I found myself writing out checks this morning. One check for monthly board, one to the farrier, one to the vet, yadda yadda yadda.  Each time I wrote another check I found myself gulping at the amount, and by the time I was done writing checks and tallying up the damage to my checkbook I was feeling rather faint.

Financing this ridiculously expensive sport is no easy task, and God knows many people (partners, friends, parents, strangers) wonder why we are so comfortable spending such obscene amounts of money.  My husband I were swimmers in college; I know he wishes on a daily basis that the kids had taken up our sport.  My justification is that I finance my horse habit myself.  When my husband and I got married, he wanted to do what his parents did with their finances; he wanted a joint account for all our joint expenses, and then separate accounts for our special interests. His Dad has a boat and loves to fish, and his Mom loves to go to the casinos. They each take a bit out of each paycheck to put towards their hobbies.  So that’s what we do.

As it turned out, when we got married neither of us had a hobby.  It wasn’t until years later when I started to ride again and got Sugar that I needed to have a “boat fund” of my own. I promptly named my new account the Sugar Stash. (Cute, right??)  I manage the account myself, which is dicey at best since numbers and I aren’t exactly sympatico. (You’d know this if you ever saw me trying to count strides in a line).  To make matters less stressful, I went back to relying on a method I learned from my college roommate, one she called BSIH.

BSIH got me through most of my college career with no issues. When we started dating back in college, my husband was an accounting major. Once we’d been together a few months I decided to take shameless advantage of that fact and asked him to balance my checkbook, a chore I hated with a passion.  While he did so I sat on a nearby chair and watched TV.  Every now and then he’d make a noise and I’d look over to see his eyebrows raised, and an incredulous look on his face.  As time progressed I noticed the noises were more emphatic, his face was getting redder and redder, the vein in his temple was pulsing, and his eyebrows were practically meeting his hairline.

Finally he turned to me and said, “What.the.HELL.is.BSIH?”

“Oh,” I said, quite proud of myself. “That’s Bank Says I Have.”

He was beyond words. His face clearly showed that such a thing was completely incomprehensible to him. Honestly, the poor man was speechless for a couple minutes, just stared at me with his mouth opening and closing like a guppy, as if he wanted to say something but just couldn’t figure out what it was.

“How? What? How?” he stuttered. Finally he got control of himself  and managed to ask how exactly BSIH worked.

“I enter in each deposit or debit and add or subtract accordingly.  Then every now and then I check to see that everything matches up.  After several transactions I compare what I have to what the bank says I have.  Whichever is the lower number is the one I go with. I haven’t bounced a check yet!”

We’ve been together 25 years, and the man still hasn’t quite recovered from the shock of that revelation.

I’ve been back in the horse world for 8 years now, paying my horse-related bills from my own Sugar Stash. I’ve successfully used the tried and true BSIH method of accounting for all of those 8 years.  And I haven’t bounced a check yet!