Checks? Who writes checks anymore, let alone balance a checkbook? While the process may seem old-fashioned, believe it or not, it’s still necessary.
Balancing a checkbook, also known as bank/account reconciliation is still needed because it can help you catch any errors or fees and helps you stay on top of your finances. Read on to see how to balance your checkbook and the reasons why you should do it.
How to Balance Your Checkbook
- Keep Track – Whether you use your checkbook’s register, a notebook or an app, the important place to start is to write down every transaction you make. From ATM withdrawals to buying a pack of gum at the drugstore, list every purchase, withdrawal or deposit you make.
- Collect Receipts – The easiest way to track purchases and potentially fight fraud is to keep and collect your receipts. Don’t throw them out until your account is reconciled.
- Add it Up – Add all of your deposits and subtract your withdrawals from your starting balance for the month.
- Review Statements – Your bank statement is the most useful information you’ll have to view all of your transactions including any fees you may have been unaware of. The ending balance for the month should match the number you came up from step 3. If not, scrutinize your statement to see what you may have missed.
- Follow Up – If you uncover fraudulent charges, discover fees you didn’t know were coming or find an error – contact your financial institution immediately to rectify it.
Why You Should Balance Your Checkbook
Sometimes those with access to our accounts, like merchants and banks, can make mistakes – usually costly mistakes. Keep track of overdraft and other fees, look for expected refunds etc. to make sure everything on your account is supposed to be there.
The biggest reason to balance your checkbook and review your accounts is to detect fraud when it happens, not months later. Looking through your transactions may help you discover fraudulent charges. Contact your financial institution immediately if you find fraud.
The best way to stay on top of your spending is to review your monthly charges to see where all your money really goes. This will help you better control cash flow and your budget.
Don’t be intimidated by the whole process. If you’re tech savvy, there are numerous apps out there to help you through it all. We also have a video that covers the basics of balancing your checkbook, view it here. Have any questions? Contact a WWFCU Member Service Representative at (734 721-5700, stop by our branch or visit wwfcu.org.