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View Poll Results: Do you keep your checkbook balanced?
Yes. Balance it to the penny. 82 54.67%
Yes. But I round (for example, to the dollar) 9 6.00%
Yes. I have some other system. 11 7.33%
No. I just depend on the bank statements. 24 16.00%
No. I don't want to fuss with the task of balancing. 24 16.00%
Voters: 150. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-13-2010, 06:15 PM   #21
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I usually balance every weekend. I enter the monthly "non-discretionary" transfers into Quicken around the 7th of every month. For "discretionary"- which are the majority- I just catch up the checkbook every weekend. If I wait any longer, I can't recall who SUA is, and why I spent $7.34 there.
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:31 PM   #22
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I depend on my bank statements(which arrive by snail mail). I also write paper checks and mail them in envelopes.
I keep enough in my checking account that I am not worried about overdrafts as I do know how much I am spending. It is a bit embarrassing to admit here to my low tech ways and loose record keeping.
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:32 PM   #23
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I check the account every day online. Always, I will get off somewhere by 30 cents, so I just agree to the bank if I'm out less than a $1.
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:44 PM   #24
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I also use MS Money and balance every month along with monthly statements from FIDO. I have had deposits that were not credited to my account in the past. Also have had direct deposits that were not deposited in the past. Mistakes can and do happen.
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:57 PM   #25
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I balance my checkbook but if I'm off by a dollar or two or less, I just add or subtract that amount rather than go through all transactions and see where I made my mistake. It only happens once or twice a year, if it was more often I'd make sure there wasn't something funny going on. So I picked the rounding one, but I'm not sure if that's what you meant.
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Old 06-13-2010, 08:18 PM   #26
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I'm really shocked that so many people actually balance to the penny. On a regular basis, no less! I've just never seen the need. We keep enough in there that I don't have to worry about overdrafts, and I look at all the transactions at the end of the month to check that there's nothing really weird looking. I'm pretty confident I wouldn't notice a bank error (addition/subtraction) unless it was big. I guess I just trust the computer to do the math.

That said, we don't have a lot of transactions. Most of our spending goes on the credit card. But I pay the bills online through the checking account, and deposit remotely as well with my scanner (love USAA!). I do check the deposits to make sure they get credited as part of my end-of-month financial tracking.
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Old 06-13-2010, 08:26 PM   #27
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I check my account electronically and balance it out everytime I do bill paying. If the difference is less than $10, I adjust to the balance the bank gives and don't worry about it. Otherwise, I do some research and get it figured out. Differences have always been my error, not the bank's. So far anyway.
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Old 06-13-2010, 09:23 PM   #28
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I use Microsoft Money for my check register, so it takes a couple of minutes to balance every month with the online statement.
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:17 PM   #29
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I said "Yes - to the penny" - but I do it all in Quicken with transaction downloads from my financial institutions. Almost all my bills are paid electronically. I almost never actually "write" a check.

Review at least once a week.

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Old 06-13-2010, 10:28 PM   #30
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Differences have always been my error, not the bank's. So far anyway.
The last time I found a difference that was the bank's error, was back in 1976. They just don't seem to be as common in the computer age as they were in the age of adding machines, for some reason. I still check as a matter of habit.
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:44 PM   #31
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I'm really shocked that so many people actually balance to the penny. On a regular basis, no less!
I think it's the financial equivalent of comfort food, a skill that I've been practicing for over 30 years.

There was a time when those pennies were pretty darn important.
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Old 06-13-2010, 11:00 PM   #32
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I did the manual monthly balance the checkbook to the statement thing for many, many years. Several years ago I finally capitulated to full on-line banking with bill pay. I still keep my checkbook up to date for handwritten checks (very few these days) and enter all the e-checks and debit card transactions every few days. I haven't gotten a paper statement in about 5 years - I just download the pdf file to my hard drive every month. I do check every day or two to see if the e-transactions have gone through, if automatic deposits have been credited and if all tranactions look correct.

Since opening this account in 1976 I found only one error - when someone else's pay was accidentally deposited in my account. Easy to clear up.

This is so much easier - until terrorist hackers wipe all the hard drives clean
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Old 06-13-2010, 11:10 PM   #33
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I think it's the financial equivalent of comfort food, a skill that I've been practicing for over 30 years.

There was a time when those pennies were pretty darn important.
The reason why my balancing comes out to the penny is because the transactions are downloaded from the bank and Quicken does the balancing!

All I have to do is notice whether they match.

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Old 06-13-2010, 11:26 PM   #34
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I don't have too many transactions in my checking account each month, in the 10-12 range. At least half the time, the balance shown on my statement can be found in my checkbook register, so I draw the cutoff line there (even if I made more transactions since then) and I am done. Took me about 20 seconds.
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Old 06-14-2010, 07:34 AM   #35
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We still write checks and balance monthly to the penny with Quicken. But then I'm married to a bookkeeper/accountant, and we're both detail-oriented people. Little errors have a nasty habit of compounding and resulting in unpleasant surprises.

The problem I have with online bill paying is the consistent refusal to accept responsibility for consequential damages. That is, if the electric company misplaces a decimal point and withdraws $750 instead of $75, I may bounce a few checks, at about $50 each for each party's bank fees, not to mention the hassle of cleaning up the mess.

Unless and until they promise to "make me whole" for their mistakes, just as they insist that I make them whole for any mistakes I make, I'll stick with check-writing.
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Old 06-14-2010, 08:00 AM   #36
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I can't imagine not balancing an account. It's so incredibly easy . . . pay bill, enter amount into Money / Quicken / Whatever, occasionally compare software balance to bank balance. Done.
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Old 06-14-2010, 08:25 AM   #37
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I am online everyday checking all my accounts. Do not "balance" per se. Once in a blue moon, something is off, and I do what is necessary to investigate and correct. Only write an average of two checks per month - everything else is electronic. All auto pay stuff comes out of my credit cards, then I pay those. There is much more excitement on my credit statements than my checking account!
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Old 06-14-2010, 08:30 AM   #38
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Quote:
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There was a time when those pennies were pretty darn important.
I remember those days, and not longingly...

I tried using MSMoney for a while, but it seemed redundant. I use a spreadsheet to track expenses manually, but since many of my "bills" are hidden in a credit card statement, it's just easier to pluck them out myself. Takes a few minutes per month.
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Old 06-14-2010, 08:39 AM   #39
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Not the old fashioned "on the back of the monthly statement with pencil and calculator" variety, at least not since I switched over to online banking. I take a look at my account 2-3 times a week to be sure all the deposits and payments are accurate and on time. I suppose this could be described as "continuous balancing".
This is what I do, too. When I can see it online 24/7, why do a snapshot in paper (the checkbook)?
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Old 06-14-2010, 08:47 AM   #40
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I write less than one check per month. I do go online to all my accounts every day.
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