"Get to the (decimal) point!"
Tired of assessing your net worth from an ATM printout? Bouncing checks because you're "not an accountant?" Account balancing was difficult enough before the onslaught of ATM withdrawals swept the nation. So, let's get those growing piles of bank statements under control; the effective handling of your finances will eliminate considerable stress and confusion from your life.
As this 2torial shows, it's really not too hard once you assemble the necessary elements.
To clear up any misconceptions, balancing your checkbook is not the same as keeping a daily balance. The objective of this 2torial is to find the discrepancies between your daily record and the monthly bank statement. Once these differences are accounted for, your records and the bank's records will match. Next month, if you want to make this easier on yourself, keep track of your transactions: checks, deposits, ATM withdrawals, debit card withdrawals (if you have a debit card), and earned interest.
Before you begin:
Set aside an evening, turn on some smooth tunes, and settle into a comfortable, tidy work area. Only a few minutes will put you well on your way to a balanced checkbook.
Calm yourself for the task at hand. Although it might seem distasteful, focus on doing it carefully with as few errors as possible. Try to scrape up your ATM, debit card and deposit receipts, and have your checkbook ready.
The first time: 60 minutes.
The subsequent balances: 30 minutes, once a month
What you'll need:
- A calculator
- A pencil
- One or two months worth of your most recent bank statements
- Your checkbook (with checkbook ledger included)
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