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Old 06-20-2008, 08:19 AM   #41
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I don't write but two or three checks a year, but still keep a check register, and reconcile it online every week or two, since some utilities and my cc ballances are paid via electronic funds transfer.

I still "play records" occasionally, though I'm converting them to mp3. And I converted my nucular reactor into an atomic bong...
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Old 06-20-2008, 08:34 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by aaronc879 View Post
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).
Same here. Check book gets balanced by DW every month. She also writes checks to pay utilities, the credit card bill and a few other things.

I've found that subtly structuring our methods of payment for items I thought she needed better visibility on and then asking her to help by actually doing the check writing and checkbook balancing chores to be helpful in enhancing her interest. When I had these payments automated and tried to sit her down at the computer and show her what we were spending, I got negative (understatement!) results. By having her write checks and balance the checkbook, she seems involved and interested and even challenges me on why the electric bill is so high during air conditioning season, etc.

Manipulative? Well, maybe. But why go face-to-face on budget related issues (always resulting in me regretting bringing it up) when I can get her involved in a way that controlling costs seems like her own idea.......which I give her all the credit for!
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Old 06-20-2008, 09:05 AM   #43
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I have to admit that balancing the checkbook back in the pre-Quicken days, when we wrote a lot of checks, was difficult. I remember struggling to figure out why it was off, and saying "this is not rocket science -- why is it so hard?"

Quicken tries to throw me off my matching the 12 cent interest payment to an old interest payment, but it generally balances the first time.
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Old 06-20-2008, 09:14 AM   #44
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I keep a check register and reconcile to the online banking site. I do this often because I enjoy it! But I hardly write any checks any more. It's all debit card transactions and online payments. I like to keep tabs on it because my husband and I both carry the debit cards and even though he's gotten much better about leaving me the receipts occasionally one of us forgets to record a transaction.
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Old 06-20-2008, 09:21 AM   #45
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I tend to balance my checking accounts on Quicken about once a week against the online registers at the financial institutions I use -- and I also enter the credit card purchases at that time as well, so I can account for that money as "gone".
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Old 06-20-2008, 12:54 PM   #46
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After many years of balancing, I always came up with the same number the bank had and when there was a discrepancy, its because I made a mistake.

So after all that, I decided that time could be better spent elsewhere. Whatever they say they have is what I have. I generally write a check or two a month tops and I know what those are and see when they're cashed. Should someone decide to not cash a check I write them, i'm pretty okay with that.

Almost everything gets charged to my penfed visa card and thats autopaid from my vanguard prime MM account every month. Pretty hands off.
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Old 06-20-2008, 01:37 PM   #47
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We write as few checks as possible. We used to write a bunch of them but times are changing. Perhaps at some point in the future we will write no checks. Writing checks takes time and I do not want to waste any time when I could use the credit card instead and even get some cash back. I actually like to pay cash for small purchases. Using the credit card takes a little more time than cash and I do not like wasting time. DW keeps and balances the checkbook. I see people writing checks for less than $10 at the store checkout and wonder if they have no clue that they should value their time more highly and not waste any of it writing small checks. They probably have no clue that I think it is extemely rude of them to be wasting MY time. Did I mention that I hate wasting time?
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Old 06-20-2008, 02:11 PM   #48
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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.
What's a "checkbook?"

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Old 06-20-2008, 03:45 PM   #49
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Add me to the no balancing the register crowd. I religiously balanced for 30 years. Only found 1 banking mistake when the bank credited my account with my mothers deposit. Our account numbers were only one digit apart and this was way back in 78 before everything was computerized.
When we retired in "06 and no one was paying me to sit in front of a computer for 12 hours a day with little to do at times, the balancing stopped. I look at the accounts weekly and closely monitor the Penfed card purchases. I usually write one check a month to the local water coop who still don't take online or credit card payments. All the rest is auto deposit or withdrawals. So much easier.....
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Old 06-20-2008, 10:48 PM   #50
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I still "play records" occasionally, though I'm converting them to mp3. And I converted my nucular reactor into an atomic bong...
What is it Tick Tock says... "I find your ideas intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newslettter."
I'd like to see the blueprints for that nuclear reactor conversion....
But I also still play my records...got John Prine on the turntable now in honor of the first peaches of the season.
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Old 06-21-2008, 06:39 AM   #51
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I keep a check register and reconcile to the online banking site. I do this often because I enjoy it! But I hardly write any checks any more. It's all debit card transactions and online payments.
I do a similar thing. I keep a written check register and reconcile it against the online statement at my bank perhaps once a week just to be sure. I also check my credit card accounts online to make sure purchases have been recorded and my payments received (I usually write an electonic check as soon as I use a credit card instead of waiting for the monthly bill -- the pennies of interest lost is more than made up by the peace of mind that the transaction has been completed OK). But I do these things not because I enjoy doing them, but because I want the warm fuzzies that everything is in order so that I can then forget about them.

The idea of not keeping a running tab on one's cash balance in a checking account and having an independent way to verify its accuracy (even when it's the bank that is always right) is something I can't fathom. Being mildly obsessive-compulsive and harnessing that gift in a positive way can help one build wealth to FIRE.
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Old 06-21-2008, 07:11 AM   #52
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I don't use the checkbook register, but I do use Quicken for both my and my son's (disabled) accounts. Since I'm named as the person to manage my son's SS disability account (and get audited every year), I do check on a weekly basis to post (from his bank account) transactions.

Since he does not live with me, but does use "countersigned checks" (he just fills in the amount and the payee) I'm able to see what he does financially in a "remote manner".

What I do once a week is look at the on-line bank images and post them to Quicken (which is used to fill out the annual spending report for the SS).

Last year, there was a check (image) that did not "jive" with the on-line bank statement. Found that due to his writing, the bank took a $100 check but withdrew $1,000 from his account (yes, his handwriting is poor).

Needless to say, this $900 error was corrected as soon as the bank was notified. Since he had ample funds, there was no problem with "bouncing", but it was still an "unusual error".

Whatever works for you, as far as reconciling. Just to show that sometimes errors (although not intentional) do get made.

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Old 06-21-2008, 08:20 AM   #53
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What's a "checkbook?"

Signed,

A Gen-X'er
Just call me a dinosaur.

Still writing checks but I've decided to go to electronic bill paying (just dragging my feet at the moment due to laziness). I'm not anti-technology with such things, just that when e-bill paying first came out I heard horror stories from people about errors being made and how frustrating it was to get them fixed. Decided that I would wait until it was fixed and then forgot about the idea for a while.

Most of my recurring bills are paid by check, and I'm pretty good at being able to time transfers so I keep money in the higher interest rate earning accounts up to just before the checks clear (hey, a penny here and a penny there add up after a while). But most of "the float" has disappeared with the changes they've made in check clearing and processing, and thus the decision to go to e-bill paying.

Before Quicken, my accounts were pretty simple and I could balance my checkbook in my head or on a piece of scratch paper. But that changed when I got serious about investing and the transactions grew in number and complexity. I became a Quicken user years ago (pre-Windows, DOS version) and later switched to MS Money. Balancing the checking account is not much effort using either of those programs.
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Old 06-21-2008, 08:35 AM   #54
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[quote=David1961;671613]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.

I am amazed that in this day and age of online banking, direct deposit and automatic bill paying that anyone still does balance their checkbook.
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Old 06-21-2008, 08:39 AM   #55
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What is it Tick Tock says... "I find your ideas intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newslettter."
I'd like to see the blueprints for that nuclear reactor conversion....
But I also still play my records...got John Prine on the turntable now in honor of the first peaches of the season.


Don't try this at home... You might "blow up your tv"! And your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore...
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:12 AM   #56
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I've only ever had one bank error. I wrote a check to my solo k for $5,000 and the bank cleared it for $50,000. And, it didn't take balancing my checkbook to spot the $40,000 overdraft thanks to my online banking ninja skills.

Been using a bank for the last 20 years and that was the first error I've ever seen.
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:29 AM   #57
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I have been getting lazy in balancing my checkbook. I simply download the statement from the bank's site and examine it.
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:45 AM   #58
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In both checks and credit card transactions, we just eyeball them monthly. We throw the receipts in a bucket in case there is a discrepancy. Have even stoipped recording the transaction number on online banking transactions because, after 10 years, they have never been wrong.

(Reformed Type A! Like others, the discrepancies always turned out to be our problem.)
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Old 06-21-2008, 02:28 PM   #59
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I keep the register updated as I write checks and make deposits, but I have not reconciled to the monthly statement in years.
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:07 PM   #60
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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.
I disagree. What if you have a check that isn't deposited for over a month? In the past year I have had two checks that weren't deposited for over a month after the payee received them. If I wasn't keeping my account balanced (with Quicken), I would have thought I had more money than I actually did.

Of course, if you have a cash cushion in your accounts then balancing your checkbook isn't as big an issue. But for me balancing my checkbook and thus eliminating bank fees was part of the reason that I now have a cash cushion in my accounts.
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