How To Balance Your Checkbook like a Pro
Balancing your checkbook – for something so simple, it sure confuses us a whole lot. Balancing your check book is basically the first step in keeping track of your finances by making sure that all of the money going in and all of the money going out matches what’s on your bank statement. Have we lost you yet? Here’s a breakdown:
Pick a method.
Your bank probably gives you the most convenient method for balancing your checkbook – the register that’s right on the first page of your literal checkbook. You’re supposed to use this to write down the date of a transaction, the check number, how much it was for, your bank account’s total at the end of the transaction, and a little description of what the transaction was (for whom, if it was an ATM, all that fun stuff).
But you don’t necessarily need to use this register; we just think it’s mighty convenient that it’s right at the beginning of your checkbook. You can design your own finance sheets, or buy some online, or even use an app. The important part is that you’re including all of the necessary info on this.
It’s a mighty nice idea to keep track of all the money going in and going out of your bank account, right? Right. Too bad that’s not always what we do. This is where that handy little register at the front of the checkbook comes in handy (seriously guys, we’re really advocating that method.) If that’s really not your thang, make sure you figure out what is and go with it consistently.
Match it up with your monthly statement.
When your monthly statement rolls around (whether it be paperless or in the mail), this is when it’s time to do the actual balancing. Look at all of the transactions (yes, all of them) and make sure that they match up with what you have.
So why are we balancing our checkbooks?
There are a few reasons. First, it’s a great way to catch theft and fraud – if there’s a glaring difference, you’ll be able to quickly know that something’s up, and you’ll know exactly how it happened. It’s also a good way to stay accountable for all the money you might be spending and keep all that hard-earned cashflow in check (pun totally intended).