Balance Checkbook – Daily Financial Tip

balance your checkbook and save moneyWhile balancing your check book is not a difficult thing to do, the statistics say that you probably don’t do it. According to Moebs Services, an economic research firm, 87% of consumers don’t balance their checking accounts.

If you don’t know how much money is in your account, you’re much more likely to bounce a check or incur some other type of bank fee. Many people assume that they can rely on their ATM receipts to keep track of their checking balance, but these do not show outstanding checks. They may also not show debit card transactions which can lead a person to think there is more money in the account than there truly is.

The first step to rectifying this situation is to take a look at your checkbook and see how long it has been since you last balanced it. Once you have determined that, you have one of three choices:

1) Balance the checkbook.

2) Take the banks word on your current balance and write the balance from your last statement you received as a starting point. If you have cashed checks or made ATM or debit card transactions since then, balance the checkbook with those transactions included.

3) If your checking account is in such a state that you don’t know where to start, then begin keeping track of everything from today and just forget about everything previously. When your next checking statement arrives, you can balance everything from that.

The most important step is not which of the three you choose, but simply to get started. You may want to stick a post-it note “balance now” reminder on the outside of your checkbook. This way if you haven’t been in the habit of balancing it every time you have written a check, you’ll have a small reminder to do so. If you use an ATM card and / or debit card that takes money out of your checking account, you can place them inside the checkbook so that whenever you use either, the checkbook is right there to balance.

Knowing how much you have in your account will make it much less likely that you incur any banking fees on your checking account which can save you quite a bit of money.

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14 Responses to Balance Checkbook – Daily Financial Tip

  1. jonathan radande says:

    Nice article. It’s really unbelievable how many people go about without balancing their checkbooks. I used to be one of them, but ever since I started, i feel more in control of my money. I wrote about it a few weeks ago here: Balancing My Checkbook

  2. lexi says:

    I too am amazed at the number of people who do not balance their checkbooks. I have found discrapancies between charges, double charges, etc that need corrective action taken on them. I have even found errors in my favor, like the tip never got added to a charge and I only got charged the meal amount, etc.

  3. jessica says:

    since i have my finances under control–i have a sense of confidence that i didn’t have before. A LOT less stress too.

  4. stephanie says:

    I have been trying to balance my checkbook for quite a while and still ran into a problem when my husband would use the debit card and forget to tell me or lose the reciept. So a couple of years ago, I started to round up my entries just to make sure all of his purchases would be covered, and in addition to covering his unknown amounts, I was amazed to see how much extra had added up for the year. That money now goes into our savings at the end of the year.

  5. Tanya G says:

    In Australia it is mainly businesses that have cheque accounts. Some people do but in my experience not many. I used to years ago but the fees that were associated with it were huge compared to the everyday savings type account where you just use an ATM card to access your money.
    I think the main idea in the tip is no matter what sort of account you have it is important to know that it all balances

  6. makingourway says:


    First, love your anti-spam / anti-robot technique!
    For many years I had no idea how much money was in my account and I bounced checks all to frequently.
    Now I keep track of everything in quicken and know exactly how much I have, how much I owe and what I will pay every day up to 3 months in advance.
    All it takes is a few minutes each day — boy does it remove alot of anxiety!
    Have a wonderful Friday,

  7. pfadvice says:

    First, love your anti-spam / anti-robot technique!

    After waking up to a few hundred spam comments that got through the regular spam defense system, we decided that another line of defense was needed. My email box has been a lot less full the last couple of days which is just wonderful! :)

  8. Gloria says:

    I use my online bank and excel worksheet to do this. It is a very simple system.

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  10. Perky says:

    easy indeed, wanna know how many hours I have spent this week getting 1 +1 to equal 2 not 82? (but I admit once I get it straight I will feel much better)

  11. Perky says:

    I did it :)

  12. digitalguru says:

    I think anyone that balances their checkbook the old fashioned way instead of banking online is essentially a dinasour.

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  14. Nicole says:

    I balance my checkbook all of the time (after each transaction). But for some reason, my numbers don’t ever match up with what the bank is reporting. The numbers match for our joint account but not for my personal. I also double check several times with a calculator, a spreadsheet format and review all the statements to account for debits and credits. I believe someone from the bank or somewhere is doing some sneaky things in the background with my account.

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