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One recurring problem we had in the Fire House was that we'd double-spend money charged to credit cards. That is, we'd charge something, fail to take it out of the budget, then re-spend that money again on something else. The credit card bill would come at the end of the month and we couldn't pay it off.

Our solution to this is to keep a Post-It in the front of the checkbook noting how much of the checkbook balance is set aside for the credit card bill. Our real "available" checkbook balance is the true balance minus the set-aside. As charges are made, they are subtracted out of the set-aside. When the credit card bill comes at the end of the month, I write a check for the amount using the set-aside money. As a result we very rarely pay finance charges anymore.

Notice I referred to the credit card. We have one card that is typically used. We have three total (his, hers, and ours) but only "ours" is used regularly. This method only works if all the charges get set aside. That's easier to do with one credit card, but could be adapted to multiple cards.


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