{ 5 comments }

Money Beagle

I don’t balance my checkbook but I do always have a handle on what’s going on through my online ledger. I always keep a cushion of money that even uncleared stuff never puts me in any jeopardy, and if it’s a large purchase, well I know that it’s there so again, no surprises. You’re right, though, it’s going the way of the dinosaur.

Thanks.

Anthony @ FiscallySound

My wife enjoys balancing the checkbook, but I agree it seems to be a lost art. We were recently traveling and one of our debit cards was not working so my wife pulled out her checkbook and said “that’s odd, there is money in the account.” The lady behind the counter said “wow, that’s impressive… I didn’t know anyone still did that.”

It’s amazing what will slip by if we don’t pay attention.

Chris Gold

I agree it is a lost art, especially now with mobile banking. I just have my bank’s app and track my balances that way. It’s saves me time and effort and I enjoy the novelty of not having to sit there with my checkbook in hand.

Robert

I use a spreadsheet to keep a running balance for my checking account. It has a seperate tab for each month, so I can track monthly expenses, and a tab for outstanding payments.

But the real value of my spreadsheet is that my outstanding payments tab also tracks upcoming bills for the next 8 weeks (4 pay periods). Because most of my bills are fairly regular, I can track what I will probably be paying in upcoming months. I also allocate a standard amount every week to be taken out as cash for day to day expenses (gas, groceries, a little spending money, etc.)

With a glance at the first/Summary tab I can tell how much money I have in my account, how much has yet to be deducted for current bills (even ones where I have yet to write the check) and how much I should have over the next 2 months. If I have something I think I want to purchase, I use that information to decide if I can afford it and whether to buy it now or wait a bit.

Steve

Between Quicken and online account access, I am able to reconcile checking and credit card accounts daily, which I’ve made a pretty dedicated habit.

On one rare occasion, I let it slide for a couple of days, and of course that was when my iTunes account was hacked and somebody used my banking info to download about $75 worth of iPod games. Not a big hit, until checks that I had written days before started clearing. At $35 a pop, the NSF fees added up and only accelerated the problem until my account was deeply overdrawn.

Fortunately, I was able to work with iTunes and my bank to have the all of the charges credited back to my account, but the stress of having to deal with this problem might have been somewhat reduced if I’d caught the charges as soon as they appeared.

I can’t stress the benefits of keeping close track of account balances, and I don’t see any need to wait until my statements come in to reconcile them.

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