How To Balance a Checkbook in 5 Simple Steps

how to balance a checkbook

There are several actions that could trigger this block including submitting a certain word or phrase, a SQL command or malformed data. The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. If that still doesn’t work, try having a trusted friend or family member look over your numbers for you. Many nonprofits and community organizations also offer free financial coaching and mentoring, which can be another handy option as well.

  1. Emily Guy Birken is a former educator, lifelong money nerd, and a Plutus Award-winning freelance writer who specializes in the scientific research behind irrational money behaviors.
  2. There are plenty of robust financial apps that can help you create a ledger of transactions if you don’t want to do this task by hand—but you don’t need anything fancy to get started.
  3. One of the easiest ways to throw off a balanced checkbook is to forget or miss a transaction.
  4. Offer pros and cons are determined by our editorial team, based on independent research.
  5. If you’re using online banking or mobile banking to track your accounts, you can log in daily to view new credit and debit transactions as well as balance information.

What are the 4 rules to keeping a checkbook balanced?

how to balance a checkbook

Now you’ll be able to compare your check register to your bank statement. The total from your calculations should come out to your current bank statement for the month. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication and are updated as provided by our partners. Some of the offers on this page may not be available through our website.

Digital Balancing Options

Budgeting apps, such as You Need a Budget or Mint, let you download your account transactions and view your register on your mobile device — and they can help you track expenses. Reviewing your account activity online can help you catch any errors and keep an eye on your finances. You can also sign up to receive alerts when your account balance falls below a designated amount. However, is an invoice the same as a bill with definitions and examples even though the paper-and-pencil aspect of checkbook balancing has mostly gone the way of the dodo, the process is still a necessary part of maintaining your checking account. But whether you were a master checkbook balancer in the time of paper or are a digital native who didn’t realize paper statements were once a thing, you may not know exactly how to reconcile your accounts.

How To Balance a Checkbook Without a Check Register

To reconcile your transactions, go through your bank statement line by line. You’re looking to match up the “cleared” charges that are on your bank statement (meaning charges that hit your account and have been paid) with charges that you’ve listed in your register. Even if your transactions are mostly digital, balancing your checkbook is a good idea because it can help you avoid overdrafting your account, paying erroneous charges or even becoming a victim of fraud. If you’re not using your checkbook, go through your checkbook and add up all your bill payments for the month.

how to balance a checkbook

You know where your money is going

Compensation may factor into how and where products appear on our platform (and in what order). But since we generally make money when you find an offer you like and get, we try to show you offers we think are a good match for you. That’s why we provide features like your Approval Odds and savings estimates. Balancing a checkbook can be a helpful way to view your spending each month and to review your checks for any errors. Checkbooks come with a carbon copy, which is paper behind your check that leaves behind a copy of what you write on it.

Considering that the average overdraft fee is around $35, it is better off avoided as much as possible. Writing down transactions in a checkbook register is one way to keep track of them, but there are also options for balancing your checkbook digitally. If your check register and bank statement don’t balance, double-check your math to see if there are any adding or subtracting errors on your register. Balancing your checkbook might feel like an archaic practice since the use of paper checks is falling out of style, but it still serves a purpose. The practice is a way to get a solid handle on how much money is going in and out of your account each month, which can help you identify fraud and keep tabs on how much money you have.

That Gomez, Gomez recommends reviewing your spending consistently through a spreadsheet or budgeting app, even if you don’t write physical checks. If your checkbook doesn’t balance and your math isn’t the issue, check your bank statement to see if there are any bills that haven’t been processed yet. You may have some information on your bank statement that isn’t updated if you just sent a payment. You can also check your carbon copy checks to ensure you didn’t write the wrong number down on your bank register. If you regularly use checks, you should try to balance your checkbook each month as soon as you receive your bank statement.