Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tidy Tuesday - The Balancing Act

Anyone who has a checking account knows the importance of keeping it balanced.

Each month when you're bank statement arrives in the mail break out your check book register, a calculator and a pen or pencil.

Nowadays, most banks offer online access to your checking account, so you are able to view all the transactions every day, every week or whenever you wish.

To balance your account you will need a current list of all the transactions from the account, your check register, a calculator and a pen or pencil.

To start off go through your bank statement and check off everything in your check register that is listed on the statement making sure the amount of the transaction are the same.

After you've checked off everything you can. Go back and add in everything you forgot to add into the register that was on the statement. Everything the bank says came out of your account that you didn't already have in the check register.

Next, try to reconcile your account. Usually there is a form on the back of your statement to help you with this. If not, you list the ending balance or current balance of your account according to the bank. Now you add any deposits or credits the bank haven't included yet. Add the numbers together. Take the total and subtract any debits/payments that the bank hasn't taken or cleared yet. This would be any uncleared checks, debit payments that haven't been deducted or maybe even tips that weren't processed yet. Subtract and you should have the same total that is listed in your checkbook.

If your amounts don't match you will need to go back through your checkbook register to see if your addition/subtraction is correct. Also check to make sure everything was added and subtracted correctly when reconciling your bank statement.

It may not be a fun task, but I'm sure you would hate to have to pay over the limit fees. What's worse is getting up to the cash register only to find out you have no money left in your account. Ugh! It only takes a little while to keep your account up to date and it can save you a lot of headaches and embarrassment.

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