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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%
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Poll: Do you balance your checkbook?
Old 06-13-2010, 12:17 PM   #1
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Poll: Do you balance your checkbook?

Do you keep your checkbook balanced?

Back when, I used to always balance it using Quicken (when that was what Quicken mostly did). Since then I no longer use Quicken, but still balance my checkbook. I do it the old fashioned way, (pencil, calculator).

I did find a nice spreadsheet that pretty much does the same thing as the pencil/calculator method. Here it is if you are interested:

Checkbook Balancer spreadsheet | Uncommon Way to Wealth by Sean Payne


My funny way of balancing a long time ago was to have two checkbooks. When one would get out of balance with too many checks on it, I'd use the other checkbook to let the first one idle until all the checks cleared. How's that for making more work for myself
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Old 06-13-2010, 12:25 PM   #2
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I still reconcile my checking account monthly. I have a simple program on Excel that has worked for me. It generally takes about 10 minutes each month to get it done. If I did not do this I guarantee you that some evil would visit my checking account and mess with my working cash. Mostly it's just to make sure that I sleep well.

The humorous thing about this is that I seldom visit my VG account that includes many times that amount of $.
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Old 06-13-2010, 12:43 PM   #3
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No, I don't balance my checkbook. I haven't for years. I probably use my checkbook once or twice a year now, if that.
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Old 06-13-2010, 12:57 PM   #4
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None of those answers are correct for me so I couldn't vote.

No, I don't balance a checkbook.
No, I don't just "depend on the bank statements".
No, my reasons for not balancing are not that I "don't want the fuss".

I view my checking account online every single day. That's lots of fuss but I prefer knowing to blissful ignorance.

And I don't just trust the bank. I check to see if the total is reasonable given the many different types of deposits and withdrawals. I do mental arithmetic and usually check to the cent, always at least to the dollar. They are always right but old habits die hard.

Doing daily mental arithmetic has the added benefit of being a good mental exercise too, by the way - - thinking of another thread here on staying mentally sharp. First I subtract the balance from the previous day's balance (kept from day to day in my Excel retirement/financial file), saying to myself something like, "Oh! I paid out $62.87 yesterday". Then I go into the account details and add up the withdrawals, subtract the deposits, and verify that.

Almost all of my bills are paid by automatic deductions and I check these using mental arithmetic just like checks or any other withdrawal. I probably write fewer than a dozen checks per year. I don't use a check register. I do watch to make sure each check clears.
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Old 06-13-2010, 12:58 PM   #5
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The humorous thing about this is that I seldom visit my VG account that includes many times that amount of $.
Same here. It's a lot easier to focus on a penny or two than on the dumpsters of dollars...

Balancing the checkbook also helps me verify that the autopayment bills are reasonable amounts.
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:15 PM   #6
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What's a check book? Why would anyone still use them, that's why we have the internet.
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:21 PM   #7
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Same here. It's a lot easier to focus on a penny or two than on the dumpsters of dollars...
I go to Vanguard about once every month or so, to see what my dividends were and check the balance compared with my spreadsheet computation of it.

However, I don't like to go to Vanguard too often because it just seems safer not to, even though they have a secure log-in. I also update and run Norton and Malwarebytes before going there each time, and use the Windows "On screen keyboard" when I go there, in the (probably futile) hope of perhaps evading keyloggers should I acquire one that was undetected. You know me well enough by now to know that I try to be pretty cautious about nearly everything (yes, I fasten the deadbolt every time I enter my home even for a second, and I never leave my car unlocked, either). You may envision Scrooge McDuck standing on top of his pile of gold coins with a shotgun...
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:41 PM   #8
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What's a check book? Why would anyone still use them, that's why we have the internet.
I have a lot of my bills set up for autopay. There's about a two day delay for when I see transactions show up on my online banking access. Plus, there are still some checks I write the old fashioned way. For me, I just can't keep track of it right unless I do the monthly balancing.
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:44 PM   #9
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I go to Vanguard about once every month or so, to see what my dividends were and check the balance compared with my spreadsheet computation of it.

However, I don't like to go to Vanguard too often because it just seems safer not to, even though they have a secure log-in. I also update and run Norton and Malwarebytes before going there each time, and use the Windows "On screen keyboard" when I go there, in the (probably futile) hope of perhaps evading keyloggers should I acquire one that was undetected. You know me well enough by now to know that I try to be pretty cautious about nearly everything (yes, I fasten the deadbolt every time I enter my home even for a second, and I never leave my car unlocked, either). You may envision Scrooge McDuck standing on top of his pile of gold coins with a shotgun...
I go to Vanguard several times a week, probably just out of habit more than anything else. About safety, a time or two, I thought, someone must have broke into my account and started draining out my balances. Then realized, no it was just the market tanking
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:46 PM   #10
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I go to Vanguard several times a week, probably just out of habit more than anything else. About safety, a time or two, I thought, someone must have broke into my account and started draining out my balances. Then realized, no it was just the market tanking
Believe me, I know the feeling!
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:56 PM   #11
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I view my checking account online every single day. That's lots of fuss but I prefer knowing to blissful ignorance.
This is a good practice for bank accounts and investment accounts. Every day might be a little excessive but a couple times a week is certainly prudent. I look online at checking, investment accounts and credit cards at least weekly to look for errors or fraudulent transactions.
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Old 06-13-2010, 02:18 PM   #12
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I have no interest in online banking but I do balance my checkbook to the penny every month. I have over the years figured some shortcuts to minimize the nuisance of outstanding checks. Once in a while I call the bank's automated account access # to get info about a recent deposit or check/payment.

Because most of my payments are electronic ones, I write only about 2-3 checks per month. I use cash for most of my day-to-day purchases, so I make about 2 ATM cash withdrawals per month. Still makes for a pretty easy checkbook balance every month.
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:05 PM   #13
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I use Microsoft Money, but write very few checks. Still need to verify auto deductions are correct, though.

Balancing only takes a couple of minutes a month.
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:16 PM   #14
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I rarely write a check, and do most of my bill-paying online. I check balances online 2 or 3 times a week. I also balance my checking account to the penny. I'm too OCD not to.
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:35 PM   #15
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Si, to the penny. Check all accounts regularly, to insure there's no funny business.
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:40 PM   #16
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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".
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:41 PM   #17
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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".
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Old 06-13-2010, 04:14 PM   #18
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I have all my credit union accounts in Quicken, that includes my checking/debit card. Yep...I reconcile throughout the month and finalize it at the end of each month. It's part of my retirement j*b. Just makes me feel better.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:31 PM   #19
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Like travelover, I download transactions into MS Money. I then "accept" the transactions as legit. There are usually less than 30 transactions per month, including a handful of checks ... usually related to kids' school functions and family birthdays. If the MSMoney final value matches what my bank has, then everything is balanced.

We don't use cash. Everything possible goes on cash-back credit cards that get paid with online bill pay.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:42 PM   #20
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The little bank (about 5 employees and no branches) that has my account has a very good online banking application and I reconcile my account about every other week.
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