It is a morning ritual for me. I get the kids' breakfast, and sit down to do some "work." "Work" is check my e-mail, look at the Rare of the Day on Webkinz, see who has posted on Blogger, oh....and balance my checkbook. (I have now added Pinterest....my new fav....to my workload. ;) ) Ok, I probably only balance it 4 times a week....usually after I have paid a bunch of bills or had alot of transactions. But I look at it daily.
My method....I check off items as they clear, and put a circle next to the ones that haven't. That way, I can easily see what I need to add back in when I balance the register (yes....I use a paper register and LOVE it). Once I finish all the math, and it balances, I draw a line under the current "balance" that my register shows. That way, if I run into a problem, I know where I was the last time I balanced it....so I don't need to go back any further. I use my debit card for everything, so while it is called a checkbook....there are few checks. Mostly co-pays at the doctor, and lunch for the kids at school for the week. But all the transfers, gas, groceries, etc....all in there.
I probably spend about 5 minutes doing this.
As I went through my ritual this morning, I discovered that I entered a check twice! Not a huge deal, I added back in the extra entry, and made a note of it. In essence, I found $20!!!
If I didn't actually do this work, I wouldn't know I short changed myself. I know alot of people just look at the balance that the bank gives them, and estimate that it is right....or just look at it and say, ok...I have $200, and never think of the $300 in outstanding entries, that will cause them to overdraft.
Knowing my check book is balanced at the start of my day helps me function. I know how much I have. Period. If for some reason I can't do it (such as going into work really early for something), I think about it all day. I am a geek. I know it. But I do.
But it makes me happy, it is for the overall good, and I am going to keep doing it!!! How about you.....do you balance your checkbook???