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Learning how to balance your checkbook can help you spot money leaks, avoid fees, and help you move closer to your financial and personal goals.
Why You Need to Balance Your Checking Account
As much as I love apps, sometimes going old school can be a boost to your finances. Balancing your checking account can help you stay on top of your money.
Banks can make mistakes, both in your favor and to your financial detriment.
Having a separate way to verify your account balance is a way to keep them on your toes.
Simply using your ATM receipts can also be misleading. When you get your receipt, it's simply a snapshot. It doesn't show pending balances.
Another benefit is if you keep your check register up to date, you'll reduce or eliminate any overdraft charges.
Getting a Check Register
When you receive your box of checks you may have noticed a few check registers included.
You can also get more from your credit union or bank if you have ran out of them or lost them.
If you prefer a more electronic version, you can download a free printable excel check register.
Using a Check Register
As you make transactions throughout the month, go ahead and record on your personal check register.
When you receive your monthly banks statement (electronic or paper), pull out your check register and use the following steps to make sure everything is alright.
- Check all your deposits. Mark off on your register all your deposits into the checking account.
- Check all your checks and bill payments. Mark off them on your register as well.
- Review all your ATM withdrawals. As you mark them off, remind yourself what you spent the money on. You may discover a money leak.
- Verify all your check card transactions. Double check to see if everything matches up.
- Closely check any fees or interest earned for your account. If your bank is charging excessive fees, consider moving your money to a bank or credit union that values its customers better.
- Make sure your total and the bank's total matches. Don't stress over pending bills if the math adds up. Depending on your bank's policy, they can take a day or more to go through on your account. Call your bank if you notice any discrepancies.
The process in review your checking account doesn't take as long as many people think.
It's an extra step, but it adds a safety net to your financial system.
Thoughts on Balancing Your Checking Account
How many of you balance your checking accounts? How many do it regularly? Why or why not? How do you feel about your bank or credit union’s service?