The Importance of balancing your checkbook

There are many reasons why balancing your checkbook makes good sense. Four main reasons you should balance your checkbook each month include:

1. Verify that your records match the bank’s records, as shown on your monthly bank statement. This will always be an important task.

2. Although banks process thousands of transactions accurately, mistakes can be made and typically there is limited time to inform the bank of the error. If you don’t balance your checkbook monthly, you might not even find the error in a timely fashion. Even more likely is the possibility that you made a mistake in your checkbook register, which you’re unlikely to find unless you balance your checkbook each month.

3. If you make a mistake or forget to post an ATM withdrawal, debit card purchase, or other transaction in your checkbook register, you may start bouncing checks and incurring fees which can get costly. If you don’t correct the problem quickly, you may incur significant fees.

4. If there is a problem at some point, it’s much more difficult to wade through months of transactions to figure it out. By balancing your checkbook every month, the amount of information you’ll ever have to look through would be the most recent month’s transactions. Sometimes people make such a mess of their checkbook by not balancing regularly that they have to close out their account and open another one.

What do I need to Balance my Checkbook?

Before you start, you should have the following items:

  • Copy of your bank statement (or your eStatement)
  • Calculator
  • ATM cash withdrawals and deposit slips
  • Copies of written or deposited checks
  • Electronic funds transfer verification
  • Online and offline debit card payments and purchases
  • Any earned interest in your checking account
  • Bank fees
  • Our account reconciliation form

Once you have all of these items, along with your checkbook register and a pen or pencil, then you’re ready to balance your checkbook.