Manage Your Check Register

Using your check register, along with a little self-discipline and a few basic math skills, you can easily keep track of all your income and expenditures. Few financial skills are more important than learning to manage your check register and using it to balance your checkbook.

Use A Register to Track Your Accounts

Perhaps you have long ago learned this simple skill, but if not now is the time to develop a consistent practice of entering checks into your checkbook register at the time you write a check. Also, in today's world, enter at the time any online bill pay checks. And, in a timely fashion, any other entries like ATM or debit card items.

By being consistent in making prompt entries to your check register and making frequent reconciliations with your bank accounts, you will always know where you stand financially. Once you establish the habit you will find balancing your checkbook to be quite easy and keeping up as second nature.

It is very easy to write a check and not enter it immediately in your check register. But this bad habit, which many have allowed to persist, is one you don’t want to plague your life. With all the newer electronic transactions it is even easier to lose track of income and expenditures.

Make Timely Entries in Your Register

There are many reasons it is important to use your check register to track your account balances. These include avoiding overdraft fees and credit rating disasters. The best way to do this effeciently and easily is to enter all transactions immediately when they occur.

Along with this, it is important to compute the balance column often. It isn’t necessary to do this on every line but rarely should more than four or five entries be made before doing so. You can determine when you need to do this by observing whether you can mentally calculate your approximate balance easily. If not, do the math.

Now that many of us do a lot of online banking it is easier than ever to let bad habits develop in this area. It is just as important, in some ways more so, to enter electronic transactions into the checkbook register at the time of the payment.


Don’t just stack printouts of your online payments on your desk to enter later. And don’t forget automatic payments either. Write a list of these, ordered by date, on a 3×5 card and keep them in your checkbook or work out some other method that will enable you to consistently enter these payments on time.

Enter Exact Amounts in Your Register

Enter the correct amounts and calculate balances precisely. It is amazing how many people round off numbers or don’t record some deposits or bank charges as they really are. No surprise that banks make such enormous profit from overdraft and other charges.

One of the biggest problems with failing to record the exact amount of deposits and expenditures, for example, is that it becomes impossible to find errors that may occur elsewhere. Even large errors are difficult to spot when you don’t know exactly the amount you are off.

With identity theft and other issues as common as they are, it is more important than ever to notice any inconsistencies in our accounts. When the numbers are precise and readily available we can easily stay in real control of our money and avoid these problems as well.

The best way to approach this issue is to make and apply a no tolerance policy toward neglecting entries. Hit and miss doesn’t work. If you make no exceptions, no matter where you are (even with a long line behind you at the grocery store) to enter the check and amount, you will succeed easily. It just takes making a firm decision and then following through on it.

Keep Your Checkook Up to Date

Your check register is a basic tool for balancing your checkbook. Make good use of it. And learn how to balance your checkbook against your bank statement.