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3 Tips For Keeping Your Checking Account Balanced

One of the challenges of having a checking account is to keep it balanced. It is a bit different from having a credit card, since the money needs to be there in order for you to spend it. With checks that can be written and not cashed for a very long time, you need to do more than simply look at your balance online and see if there is enough cash to make your purchase. Here are a few tips for keeping your checking account balanced.

Use A Ledger

The best thing that you can do is keep a ledger of all of your purchases made with your checking account. You can keep track of the outgoing checks with records of the check number, date the check went out, and how much the check was for. You should also be recording all of your debit card purchases, since those also affect the balance of your checking account.

Records like these allow you to see an accurate summary of how much money is in your checking account at any given time, even if the charges have not gone through yet. Sometimes it can take a few days for a debit card purchase to actually show up, which can make your online balance misleading.

Don't Delay Adding Receipts

It's easy to be a bit lazy when it comes to updating your ledger. You may put receipts in your wallet or purse with the intention of adding them to the ledger, but forget to do it. This can cause the ledger to become inaccurate over time as more receipts are missing, and then you will need to take the time to figure out what you forgot to write down. That's why you want to make it a habit of documenting your purchases on the same day that you make them so that you don't forget. 

Audit Your Records Monthly

Consider going back and auditing your checking account ledger once a month so that you know it's accurate. Mistakes can happen, and looking back at the ledger and verifying your purchases against what is showing up on your online banking website is the best thing you can do. Make it a habit to do this on the last day of the month before you pay your mortgage or rent. That will ensure that there is enough money in your account to cover one of your biggest monthly expenses. 

For more information on checking accounts, contact a local bank or other financial institution.