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Is balancing a checkbook passe?

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    Is balancing a checkbook passe?

    WIth the advent of online banking, I'll admit. . .I just check my balances pretty much every other day to see if checks clear or there is something suspicious.

    How many of you do this or still balance their checkbook on a monthly basis?

    Is online banking a substitute since you get a real-time balance of your checking account?

    #2
    Originally posted by Scanner View Post
    WIth the advent of online banking, I'll admit. . .I just check my balances pretty much every other day to see if checks clear or there is something suspicious.


    How many of you do this or still balance their checkbook on a monthly basis?

    Is online banking a substitute since you get a real-time balance of your checking account?

    I still balanced my check... Even though online banking is quite quick, my balance is always different from the checkbook than on paper.

    I pay my bills ahead of time, this shows up on my checkbook and gives me accurate money I have to use after that. Also, some places do not have advance system to get the check to the bank right away. It can take awhile for it to show on the online account. You may have money that you spent already and has yet to be taken out of the online account. This frequently happens when I use my card at the gas stations. Some takes a couple of days for it to show up.

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      #3
      No, online banking is not a substitute. You should still balance your checkbook (either manually in the checkbook register, or electronically in Quicken, MSN Money, etc.).

      One reason is you are relying on your bank to have correct transaction information. Banks do make mistakes occasionally and they may overcharge your account for a check, as an example. One time I wrote a check for $1240 and it was coded as $1420. Big difference.

      Another reason is if other people in the household make purchases, they need to know what the current balance -- including any pending transactions that have not yet posted to your account.

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        #4
        But if you are checking pretty regularly, you would note the miscode. Now. . .I suppose it's possible that they could code a check for $100 and then subtract $200 (make a computation error) but I think truthfully, it's more likely I would do that than the bank.

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          #5
          Yeah, I'm the one typically making the mistake... but it serves as a good double-check. Also I like having records kept off-line separate from the bank's computer system. If my transaction information is lost or corrupted or the account is breeched, I want to have something on paper I can reconstruct from. Paranoid, perhaps, but this is my hard-earned money we're talking about.

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            #6
            Originally posted by Scanner View Post
            How many of you do this or still balance their checkbook on a monthly basis?
            I do. I still write checks by hand (although most payments are made electronically). I still keep a written check register. And I still get a paper statement and balance it by hand.

            In fact, my 12-year-old daughter has usually been balancing our checkbook for a couple of years now. I like her doing it because it helps give her some real-world math skills and also gives us an opportunity to talk about the costs involved in living our lives, maintaining our home, etc.
            Steve

            * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
            * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
            * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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              #7
              Originally posted by Scanner View Post
              I just check my balances pretty much every other day
              Checking your balance online is not a substitute for keeping the written register up to date and balanced. The online balance only reflects transactions that have already occured. It doesn't reflect outstanding checks and payments, so you can't use the online balance to know if you have enough in your account to cover a check you need to write or a payment you have to make.

              We typically move $10,000 or more each month in and out of our account. At any given time, the real balance might be as much as a few thousand dollars different than the balance listed online so just checking the online balance is really of no value to me.
              Steve

              * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
              * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
              * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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                #8
                I go over my bank account online every morning, and I've never had a problem.

                I can't even remember the last time I wrote a check by hand. With debit cards and online bill pay, there is no need.

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                  #9
                  I haven't even used my checkbook in over two months and its been years since I used more than one check per month. I know what is coming out of my account at any given time because I have a list of bills and when they are paid. The small stuff can easily be tracked online since pending items show up from the moment you run the card (even if they take three days to post).

                  I find I am more concerned with how much the bank thinks I have than what I think I have. After all, I know how much I am spending but I have heard of banks making rather large mistakes.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by parafly View Post
                    I can't even remember the last time I wrote a check by hand. With debit cards and online bill pay, there is no need.
                    We also pay most bills electronically, but there are still plenty of places that don't accept electronic payments or credit cards. We write checks to pay our synagogue dues and religious school. We write checks to pay for our daughter's extracurricular activities - Girl Scouts, youth group, theater expenses. We write checks for charitable donations and school fundraisers. I don't have my checkbook with me at the moment. I'm sure there are other things we have to pay by check but that's all that comes to mind at the moment.
                    Steve

                    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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                      #11
                      Same here... Property taxes and other government fees have to be paid by check. And of course any gifts (birthdays, etc.) are in check form.

                      But in addition to that, it's a good move to schedule bill paying to happen as close to the due date as possible to maximize interest earned. When you do that, it isn't reflected on your account balance until the bill is paid. So you wouldn't want to spend money based on what the bank says your balance is.

                      I think not balancing your checkbook is a bad habit to get into. But that's just my opinion of course.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by sweeps View Post
                        Same here... Property taxes and other government fees have to be paid by check.
                        Yep. We have to pay the sewer bill by check. Also the guys who mow the lawn. We usually use cash for gifts, though, unless we are mailing them.
                        Steve

                        * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                        * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                        * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          well it must be passe since I do it

                          I seem to write 5 checks a month ,I do not use my debit,they changed my pin and I never bothered to learn the new one
                          I do plan on eventually just paying all regular bills online,but I do think I will always keep a written record mainly I am fearful of weird bank fees that seem to happen to folks who do not pay close attention

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                            #14
                            I balance my checkbook to make sure the bank and I are on the same page. I rarely write checks but I still check if there are any fees that I didn't agree to or if a vendor is holding a check too long, I know exactly how much I can really spend each day.

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                              #15
                              I stopped. I used to but I pay only like property taxes by check and any irregular bills. Those I just reconcile when they clear, but otherwise, everything is on the CC.

                              I never use debit card and I rarely take out cash, once a month $100 for blow money. But otherwise it's all on the credit card.
                              LivingAlmostLarge Blog

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