Account-ability

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Once we’d decided how we were going to pay for the wedding, we both assumed that it was best to just set up a joint savings account at the bank we already used, that way we could easily transfer funds into and out of it as needed.

Then it occurred to me that, just maybe, it might be better to set up a joint checking account instead of a savings account. After all, while we were giving ourselves a certain amount of lead-time, eventually we’re going to be needing to take funds out on a regular basis to cover deposits and other purchases. Some savings accounts might allow a few withdrawals a month with no penalty, but towards the end that might be a problem.

A checking account it is, right? Until I actually looked it up and learned our bank charges a nominal fee for accounts not hooked to a minimum direct deposit or a $1500 balance. Um, yeah, not so good for starting out our wedding fund.

So the search was on–does anyone offer fee-free checking anymore? Not at the big banks, it turns out. But if you start looking local (and don’t forget about any credit unions you might be able to join) you can usually find a couple of options out there.

The thing is, you have to weigh the costs over the convenience. Our bank only charged $5 a month for balances under $1500–not extravagant, by any means, but a charge nonetheless. Putting away a couple hundred dollars a month means the fee would only be applied for the first few months, but when you’re on a tight budget, even a little bite could be uncomfortable.

Still, is $5 a month worth the time it would take to set up an account at an unfamiliar bank and drive over our deposits on the odd lunch break? If we went with another bank, it would need to be one with convenient ATM machines or–better yet–Saturday hours for when we needed cash for certain expenses. Not to mention the hassle of closing a new account.

But we’re online folks–the more we can do from our laptops the better. What kind of options are there? Well, first we considered a PayPal account. About the only thing you can’t do is write checks directly from the account, which may or may not be important to your vendors, but it does allow ease of deposits and transfers and a MasterCard Debit Card for most other purchases.

Another option was ING Direct–they offer both online savings and checking accounts, you can link up to 3 personal checking accounts to your online checking for ease of transfers, an ATM network with no fees and the ability to write checks against your account. Sounds like a definite contender to me!

Whatever route you decide to take, it’s helpful to have one place set aside to keep track of wedding expenses and available budget. Whether a piggy bank, a savings account or one credit card you use and then pay off each month.

Where are you stocking your wedding day funds?
Any options I haven’t listed here that maybe I should have? 

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