Before I had kids, I was so organized. But all of that changed after Alex was born. It really hit home when he was a few months old and I checked the balance in my checking account to find it was off by a significant amount. I realized it was the check I’d written to American Express, and the amount I’d written the check for was the exact amount that should have been the remaining balance. In my sleep-deprived state, I’d switched the numbers around. Fortunately, I discovered the error before the account was overdrawn, and managed to transfer money in time to avoid any fees.
This was a few years ago, around the time that the law permitting companies to treat checks electronically went into effect. When I called American Express, I was told that they would send me a copy of the electronic check in eight weeks. (I never received it, but by the time the eight weeks were up, I had my canceled check from the bank. The experience didn’t do anything to bolster my confidence in Amex, however.) I mentioned my experience in a discussion over at Mighty Bargain Hunter, and either he or one of his readers brilliantly suggested that duplicate checks would avoid the problem in the future.
I’d never used duplicate checks before – I hated how thick the carbon copies made the checkbook. But now they’re the only kind I order. Since the organized me seems to be a thing of the past, duplicate checks ensure that I always know when I’ve written a check, who it was made out to, and how much it was for. There’s been more than one occasion when I’ve been relieved to have all of that information so easily accessible, so duplicate checks definitely work for me.