Despite how easy it is to balance a checkbook, very few people take the time to do it and the few who do, don't always do it the right way. If you write down in your checkbook ledger what should be deducted and added, you are on the right track ? if not, start there and follow these nine easy steps to a balanced checkbook. Once you are comfortable with these nine steps, it is possible to balance your checkbook each month within 30-45 minutes.
- Make sure that all deposits, withdrawals (maintenance fees, ATM fees, and automatic payments) are added and subtracted and calculate the balance as of the last transaction made.
- Keep all check-card receipts, duplicate checks (or returned checks from the bank) and withdrawal slips until you sit down to balance your checkbook.
- Mark an "x" in your checkbook by each transaction that has gone through the bank. It is easy to do once your statement arrives and you can put all checks in numerical order and easily check them off.
- Do the same thing with any ATM withdrawals or check-card purchases.
- Make any adjustments necessary to "true-up" your ledger and comparing deposit slips and purchases/withdrawals. *If you notice any discrepancies between your records and the bank's ? give your bank a call.
- To calculate your balance write down your checkbook's current balance at the top of a piece of paper (normally the backside of your statement will have a worksheet to complete for this task).
- Subtract any amounts for un-cleared deposits and bank fees such as monthly fees or for any insufficient funds charges.
- Add any un-cleared checks and the interest you have earned to this figure.
- Finally, compare the final figure that you have to your bank statement ? they should match.
With very little effort, it is easy to keep track of expenses and stay out of trouble with your bank. Balancing your checkbook is very important because you will avoid overdraft or insufficient funds fees due to bouncing checks because of not knowing your balance. In addition you will protect your credit and verify that your financial institution has made no mistakes. You'll also be able to keep better track of cash flow and manage your money with far fewer headaches and surprises.
If You Can't Get Your Checkbook to Balance; Try These Tips!
From time to time, everyone records something wrong or adds incorrectly ? and a few easy tricks make it easy to find that error.
- Verify that the dollar amount of the items entered in your ledger matches with the dollar amount of the items on the bank statement.
- Compare ledger and deposit slips with your statement.
- If the error is a whole number, check your addition and subtraction again.
- If the number is divisible by nine, you may have transposed figures ($63 recorded instead of $36).
- If the balances still won't match up and you can't find the problem, make an appointment with your bank to figure out the problem. Most banks offer help complimentary or for a nominal fee.
Here are Some Helpful Hints to Stay in BalanceReview your checkbook register regularly to ensure that you've entered in all transactions.
Enter the name of the payee and the amount in your ledger when you write your check instead of waiting until right before you balance it.
Place decimal points exactly where they should be to avoid calculation errors.
Keep all ATM, check-card or deposit/withdrawal receipts together until you are ready to balance your checkbook.
Robb Ksiazek is a successful author and publisher for Checks-4U.com. He has researched and written hundreds of articles and can simplify your online search by recommending merchants for the best value and selections in business or personal checks, address labels, rubber stamps and envelopes.