Sooner or later, anyone having a share draft/checking account learns that an essential part of managing a checkbook is balancing it. This is an easy task if kept up-to-date, but a nightmare if not. For some people, the nightmare compounds itself to the point that they either stop writing checks to allow the account to somehow rectify itself, or they close the account and start over with a new one.
If you've never bounced a check or had a mistake in your checkbook, consider yourself fortunate. Most people who bounce checks believe they have more money in their accounts than they actually do because they've made errors in their checkbook registers. Common problems include addition and subtraction errors and forgotten items, such as ATM (automated teller machine) withdrawals or fees, debit card transactions, or automatic payments. Your credit union may offer the convenience of an overdraft protection program where your savings or money market account covers insufficient funds in your
Balancing your checking account is important for many reasons:
Your first goal should be to maintain accurate records. Write down everything you do with your account. Keep every deposit slip and ATM and debit card transaction receipt, and accurately record the dollar amount and the date of transactions in your checkbook register. You never know when you may have to refer to one of these receipts.
|Review your checkbook register at least once a week.|
Your second goal should be to reconcile your checkbook as soon as possible after receiving your monthly statement. Once you've mastered the following steps, you should be able to balance your account each month within 30 minutes to 45 minutes.
|Enter the name of the payee and the amount of the check in your register before you write a check.|
If your checkbook and your statement don't match, verify your calculations and entries in your checkbook register.
|Your first goal must be to maintain accurate records.|
Verify that the dollar amount of the items entered in your register agrees with the dollar amount of the
equivalent items on the statement.
Compare register and deposit slips with your statement. You may have forgotten to write something in your register.
If the error is a whole number, check your addition and subtraction.
If the number is divisible by nine, you may have transposed figures.
If the balances still don't agree and you can't find the problem, make an appointment with a member services representative at your credit union to help you.
Some credit unions charge a fee for helping members balance their checking accounts, usually $10 to $15 per hour. If the account is in such a state that correcting the problem is overwhelming or the member is clearly having a problem with budgeting personal finances, the credit union may recommend a credit counseling service.
|An essential part of managing your checking account is balancing it.|
Tampa, Fla., says, "If any of our members are having problems balancing their share accounts, we work with them; however, if they're having serious problems, we refer them to Balance, a credit counseling service sponsored by the credit union."
You might decide to follow the advice of many accountants who recommend easy-to-learn software programs to maintain your personal financial records and balance your checking account. These programs are beneficial at income tax time, too, because all your records are readily accessible and you can transport them into income tax software programs. Always keep an up-to-date backup disk copy of your records in case you experience problems with your computer.
Once you've mastered the simple steps of keeping your checking account balanced, you'll enjoy the secure feeling of knowing that you're in control of your cash flow.Provision of this calculator is not an offer of credit. Its use in no way guarantees that credit will be granted. This calculator is solely for informational purposes and provides reasonably accurate estimates; the calculations are not intended to be relied upon as actual loan computations.
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