About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

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  1. I balance my check book every month. Years ago I wouldn’t and it was stressful even though I always had an idea of how much money was in the account.

    Sometimes, I would forget about an ATM withdrawal or a check and end up overdrawn. So, once I started balancing my checkbook every month there’s no stress (at least in terms of my checkbook!).

  2. I actually balance my checkbook regularly. A long time ago I developed a spreadsheet that automatically reconciles my balances as I mark the entered transaction cleared or (later added) since I use a debit card transactions are sometimes preauthorized in the amount of $1 and it will accomodate that as well. At the top of the screen I see what my balance is, what the bank balance should be and the amount of any outstanding items. It takes all of the pain out of balancing a checkbook. I also have a spread that functions like the “statement reconcilement” page that is printed on the back of the statement. Again, I just fill in the blanks and Excel does the math.

  3. I once worked in customer service @ a bank and it was most frustrating for both our customers and for me when someone would come in and tell me that the bank had made an error but they did not keep a transaction register, or they would write in the amounts but never reconcile with their statement. If the bank makes a mistake, we are happy to correct it, but usually it turned out that the error was on our customer’s side. It is unpleasant to be in the position where you have to tell someone they made a mistake and that the fees they were charged will remain on their account. BTW rounding deposits down and withdrawals up can also lead to overdrafts even though it looks like it would not. Balance Balance Balance – it saves you money, time and frustration in the end.

  4. Balancing your checking account seems like a hassle, but it’s totally worth it. It’s so easy just to think you can keep an eye on your account with online banking.

    That’s a great convenience – but I’ve found if you don’t keep track of things yourself with hard copies – you find out about issues after it’s already too late.