Balancing Your Checkbook, Something from Yesteryear or Still a Valuable Tool?
In the past decade, there have been numerous advances in the banking industry that have provided customers with many different avenues of accessing their accounts. With these advances some things have gone by the wayside, such as maintaining a physical checkbook register. Many people in the younger generation have never even written a check or kept a checkbook register. So, this begs the question, “If I don’t have a physical checkbook, do I still need to balance my account?”
Maybe we need to look at this as a change in terminology instead of a change in process. While physical checkbooks may not be prevalent, the concept of balancing your account is still a valuable skill. It allows you to keep an eye on the money coming in and out of your account. Even more benefits to this process are outlined below.
Balancing your account helps ensure you won’t incur overdraft fees.
If you are not keeping an eye on the money you are spending, it is very easy to swipe your debit card on miscellaneous purchases without having the funds in your account to cover them. This will cause you to overdraw your account and incur overdraft fees. By balancing your account, you will know exactly what funds are available after your bills and important expenses are paid.
Balancing your account helps prevent fraud.
Balancing your checkbook on a regular basis will allow you to identify an unauthorized expense or a fraudulent check. There are time limits for disputing a fraudulent item, so if you are regularly reviewing the account you can detect the charge and contact the bank to report the item promptly. If you do not review the account, you may have fraudulent activity on your account and not even realize it until it’s too late.
Balancing your account helps you catch mistakes.
People make mistakes. And sometimes merchants can make mistakes too. If you are looking at your account activity regularly, you can catch these errors and ask the merchant to correct them. For example, the restaurant where you dined last week accidentally ran your card twice. Or the shop you visited accidentally charged your card for more than the amount that appears on your receipt.
Balancing your account helps with budgeting.
Reviewing your account regularly also allows you to see your common purchases. Do you stop at the coffee shop every morning? When you think about it on a daily basis, you can justify spending $3 on a cup of coffee. But those small impulse purchases really add up quickly. Can you justify $90 a month? Or, are there other bills you should be paying first?
Remember back to January when you made the resolution to go to the gym? Well, it’s June and while you haven’t been to the gym in months, the $30 monthly fee is still being deducted from your account. Balancing your checkbook gives you the opportunity to analyze your account to see where you can cut back on expenses. You could be saving for a vacation or new car with the money you can save, just by reevaluating your budget.
It only takes a few minutes each week to balance your account. You’ll save money and give yourself peace of mind. If you are having problems balancing your account or you would like assistance, please reach out to your local branch, where a friendly Keystone Banker would be happy to help you!
Have any tips for balancing your account? Drop a line in the comment section below!