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.