Feren (feren) wrote,

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One of the quirks about my employer is that they pay on a biweekly schedule, meaning that I receive 26 pay checks per year. Since we've selected Friday as our pay day I essentially receive my pay check "every other" Friday. This is better than some companies that pay on a monthly basis but it is not nearly as convenient as other companies I've worked for that pay on a weekly basis. The biweekly payroll system is most annoying because it tends to play havoc with scheduling my fiscal obligations; for example most of my credit cards are due on the 12th, my storage unit's rent is due on the 10th, my cellular bill is due on the 18th and my insurance premium is withdrawn on the 27th. My share of rent and utilities is due to roho anytime between the 2nd and the 12th (it fluctuates depending on how busy he and I are) so I have a small bit of reprieve in that aspect... but not much. Ultimately, because of the widely dispersed nature of my bills and the total inflexibility of my pay schedule, my account balances tend to see periods of "feast" and periods of "famine." One week I will have an incredibly high available balance in my checking account (over $2,000) and then three days later I can have an incredibly low balance (say around $30) because an electronic payment cleared for one of my expenses.

In the last few months I have done my best to negate this "yo-yo effect" by taking two courses of action. First, to prevent my account from being totally devastated and left barren for a week or more I have stopped making monumental payments in excess of $500 towards outstanding balances such as my Citibank card. Yes, this leaves me accruing interest but I'm trying to get things normalized to the point that no matter what I will always have a balance of $1,500 or greater in my checking account (believe me when I say that's harder to achieve than it sounds when you were trained to pay down outstanding debts as fast as possible). The second step I've taken is to switch to what is referred to as "direct deposit" for our payroll. For those of you not familiar with it, direct deposit is a system that electronically credits my checking account at 12:30 AM on pay day. This is particularly useful because it eliminates the "lag" that can be associated with depositing a paper check (I hate having to wait for checks to clear because you never know if it will be one day or four days before the money is available) and it also makes life easier for me by eliminating a biweekly side-trip to the bank. Since my credit union keeps standard bank hours it is difficult to get in to the lobby before they lock the doors and for some reason I don't feel comfortable depositing my pay into an ATM. That preference for face-to-face human contact and records-keeping usually means a Saturday deposit, and that in turn means an even longer delay before the check clears. So having direct deposit is a blessing because my paycheck is deposited into my account for me before I even receive the paper stub that acts as a "receipt."

I checked my balance this morning as usual and was surprised to see a higher balance than I expected. When I looked at the transaction details for my account I found that my employer had made not one but two deposits. It took a minute for me to figure out but eventually I realized that what I was seeing was my regular paycheck plus my back-pay check from the 2001-2002 performance appraisal. Usually those are given out only as actual paper checks... but I guess our payroll department was feeling lazy this week.

To paraphrase Homer Simpson, Mmmmmmmm, $1,565.48 of unexpected money. Now I have to decide what to do with it...

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