Do you balance your checkbook?

A complaint in another thread about a year’s worth fees in monthly payments being made without the account holder noticing prompted me to ask this question.

Do you balance your checkbook?

To the penny, at least several times a week.

For me this is a hold-over from when I was very broke and needed to know exactly how much I had and how much I had spent in order to provide food for my child. Fortunately I was not in that situation for very long (and nowhere near as bad off as many, for that I am grateful) but it instilled a lot of weird financial quirks and hoarding instincts, so I am by no means a role model or anything.

My husband and most people I know are content to just check their account balance, try to remember approximately what they spent and make sure it looks right (or close enough) then not worry about it.

Absolutely, down to the penny. I balance three checking accounts each month.

I check my staement online all the time to look for unexpected charges, but no longer balance my checkbook.

Every time I get paid, I go online and check my statement from the past two weeks. I don’t have a lot of expenses currently so I can remember whenever money moves in and out of the account.

I hardly ever use checks, and I don’t keep the receipts from everything I pay for by CC, so the option of physically balancing my check-book hardly exists; essentially, what I can do is keep track online, both of my running balance and of my CC purchases due next time up (where I can see anything hinky before it gets submitted for payment!)

In addition, I go over our printed monthly CC statements for anything I may have missed online, although that hasn’t happened yet.

Nah, I don’t care how much money is in there unless I’m making some really major purchase.

I’ve never owned a checkbook, but every week or so I’ll look at my account online and review my charge history. Any large withdrawals or online charges will give me an email alert, so it would be difficult to miss anything.

I use Quicken. I pay all of my bills online. Once a month I sit down and do all of my banking and bill paying, and make sure everything is tight in Quicken.

My credit union statement doesn’t download to Quicken, so I even reconcile the Quicken checking account info with the credit union’s paper statement.

I think it’s a poverty thing. (ETA: Not always, but if you’ve been down to the 1¢ balance, you learn to be accurate!) Another one who keeps track to the penny. If you keep a register (paper or spreadsheet), it’s pretty easy.

I really should keep track but I just never have.

I used to balance it to the penny when I was younger (and poorer, FWIW). I never found an error.

About 10 years ago, I fell behind by a few months due to something or other, and just stopped doing it.

My wife and I do review the monthly statement for any obvious discrepancies, but we no longer balance it ourselves.

Exactly. When I was buying one or two gallons of gas to get me to the next pay day, you bet I knew EXACTLY if my balance was accurate or not.

I don’t really know if this is considered “balancing” but there’s no option for what we do on your poll so I thought I’d describe it here.

I’ve made a spreadsheet which tracks all incomes and all known debits on a monthly basis. What’s left, I divide up into savings, discretionary, and other such accounts the majority of which we just take out in cash. The debts that we have are almost all taken care of through electronic automatic transfer.

Basically what this means is that once the entire system is in place and I’m certain the numbers are accurate, the whole process is just sort of automated. Money goes into our account, money goes out of our account, and it all just works out.

Last month we ran into a bit of a problem and we had to run through the books. Turns out we were just being a bit too liberal with our discretionary spending, which is a big no-no. But we compensated and moved on. The numbers still work and the system is still in place and it doesn’t require us to balance our checkbooks every month or week or whatever.

No. I occasionally download my transactions into Quicken and categorize my spending, so I’d probably notice odd activity then, but I’m in Windows so rarely that this only happens when I curious about my cashflow.

I do look over my credit card statement if the balance is higher than expected.

Its balanced automatically online. If I see the balance getting below $500 I like to transfer some in as I like to keep it a little higher than that. Almost everything comes out automatically as well, including 3 mortage payments so depending on the time of month less than $3000 makes me nervous.

Pretty much every month; sometimes I miss and do two months at once. Otherwise I don’t know what’s going on finance-wise and it makes me crazy.

Forgot to say: since we use Quicken, we can also enter upcoming expenditures (power bill gets paid on the 15th, that sort of thing) so we can see just when the account should be getting low, and plan accordingly.

Those of you who just glance and look for any obvious discrepancies: Would you miss an ongoing small debit such as from one of those “buyer’s club” scams? And do you have overdraft protection?

I used to use the paper register, and it would take me 3 hours to go through an entire month’s spending, verify all the arithmetic, pick out which charges hadn’t cleared, etc. Switching to Quicken (plus periodic downloads from the credit union), it now takes about 10 minutes.

Balance every month via Quicken. Takes about 5 minutes, so why not?

I used to. I was once a devout Quicken user. I had all my accounts, categories, sub-categories, etc in there and would balance everything every month. Now days I don’t even open the bank statement ( I guess I should go paperless ). I do look at my accounts online every once in a while. On the other hand, I recently started using Now I can look at all my accounts at a glance and it pesters me about ways to save money ( some of which I have acted on ). I don’t use the budgeting function much though.