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Old 11-18-2015, 02:12 PM   #41
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Posts #3 and #5 among others, seem to indicate that they dont keep a register at all. Maybe I'm misinterpreting?
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Old 11-18-2015, 02:14 PM   #42
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We write very few checks (10 a year) but our checking account is handling about 40-50 bill paying transactions a month.

We use an Excel check register with a forward calculation.

We have lumpy expenses and lumpy income so what I love desperately need is the ability to see in advance if/when we might go negative ahead of time so that I can replenish.

I actually check and balance it every few days.
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Old 11-18-2015, 02:22 PM   #43
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Still?!
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Old 11-18-2015, 02:26 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by 38Chevy454 View Post
Proud member of the checkbook luddite club.

Although I do have electronic access to accounts. I still write checks for most bills.
Same here. We do keep track of things in Quicken but maintain a parallel checkbook register. Although I backup regularly I'm still a "belt & suspenders" guy when it comes to financial records. So if/when the computer dies and the backups don't work I'll still be able to go old school easily.
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Old 11-18-2015, 02:38 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by utrecht View Post
I think there are 2 separate issues here. It seems like a lot of people (including me) use a spreadsheet or Quicken to track their checking account instead of the old fashioned paper register......

But other people seem to be saying they dont keep track at all because they trust the bank to do it and they just look online to see what their balance is? I admit its been a long long time since I found a bank mistake but are people really just not keeping track on their own at all?
That's interesting.

I use Quicken to reconcile all account statements, whether bank, or credit card, or investment account.

Occasionally I find a discrepancy. It's rare, but happens.

Bill paying is tracked in two places. Quicken has all the scheduled transactions, then when downloaded from the bank, the transactions usually match. So I know

I manually enter the very few handwritten checks into Quicken, and when the check clears, it's downloaded from the bank and matches what was already entered. Quicken reconciles matching transactions upon download, so it's quite visible.

So I know in advance what my balance will be, and downloading stuff from any account is simply a confirmation, as is reconciling each account each month.
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Old 11-18-2015, 02:42 PM   #46
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I still keep and use the checkbook register. I transfer the information monthly to excel spreadsheet for tracking.
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Old 11-18-2015, 02:43 PM   #47
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Download transactions to Excel once a month. Try to record handwritten checks in register.
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Old 11-18-2015, 02:57 PM   #48
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I have been doing electronic banking for many years and I check my accounts almost daily. I know what is going on in my bank accounts and credit cards and when to expect debits and credits. When I write cheques (a rarity nowadays) I make a note in the register, but I do not use the register for analysis, since cheques are such a minuscule component of my financial life. At month end, I do make a note in my spreadsheet of all expected major expenses for the next month in the narrative below my calculations, so it is no surprise when a post dated cheque is cashed. At the end of every month I download all the data to Excel, categorize it and analyze it in my customized expense spreadsheet, which I have prepopulated with regular charges such as condo fees and mortgage payments. I formerly used my cheque book register as a secondary reference, but these days I can click on the link to see a PDF image of my cheque in my online account. This makes validation very simple. I cannot remember having had an error.
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Old 11-18-2015, 03:14 PM   #49
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Checkbooks are maintained in quicken. I mostly use checks with carbon copies, but on the few that don't I write checks in the register, just don't balance them there.

I write very few checks these days.

+1 on Quicken and the carbon.
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Old 11-18-2015, 03:24 PM   #50
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Though we rarely "write' a check, all debits/credits that we receive are run thru our checkbook. I manually enter each in/out as it happens and I have fun reconciling the account like I did 50 years ago. If I am off, I make the necessary adjustments and move on.

After I reconcile my account each month, I transfer any amount over $1000 to my online savings acct @ Ally to spend another day. Each month I start out with a $1000 checkbook balance. It's an easy system that aids my sleep.
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Old 11-18-2015, 03:26 PM   #51
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I haven't recorded anything in a paper checkbook register in well over 20 years, but every check we write (probably about 50 a year) gets entered in Moneydance (the equivalent of Quicken etc.) within minutes or hours of being written.

Every month I reconcile the bank statement (downloaded as a pdf) with my Moneydance file.
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Old 11-18-2015, 03:34 PM   #52
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Thanks for all the intelligent comments so far.

I guess this will give me enough confidence to dump the old register system. And no, we do not have rotary phones. Having carbons in the checkbook is a good idea.

We have two main checking accounts. The Chase one gets a lot of E-bill paying activity and also SS checks. So I'm thinking that account will not be used for check writing anymore. This will remove the issue of a stale balance due to check cashing lag.

The other bank (a Federal Credit Union that actually pays some interest) will then be used for the occasional checks like to the IRS and larger payments not supported by the Chase account balance. Eventually we will get to the state where cash will again pay some decent interest rates. So I'm trying to make my system work for when that day comes.

I'm also going to experiment with banking apps on my new Nexus 6P phone having recently dumped the old flip Tracphone -- another relic.
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Old 11-18-2015, 04:30 PM   #53
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That's interesting.

I use Quicken to reconcile all account statements, whether bank, or credit card, or investment account.

Occasionally I find a discrepancy. It's rare, but happens.

Bill paying is tracked in two places. Quicken has all the scheduled transactions, then when downloaded from the bank, the transactions usually match. So I know

I manually enter the very few handwritten checks into Quicken, and when the check clears, it's downloaded from the bank and matches what was already entered. Quicken reconciles matching transactions upon download, so it's quite visible.

So I know in advance what my balance will be, and downloading stuff from any account is simply a confirmation, as is reconciling each account each month.
I use the same process in Quicken except that I manually enter all transactions and manually reconcile the monthly bank statements including credit cards.

I could download the CC and bank statements but I actually enjoy the manual process.

I rely on the cash flow report as well as other available reports in Quicken for spending analysis.
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Old 11-18-2015, 05:05 PM   #54
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I keep "check registers" in Excel. All items posted daily. Keep track of about 6 accounts this way including transfers between them. Both CDN and US dollars. Hardly any checks but lots of other stuff. Having all the data in one spreadsheet helps keep track of all our expenses. Would be lost without it.
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Old 11-18-2015, 05:31 PM   #55
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Put me in the Luddite category. I maintain a paper checkbook register (which today serves more as a backup) and a more expanded one in a spreadsheet since 1995 (when I bought my first PC). Even though I write far fewer checks today than I did in the 1990s, I still have about the same number of entries because all that happened was those checks got replaced by ACH bill payments and other, similar non-check payments. I still balance my monthly account statement to the paper register like I always have.


My spreadsheet register, however, contains far more data beyond the simple debits and credits to my checking account. It is linked to a homemade income tax spreadsheet which updates my projected income taxes owed and any estimated income tax payments I may have to make. My most recent addition to that spreadsheet was to include the ACA premium subsidy which is based on MAGI and my HI premiums, two items already available elsewhere in the spreadsheet so it wasn't difficult to tie them together in a skeleton Form 8962.
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Old 11-18-2015, 07:58 PM   #56
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Yep, pen and ink paper check register. Write and mail checks for payment. The postage cost is trivial. Rarely do I allow electronic transfer out of my accounts. Do allow electronic input of $. I look at electronic checking output as vaporware. It could easily vaporize my funds.
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Old 11-18-2015, 08:36 PM   #57
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We have the carbon copy checks and I haven't used a register or balanced the checkbook in the formal sense for at least 15 years, although I used to be a fanatic of doing it every month as my dad did. I've kept all of the carbon copies in a drawer for 15 years also - probably time to get rid of most of them also. Although most bills are either paid through online banking or credit card, we still write 3-4 checks a month - one for my yoga class always, and we also pay most service people who come to the house with checks rather than credit cards.
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Old 11-18-2015, 09:43 PM   #58
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Almost all of our bills are paid via our bank so we are writing much fewer checks. DW keeps the checkbook for any checks she writes for food shopping, etc. - not much, maybe 4-5 checks a week on average. She is not good in math or remembering what she spent, so it is good fer here to have something to record expenditures. I just enter what she has spent on a weekly basis into Quicken, and let her know the balance show she has an idea of the spending limit for the week. This process works fine for us.
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Old 11-18-2015, 09:57 PM   #59
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Old 11-18-2015, 11:54 PM   #60
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It's too easy to maintain a balance in the register to not do it. Very close to zero time. You have the check book and pen in your hands anyway. After writing the check, you just add the check number and the amount to the register. 5 secs? 10 secs? Max.

When I grab the checkbook while dashing out of the house, not having used it in weeks and knowing DW has likely written some checks, I don't ever want to have to stop and go to the office, boot the computer and open a spreadsheet to know how much is in the account. Or go to the bank web site. The number should be right there in the register, especially since it's near zero time and effort to have it there.
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