How to Balance Your Checkbook
By Jennifer Wolf. Single Parents Expert
Jennifer Wolf is a Certified Parent Coach and advocate for single moms and dads. Through her writing, speaking, and individual coaching, Jennifer aims to provide ongoing support and encouragement to solo parents around their most pressing challenges, including:
- Raising children without a partner
- Collaborating with a co-parent
- Being an active non-custodial parent
- Dealing with legal issues, such as child support, custody, and visitation
- Handing finances on your own, and
- Finding the time to take care of yourself
One of the best ways to save money is to balance your checkbook each month. You absolutely need to know how much money you have, where you're money is going, and whether you're meeting your financial goals. Learn how to balance your checkbook each month with these easy-to-follow steps.
- The first step is to make sure you're logging all of our financial transactions in your checking account ledger. This is the booklet of lined pages that accompanies your checks. Each and every time you write a check or use your ATM card, record the date, payee (person/establishment receiving your money), and the amount. Don't forget to include those times when you use your ATM card at the grocery store. To make this easier, get into the habit of storing all of your ATM receipts in your wallet, and recording them in the ledger at least once a week.
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- When your bank statement arrives, take the time to make sure that the transactions noted by your bank match the transactions you have recorded in your checkbook ledger. Some banks will return to you the original checks (which you wrote) that were paid during the month. Others will provide a computer printout of the images of each check you wrote. Go through these and check off each item - on both the bank statement and your checkbook ledger - to indicate that it is accounted for.
- Now you're ready to add
to your ledger any checks or ATM withdrawals that you originally neglected to record. These will be the checks and transactions on the bank statement that have not been checked off already.
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- Notice whether you've recorded on your checkbook ledger any deposits that the bank did not include on the statement. (For instance, you might have made a deposit the day after the bank statement was printed.) If so, subtract those deposits from "Figure A."