Check Balancing

Balancing a checkbook is easy… until it gets out of whack! Most banks at which you open a checking account will spend some time with you, and show you their method for keeping everything in order. Usually this method will follow a procedure outlined on the back of your checkbook.

The basics are simple enough: When you deposit money into your checking account, save the deposit slips at least until the bank sends you the monthly statement for your account (so that you have a record if there are any discrepancies). Add the amount of the deposit to the balance in your checkbook.

Each check you write during the month should also be recorded in your checkbook at the time you make out the check. Subtract the amount of the check from the balance in your checkbook.

At the end of the month, the bank will send you all the cancelled checks which were paid during the past month. You should put them in chronological order and then match each one with the information in your checkbook.

If your figures and the bank’s don’t match, check your arithmetic and make certain you recorded each check you wrote. In addition, see if any fees were taken from the account or if any interest was added (some banks will pay you interest on your checking account but most of these will require that you maintain a large balance).

There might also have been automatic payments which were made from your account, such as for a phone bill. And there were probably some withdrawals you made with your ATM card which you might have forgotten to record in your checkbook.

At the end of your school year, some banks will require that you close out your account because it will not be used for a number of months. Other banks will allow you to keep your account active while you are away — if so, you will probably be charged a small monthly fee for maintaining the account.