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-   -   Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account? (http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f28/do-you-reconcile-your-checking-account-22851.html)

TromboneAl 08-28-2006 02:00 PM

Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
DD (away at college) now has two more overdrafts. Total overdraft fees since last May: $231.

I can't get her to reconcile her account, and apparently she doesn't even keep note of the balance.

I was curious as to how many of you regularly reconcile.

Robert the Red 08-28-2006 02:11 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
I used to do it, but after 20 years of never discovering an error by the banks, I decided to let it go. Nowadays, I check it online every week or so to see if my online bill pays have been made, paycheck deposited, hackers enriched, etc., but I (a) trust the computer program's arithmetic, and (b) keep enough in the account so that I don't have to worry about any given check or ATM withdrawal. (But with online bill pay, I only write about 1 check every 60 days or so.)

wabmester 08-28-2006 02:13 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
Do people still write checks? It's a rare occassion for me. Credit cards, online bill pay, and cash take care of 95% of my transactions.

linkerbink 08-28-2006 02:16 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
Same here...I do mine on line every few days. *I have direct deposit for my paycheck and husband's pension, and most bills are deducted automatically, so it's easy to keep up with. *About the only checks I write are for things which aren't set up to accept autopay (church, quarterly water/sewer in my small borough, etc.). *Really convenient, and helps spot problems before they get too far out of hand.

farmerEd 08-28-2006 02:16 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
Never have...in 25 or so years I've had an account - never bounced a check either.

REWahoo 08-28-2006 02:20 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
I gave up reconciling the checking account 8+ years ago when I dumped Quicken. I check the transactions and balance online every other day or so (along with CC transactions) to be sure there are no surprises.

Al, doesn't the bank offer your DD overdraft protection via a CC advance? Maybe that's just asking for more trouble, but seems like she is being taken to the cleaners on OD fees and even high CC interest rates would be much less costly if paid in full each month. (Guess that might be the catch, eh? :P).



Scrooge 08-28-2006 02:30 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Robert the Red
I used to do it, but after 20 years of never discovering an error by the banks, I decided to let it go.

I don't reconcile my checking account monthly to catch my bank's errors. I reconcile it monthly to catch my errors ;D

WRBT 08-28-2006 02:37 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
Never.

I check the statements to make sure all is legit, that's about it. Someone could probably sneak something by me if they kept the amount low and did it at my usual grocery store or something.

REWahoo 08-28-2006 02:42 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by wab
Do people still write checks? It's a rare occassion for me. Credit cards, online bill pay, and cash take care of 95% of my transactions.

Although declining by 4-5% each year, the old fashioned check continues to be used more often than those of us who are computer literate might think. According to the most recent information available in the 2004 Federal Reserve Payments Study, the number of electronic transactions didn't outpace the number of checks written until 2003. Both the number of CC and debit card transactions are expected to surpass the number of checks written next year. Still, more than 30 billion checks are written in the US each year.

Old habits and old terminology die hard, but it may be time to change the term "checking account" to the more accurate "demand deposit account" (DDA).


burch64 08-28-2006 02:44 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Scrooge
I don't reconcile my checking account monthly to catch my bank's errors. I reconcile it monthly to catch my errors* ;D

Same here, I have never found a bank error but on occasion find we have entered the amount wrong in Quicken.

Cut-Throat 08-28-2006 02:51 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by wab
Do people still write checks? It's a rare occassion for me. Credit cards, online bill pay, and cash take care of 95% of my transactions.

Same here. But I use the Checking Account for Auto Bill Pay for utilities that won't take Credit Cards. Also use the Checking Account for ATMs. But I actually only write a couple checks a month. Mostly for paying deposits to Individuals for Beach House Rental, Fishing Guides etc.

So I reconcile it monthly with Quicken. Usually takes me about 2 minutes.

Sarah in SC 08-28-2006 02:51 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
Al, I sympathize with your frustration with the DD overdrafts...my brother was forever running up huge overdrafts the same way. *Can you link the account to a savings account to avoid the fees? *I sometimes use what BofA calls a creditline for overdraft protection, just in case. *They will charge a $10 fee if you don't move the funds before they do, but it will save the NSF charges.

I love reconciling my accounts, I do all of them each month, checking, savings, investments--I print the statement from the online service at BofA, then open up Quicken and get going with my "special reconciling highlighter" I've used for more than 10 years. *I have no idea what I'll do when it finally dries up! *I save copies of statements, old habits die hard...

I remember creating my own custom ledger sheets in 3-ring binders as a teenager, so that I could reconcile my first checking account, as the checkbook register was too small for the detail I kept. * ;D *Now I wonder why did it take me until I was 35 to realize that financial services was my area of interest??????

Sarah
FWIW, my parents bailing my brother out of his overdrafts did not help him in the long run. *At 38, he still cannot operate a checkbook, as far as I know.

tomz 08-28-2006 02:51 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
I reconcile monthly using Microsoft money. *We still write checks for most stuff. *DW doesn't trust online bill pay. *

My great aunt never reconciled her checkbook. *She figured if she still had blank checks, she was good to go. :)

uncledrz 08-28-2006 02:55 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
Every month. Might suggest to DD that she pay the overdraft fees next time.

farmerEd 08-28-2006 02:59 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
A close relative of mine works for the company that writes and sells an awful lot of the software that is used to transfer money around from bank to bank..including online bill payments etc (the bank end, not the piece you see).

He told me he would never use any online banking tools based on what he knows. :o

I do anyway - never had a problem and almost all my bills are paid electronically, automatically every month.

unclemick 08-28-2006 03:03 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
Hmmm

I think I may have balanced my checkbook in 1966 - once.

Hey - as long as you have sufficient funds - why bother.

heh heh heh heh heh

Scrooge 08-28-2006 03:07 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by tio z
Might suggest to DD that she pay the overdraft fees next time.

Er, shouldn't that go without saying? If you don't get your college age (! - compare to Nords' DD) kids to pay for basic screwups, how will they ever learn? Isn't it better to have them pay $50-100 and learn their lesson now than fail to learn to manage money and be mired in debt 5-10 years from now?

mickeyd 08-28-2006 03:07 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
Every Month.

Since both myself and DW have access, we both write checks and use Debit card. I geneally have to add or subtract a few bucks each month to make it balance. I can only recall one recent large error that I discovered while balancing and I had to act quickly to resolve the error as it was over $1000 and if I would not have caught it who knows how many checks would have bounced?

I developed a small program using Excel several years ago that I use each month. It generally takes only a few minutes to knock it out, so it is time well spent and helps me sleep well.

peggy 08-28-2006 03:28 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Robert the Red
I used to do it, but after 20 years of never discovering an error by the banks, I decided to let it go.* Nowadays, I check it online every week or so to see if my online bill pays have been made, paycheck deposited, hackers enriched, etc., but I (a) trust the computer program's arithmetic, and (b) keep enough in the account so that I don't have to worry about any given check or ATM withdrawal.* (But with online bill pay, I only write about 1 check every 60 days or so.)

This pretty much sums up what I do. Before we went online for banking, though, we reconciled every 2-3 months on average.

Only ever bounced a check once, and that was because an insurance company gave me a DRAFT not a CHECK to pay a claim (car was stolen), and the bank didn't tell me when I deposited the draft that it takes (at the time) two weeks to clear, rather than two days. I complained, explained the situation, and got the NSF fee credited back to my account.

maddythebeagle 08-28-2006 03:38 PM

Re: Do You Reconcile Your Checking Account?
 
I also dont "balance". I keep a buffer for the occasional check and go online maybe once per week....do most payments with credit cards and use online bill pay, which are auto. noted in my available balance...


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