I think it is fascinating to learn different people's systems for different things. For example: laundry. What works for one person may not work with the next.

I know budgets and finances are another area where systems differ from person to person. It took me a little time, but I felt like I finally had ours down. And then we dropped my income and the process looked a little different, but the essentials stayed the same.

Which brings me to this: I still balance our checkbook. When I mention this to people, a lot of times I get blank stares.

Okay, that may be an exaggeration as most people at least KNOW what it means to balance a checkbook, most just don't any more. I think with the invention of online banking a lot of paper and pencil figuring went out the window. People just check their accounts from time to time, or daily, and assume the number is right.

I can't live that way.

I think if I didn't feel the need to pinch every penny I MIGHT be able to…but probably not: It's just not me.

So even though Brent works at the bank, has access to our account every moment of the day, I still balance our checkbook and schedule payments [I don't even use auto-pay online…call me a control-freak].

I don't really have a fancy system, I just write things down, add/subtract, highlight what has been processed, and voila! A balanced checkbook and peace of mind for me.

One thing I also do is keep a little sticky note in my transaction register on which I write down our major payments throughout the month.

At the top I write down the dates Brent will get paid over the year, and then I write down the rough estimate for the amount of our bills and the dates that they are due. This gives me a good visual that I sometimes need in order to keep track of everything.  As a teacher I have had to learn what type of student I am: I am someone who needs to read things and have them laid out in front of me visually, so I devised a strategy that fit my learning needs. Like I said, it's nothing fancy-- hello, a sticky note-- but it works for me.

I subbed recently for a Personal Finance class, and they were on this very unit. The teacher had previously asked me if I knew how to balance a checkbook since that is what they would be doing while I was there. She wanted to make sure I knew how because she said the kids struggled a lot with it because it was nearly foreign to them.

Which made me wonder: 
Do YOU still keep a transaction register with your checkbook? 
If you do, why do you? 
If you don't, why don't you?  
I find it all very interesting. 

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Betsy said...

I'm with you, Kelsey! I still balance my checkbook every week (it's a Sunday activity). I save all receipts throughout the week (and get after my hubby for not saving his) and then enter them into my checkbook. Two years ago I abandoned my written register for the MooLa app and just recently switched to the Checkbook app for iPad/iPhone - both apps are free. I'm also don't have anything signed up for auto-payment and prefer to schedule everything myself - I am signed up for bill pay through my bank's online banking, which allows me to pay all of my bills right there (and not on all separate websites). Something I LOVE about the Checkbook app is that it has a Reports feature which shows me, among other things, how much we've spent for the month on each category (gas, dining, groceries, etc.).

I do it because I think it's important to be aware of how much we're spending on different things (even though my default setting is Ultra Frugal). I'm also glad I do it because I have found errors before, where I've been overcharged or the bank didn't put my deposit through, so on and so forth. It's worth it for that reason alone!

Brent said...

I work at a bank...unfortunately bank errors do happen, because of the human error factor, so we encourage people to keep a register and to balance it against the statement we mail every month for that reason...Online banking and the internet is convenient but like my wife (and Betsy)know, there are times they can be wrong. Ultimately, your money is your responsibility. For some people, the convenience outweighs the occasional missed errors. But some people can't do that. My advice is to take charge of your money...I'm thankful for my Mrs. being that way...and appreciate it a lot.