Looking at mint.com this morning because I was transferring money around between accounts, I was thinking that maybe my finances have gotten a little…baroque. It’s not like I’m Goldman Sachs before the crash, moving money around like one of those guys on the street with the three cups and the shell, but still. At the moment I have:
*3 checking accounts. One is my “main” one, one is the Santander one I’m using for direct deposit so I can make $20 a month from them (!still not over that), and one is the capitalone360 account that I used to use as my “ATM” account and now basically use as a container to hold money once a month. Why, you ask? Because in order to remain no-fee, I still need to have $500 direct-deposited into my main account. But my paychecks are now going to the $20-a-month one. The hack for this — I know, I know — is to transfer my first paycheck to capitalone, then “push” the money to my main checking account, where it apparently looks to them as if it were a direct deposit. This is eye-rollingly complicated, but it’s working, and, again, it’s making me $20 a month at the cost of about 5 minutes of pressing buttons, so I’m going to keep on with it.
*Then I also have a Santander savings account and three capitalone360 savings accounts: emergency fund, travel fund, and the account where I hold onto the extra money I’m accumulating for my Roth IRA. Every time that one reaches $250 I buy more Roth shares, and in the meantime it earns a tiny bit of interest.
So that would be seven bank accounts. Nutty. And most transactions take time to clear, so on any given day, I feel like what’s showing up in mint.com is inaccurate; it’s always missing pending charges on a credit card, or temporarily “losing” money while it’s between banks, or whatever. Because it’s just me handling all this, I’m usually aware of what’s “wrong” with the dashboard display, but wow.
Anyway, my first “September” paycheck just cleared its way through the system, so I moved September’s e-fund contribution into that account right away because it might as well start earning interest now instead of sitting in checking until September 1. This puts me at 9% of my $6000 goal. Why $6000, you ask? Because that represents about six months of real emergency, bare-bones expenses. That’s a job-loss scenario in which I move in with my parents and pay no rent, but do continue to pay for my car costs, food, health insurance of some kind I guess, and other incidentals. So $6000 might actually get me through more than six months, but it seems like a reasonable start. Somewhat ironically, the most likely time for me to be out of work is actually next summer, by which time I won’t have that amount saved up; if I make it through next summer employed, I’m likely past the danger point, career-wise. But whatever, I can only do what I can do.
Do your e-funds assume “bare bones” or “normal” expenses?