5 Tips to Balancing Your Checkbook

Ok, I have a confession to make. I hate balancing my checkbook each month. It is tedious and boring at best, and downright painful at worst. It always seems as if I make a calculation error that takes me forever to track down. So why do I do it? Because I constantly find mistakes that my bank makes that could have cost me money (did you ever notice that the mistakes banks make never work in your favor). Here are my top 5 ways to make balancing your checkbook easier.

Take Advantage of Technology:

The internet has changed everything about banking and personal finance. There are a ton of great software programs out there to help you balance your checkbook and understand where your money is going. Spend a few minutes per week entering the checks you wrote into a quality program like Quicken and the job becomes much easier.

Watch Your Account Between Statements:

You don’t need to look at your account everyday, but online banking now allows you to take a quick look at your account anytime you want. This allows you to identify problems or mistakes and get them resolved quickly.

Don’t blow it off:

Faced with the task of balancing your checkbook or watching this week’s episode of American Idol or the ballgame, most of us are going to opt for American Idol or the ballgame. Then, before you know it, you have to balance your checkbook for 3 or 4 months. This can make the task seem overwhelming. Make sure to spend some time each month and balance it completely. You can even do it while you watch American Idol or the ballgame.

Keep Track:

Make sure you keep track of your transactions. When your write check make sure to write the information in your checkbook register or get checks with a carbon copy. Save your cash station receipts and make sure to document anywhere you are having automatic withdrawals from your account done.

Work With Your Bank:

If you find a problem, call your bank right away. It is much easier to sort out a problem and fix it when the problem is recent and can be tracked down quickly. If the problem was caused by the bank, ask them to fix it. If the problem was cause by you, and you have been a good customer, ask the bank to waive any fees they may have assessed you. They most likely will in the interest of good customer service.

Keeping your banking records up to date and accurate can often be a grind, but your diligence can save you a ton of money over the long haul.