A Balancing Act

Sunday morning coffee. Check email, facebook, anthropologie.com website sales. Feed the cats, shuffle around in a robe for hours. In general, relax. Balance my checkbook.

casey printer for blogTake out all the receipts that have been making my wallet bulge since last Sunday morning, write them down, log onto my checking account, open my budget spreadsheet, and while enjoying some nice warm coffee with stevia and soymilk creamer, sometimes with a cat perched atop the printer taking a nap, I turn on the 10-key calculator and get busy making sure my balance matches the bank and that all transactions for the last 7 days are accounted for.


freak-250I  get looks when I go into the bank and ask for a new register. Again. More often than not, they’re out of stock.  I go through registers frequently though, because I write down everything.  That metered parking?  Yep.  That coffee?  Yep.  That couch?  Of course.  Even the pathetic .01$ interest that the bank gives me monthly gets its own line.

Very recently, my friend Isis asked me if I balanced my checkbook (because she works in accounting) and then said I’m only the 2nd person to say so in her informal poll.  I consider it to be a validation of my mathematical skills to make sure my banks balance is almost exactly the same as the monthly bank statement (which I then match up to the checkbook, thank you very much!)

kapowThe new world order is making it so much harder on me though. Now that the bank forces online statements (or pay), I have to use my own ink to print them out, driving up my costs.

Add that businesses are now only printing receipts on demand, which I always demand.  Or if its a small, independent company, Square will send you an online receipt automatically once you’ve been registered.  There’s been a few instances where I couldn’t find a paper receipt to make a return and decided to save online receipts in order to return things for which no receipt was given (screw you, Zara!).

Adjust I did!, and now have an email folder specifically for receipts, leaving them in my inbox until I can write them down in the checkbook.  Leave no rock unturned, or email uncategorized or process undefined, I might say.

panicBut today, it being a Sunday and I being at the end of my weekly catch-up found some spending that, after all the steps I’ve taken to avoid this very scenario…I had no record of.

Two entries for a small coffee shop I had never been to before. I assumed the store would send me a digital receipt, and didn’t.  Nor did they offer me one.  How do I know that they didn’t overcharge me? What if I wanted to take back my overpriced rosemary flatbread crackers or if they had expired? Did I really go there? Is this really mine?

I blame this overzealous habit on my first foray into business as a summer high school graduate placed through Affirmative Action at Ashland Oil headquarters in Ashland, Ky (my hometown).  They weren’t happy to see me with zero experience assigned to the credit card department.  But by the end of the summer, they offered me a permanent job which of course, I said…HELL NO!  I gotta get out of here!

credit card form

In 1981, each gas station literally manually ran credit card purchases embossed through a carbon-copied two-piece paper. Somebody…actually many somebodies…had to add them all up by station.  by state. by month.  And run a paper tape with each transaction printed.  They came in 3 foot metal drawers. They had to add up exactly.  TWICE. And I was thus inducted into 10-key by touch . I think I’m justified in blaming them for my need to account for every penny.


But now it’s just fun.  You heard me.  f.u.n.  FUN in the sense of feeding my OCD master, my analytical sense, and exercising some mathematical chops.

There I go a counting. Accounting I will go.



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