Clerical Note:
I’m Old-Fashioned
7 September 2018

ΒΆ This is an old-fashioned household: I pay most of the bills by mail, which means writing checks. Since writing checks is unbearably tedious, I let Quicken do the job for me. That’s all I use Quicken for. I don’t even balance the check book anymore, because the bank has moved on, and no longer returns the negotiated checks.

Printing checks means turning the printer on and loading blank checks. There is more often than not some little drama accompanying this business. The printer is out of ink, or I forget how to load the checks, and the actual check numbers don’t correspond to my register.

When bills come in, I enter the amounts in a table in Evernote. The table already contains the names of the payees. I add up the figures in subtotals and a grand total. Then, when it’s time to pay the bills, I copy the information onto Quicken. This might look like unnecessary work, but I find that it isn’t: in Quicken, the payee slot is usually autofilled after I type two or three characters, and retyping the amounts strengthens my awareness of spending.

When the checks are printed, I note the actual check numbers in the Evernote table. I don’t bother correcting Quicken if I’ve loaded the checks incorrectly. I’m not going to re-open Quicken to find out whom I paid how much and when. I have the much more accessible table. 

I use a stamp to sign the checks. Much easier. 

When stuffing the envelopes, I still have to make a point, because I don’t yet have the habit, of not licking the envelopes until I’ve checked that they’re all loaded correctly, with the payee’s address visible in the window (and not the signature on my check), and also made sure that I didn’t stuff two checks in one envelope.

You’re probably asking, why for the love of Gutenberg don’t I bank online? But I already told you.

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