There are several reasons you should balance your checking account. 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.
How to Use a Check Register
When you opened your checking account with your bank or credit union, you probably received some check registers included with your box of paper checks.
They can be a very handy tool that you can use once a week to help you stay on top of your accounts.
- 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.
If you prefer a more electronic version that you can keep tabs on from anywhere, you can download a free excel check register.
Keeping your Checking Account Balanced
How many of you balance your checking accounts on a regular basis? Why or why not? How do you feel about your bank or credit union’s service? Have you had to deal with a mistake from the bank’s side?