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Old 06-19-2008, 01:32 PM   #21
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Hardly seems to save time to not balance your checking account if you are going online every day to check your balance.

We have roughly a dozen banking transactions per month, whether actual checks or automated debits/credits. I balance my checkbook. Otherwise I'd find that I'd forget checks I've written.
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Old 06-19-2008, 01:54 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Kronk View Post
Hardly seems to save time to not balance your checking account if you are going online every day to check your balance.

We have roughly a dozen banking transactions per month, whether actual checks or automated debits/credits. I balance my checkbook. Otherwise I'd find that I'd forget checks I've written.
I've never balanced my checkbook and haven't ever seen a reason to(or to ever carry it around). I rarely write checks and like keeping enough in my checking to not really worry about it. i.e. just keep a running balance of around ~$1000-1500

If I have unusual expenses and wonder whether I have enough money in checking or need to transfer money from savings, then I just check Quicken or go online. This only happens 1-2 every week or two.

But I'm youngish (26) and checkbooks are outdated.... Paypal, automatic withdrawls, and online transfers. I get bitter though when companies (usually utility companies) charge fees for paying online and so I have to actually write a check...
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Old 06-19-2008, 01:54 PM   #23
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Iím constantly amazed at the number of people who tell me that they either donít know how to balance their checkbook or donít bother to do it. Iíve met very intelligent people with Masterís Degrees who donít even balance their checkbook. I donít want to be judgmental (Iím far from perfect), but what does this tell us about the state of Americans? I mean, if they donít balance their checkbook, how can they ever do other more complicated things like control spending, invest in stocks/mutual funds, or plan for retirement?

OK, Iíll get off my soapbox now.
OK, I'll get up on the soapbox.

For many people, there really is no point in balancing one's checkbook. First, your balance is instantly available at the ATM or online. You never need to figure out what your balance is because you can look it up if you ever care. Second, you shouldn't have to care to look it up because you should have so much money there that it doesn't even matter. Third, you shouldn't be using checks for anything anymore anyways. You should be using a cash-back credit card for all your expenses and/or online bill pay. Fourth, you don't even need to use an ATM unless you are in a foreign country and even there you should be using your cash-back credit card.

A checking account balance is an anachronism. There are better money management tools to use in 2008 such as cash-back credit cards.

I think I'm gonna stay up on this soapbox awhile.
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Old 06-19-2008, 02:00 PM   #24
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I keep a running balance in my checkbook register (many people I know don't even do this).

Every 3 or 4 months I balance just to be sure I haven't missed anything. I can't remember the last time I've had to make any correction.

This isn't rocket science.
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Old 06-19-2008, 02:05 PM   #25
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...For many people, there really is no point in balancing one's checkbook. First, your balance is instantly available at the ATM or online. You never need to figure out what your balance is because you can look it up if you ever care...
You better be good at knowing what your outstanding checks and/or upcoming debits are if you just go by your bank balance.

My bank balance is never the same as my checkbook balance and I subtract expenses a few days in advance of the actual debit just to make sure I never go negative. Or if it does bring me negative, I know exactly when to make a deposit or an online transfer.

In over 20 years of having a checking account I've never bounced a check, so my method works for me.
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:51 PM   #26
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i've written 13 checks since 2005. yet still it doesn't balance.
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:52 PM   #27
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I balance mine since I sometimes don't remember to enter my debit purchases into Quicken and find it on my monthly statement or during my inbetween statement reviews (online). I do tend to have quit a few low dollar purchases each month and I can get a little haphazard in recording those numerous transactions in Quicken. So, I like to make sure they are all recorded when I manually reconcile with Quicken monthly. I do try to stay within my monthly budget and keep about a months worth of cash in my checking account. So my balance can get pretty slim by the months end.


My local garbage hauler and lawn mower are too small for credit card transactions. The plumber that did a repair the other day wanted a check...so I gave him one. I have most utilities paid automatically from my checking account and those are automatically recorded in Quicken BEFORE they are due so I won't spend the $$ before they are paid. My balance only would not help me with that. I write very few checks but I must for some things.
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:55 PM   #28
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I'd say the main benefits are:

1. Tells you if you've forgotten any checks
2. Tells you if you've recorded any checks incorrectly
3. Catches bank errors.

Now, here's a question: How many of you balance your money market account, or other non-standard account for which you have checks?
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:57 PM   #29
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My local garbage hauler and lawn mower are too small for credit card transactions.
You have to pay your lawn mower?
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:58 PM   #30
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Phltttt! Yep...
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Old 06-19-2008, 06:30 PM   #31
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I used to balance my checkbook regularly and couldn't understand why some folks didn't. But I've got most finances automated now with automatic transfers and online bill paying, so I rarely write checks. Those that I do write are shown on the same online account displays that I check regularly, so I guess that is the equivalent in the electronic transfer world. I haven't carried my checkbook for a long long time and expect that the few reasons I still have for writing checks will slowly go away.
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Old 06-19-2008, 06:44 PM   #32
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I seldom write checks, but when I do I subtract it immediately from the previous balance
and periodically compare my balance with the bank's.
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Old 06-19-2008, 07:05 PM   #33
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I always figured the "objective" benefit of balancing a checkbook is that you are managing your balance to be as low as possible. There are other places to put your money that credit more interest.
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:08 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by HornedToad10 View Post
I've never balanced my checkbook and haven't ever seen a reason to(or to ever carry it around). I rarely write checks and like keeping enough in my checking to not really worry about it. i.e. just keep a running balance of around ~$1000-1500
ditto. I record each check in my register, but they are so few it's it's easy to look online whether they cleared every few weeks.
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:26 PM   #35
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I check my balance daily by removing my socks while standing.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:21 PM   #36
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I've dealt with other people's money during my working days. You bet I balance my checkbook...each month to the penny.
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Old 06-19-2008, 11:15 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by David1961 View Post
Iím constantly amazed at the number of people who tell me that they either donít know how to balance their checkbook or donít bother to do it. Iíve met very intelligent people with Masterís Degrees who donít even balance their checkbook. I donít want to be judgmental (Iím far from perfect), but what does this tell us about the state of Americans? I mean, if they donít balance their checkbook, how can they ever do other more complicated things like control spending, invest in stocks/mutual funds, or plan for retirement?
I also know how to "dial a phone", "play a record", and start up an S3G Core 3 naval nuclear reactor. None of those skills are relevant anymore either.

As for the more complicated finances, automated checkbook balancing frees up the time in their lives to learn how. Saves a lot of time finding our own math errors, too.

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Now, here's a question: How many of you balance your money market account, or other non-standard account for which you have checks?
Uhm, no. I spend most of my time trying to figure out how not to use the checks in the first place.
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Old 06-20-2008, 03:09 AM   #38
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I think I saw a checkbook in a museum in San Francisco once.
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Old 06-20-2008, 06:14 AM   #39
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Even though I don't really need to balance my checkbook anymore because I can just look online, I actually like to do it. It's fun for me(I know, i'm sick, I need help).
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Old 06-20-2008, 07:53 AM   #40
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I've always balanced it, even before Quicken. Did it on the "fill in the blanks" form on the back of the statement, and once ran the balance down to two cents. The only time I ever bounced a check was when married to the ex, who belonged to the "I still have checks...." school of thought.

I still write checks for the utilities, groceries, etc. It's just easier for me.
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