Do you? I mean, really… do you balance your checkbook (or your checking account)??
You are probably in one of three camps right now… Camp #1. Of course, doesn’t everyone? Or Camp #2. No! Do people seriously still do that? Or Camp #3. What on earth are you even talking about??
My hunch is that many people are in camps #2 or #3. If that is you… I wanted to share a little about what balancing a checking account is, why I think it is important, and an easy way that I found to do it.
How Do You Balance Your Checking Account?
Balancing your checking account simply means that you keep a record of what you spend and then you balance it (or compare it) with your statement from the bank. “Back in the day” the way this was done was by keeping track of what you spent in your checkbook register. Then, when the checking account statement came in the mail, you could make sure everything went through the bank and that the balance you said you have matched what the bank said you have.
But today… we have online banking. Which makes things SO much easier. Also, we don’t write checks much. So balancing your checking account looks a lot different but the concept is still the same.
Even if you don’t write checks and you don’t use the checkbook register, it is still important to balance your checking account. In this case, you would keep track of what you spent… when you swiped your debit card, when you paid bills online, when you went to the ATM, and/or when you did write a check. You would also keep track of when you got paid and how much your deposit was.
Then, a couple times a month you simply log into your online banking and make sure what you spent cleared through the bank and the balance you have matches the balance the bank says.
Use an App To Make Balancing Your Checking Account EASY
My husband and I use an app to balance our checking account. It is free to use and we think that using an app makes it SO simple because we both have the app on our phones and we share the log in so we can both add transactions.
In the app, you can enter all of your transactions including deposits and withdraws. Once they have processed through your bank you can (✔) check them off (Jive them). It’s also important to make sure the transactions and balance you have matches what the bank says!
A couple times a month, I log into our online banking and balance our checking account. In the app there is a ✔ mark next to each transaction, I click that ✔ when an item has processed through our online banking. Then I can make sure the balance we say we have matches what the bank says. If it is different, it prompts me to look into it. Did we forget to put a transaction in? Was there a fraudulent charge?
Why Is It Important To Balance Your Checking Account?
The main reason I think it is important to balance your checking account is to make sure you are not missing fraudulent charges. There have been a number of times that we caught fraud charges quickly because we noticed them as we were balancing our account.
You might say… well, I log in everyday so I don’t need to balance mine. And maybe that is true if that’s what works for you.
I would just caution you to be sure that every charge is actually yours. Many times, fraudulent charges will come in small amounts to gas stations or other common stores and it’s almost as if they are trying to see if you notice before they hit your account with a large fraudulent charge.
Also… most transactions process through your bank quickly, but there are times when it may take a few days for one to process. If you are keeping track on your own, then you won’t forget or be surprised when a transaction takes awhile to process. You will have already accounted for it and will know what your balance is.
Another reason that I think it is good to keep track of what you spend in your checking account is simply because it keeps you connected to your spending. Immediately after you spend (or at least that evening) you can enter your transactions and you will see your new balance. You will become more aware of your spending. In the ClearCheckbook app you can also assign categories to your transactions. This means, every time your enter a gas transaction you would select the gas category. Then, you will easily be able to see how much you are spending on gas by pulling up that category!
I’d love to hear… Do you balance your checking account? Are you willing to give it a try after reading this post? What other questions do you have?