When I was working in the banking system, I would get at least 5 customers per day who were having problems with non-sufficient funds, and in most cases it was because the customer did not balance their checkbook. This neglect was not usually due to laziness, but more often because the customer had never been taught that they SHOULD do this, much less HOW to do it. In today’s times, with most people using debit cards and online banking, there are even less people out there balancing their checkbooks – most don’t even have or use checks.
It is important to keep a ledger (see photo above, for what the register offered by most banks looks like) of all transactions, whether it be a physical paper checkbook register, an excel spreadsheet, a software program, or an online program such as Manilla. The image at the top of the post is from an excel template. I simply went into excel, selected new document, and searched for a check register template, and downloaded it. I am happy to help with this, just use the contact form to message me.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Manilla. Manilla did not request this post, but this is an affiliate link, so I will get a very small stipend should anyone sign up for this FREE service. The link is here to help you, not buy me a bottle of water, but to offer it to you, I have to include all of this 🙂 For the record, affiliate link aside, it’s a pretty awesome service that allows you to not only balance your accounts, but helps with budgeting and bill paying too.
Regardless of what system you use, the actual process is pretty much the same. The most challenging part is when you first start out, primarily because you may have forgotten about something that is outstanding.
- Start with the current balance in your account.
- Add in any deposits you have made that have not posted yet.
- Subtract any purchases, automatic withdrawals, or checks that you have written, etc that may not be showing up yet.
- From this point on, it’s just a matter of recording EVERY deposit, interest earned, credit, purchase, withdrawal, check, service fee, and automatic payment you have coming out. It’s easy to either check daily online to see what’s cleared and mark it off your list, or wait for the monthly statement and reconcile it then.
The most important thing to remember is that the balance showing in your ledger is what you really have in the bank (if you’ve recorded everything properly), NOT the balance showing online. Why? Because the bank doesn’t know what checks you have outstanding, or what payments are coming out in the future, etc, until those items are actually presented and processed. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “But the ATM said I had $500, and it LET me use my debit card. How was I supposed to know my $450 rent check hadn’t cleared. The bank OWES me my overdraft fees AND $450!”. That’s when the bank employee smiles and takes a deep breath, and has to figure out a way to explain to you where you went wrong.