were easy to set up with few exceptions (two accounts that only allow for the minimum payment or the entire balance, neither of which work for me), and I was ready to begin a life of techno-leisure.
.. until today, when I decided to check up on things to make sure everything was still ready to go. Oh, all the accounts are set up properly and there is no suspicious activity on anything (those brothel charges were mine), but I’m a closeted control freak: when I pay the bills, all the bills are paid by the 15th and I don’t have to think about it until the following month. On this brand new fangled “pre-auth” system, the payments come out of the account WHENEVER THEY DAMN WELL PLEASE which means I now have to actively keep track of when money needs to be available so things don’t get complicated. So, old system: 10 minutes of work a month. New system: spreadsheets, multiple account logins, actual budgeting, and stress. HOW IS THIS BETTER? The future SUCKS!
As advanced and space-age as the future is what with all the jetpacks and vacuum tubes and tiny hand computers, some things are still stuck in 1963 and are very slowly trying to catch up with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, until they take that huge leap to “completely useful” and not “hey, we’re trying”, some things should probably remain in the past. I suppose I should be glad that I don’t have to resort to paying things by cheque (Apple, I’m looking at you – seriously, what the fuck) or actually step foot into a meatspace bank (except on payday, because I get adorable paper cheques from work every two weeks-ish and my bank doesn’t have the “take a picture with your phone” thing). I’m still annoyed, though. My old system was so EASY and now I have charts. Not the good kind of charts (flow), either – the bad kind, with numbers and non-delicious pies.
Now I want pie. Can I afford pie? I think I have a pie spreadsheet.