How to Balance a Checkbook A Step-by-Step Guide

how to balance checkbook

The easiest option is to pick up wherever you are; this means noting your current account balance and tracking transactions from that point forward. For example, fintech Chime is known for its award-winning app and budgeting tools that alert you to your daily balance, help track your budget, and even automatically add to your savings account. And Chase Bank offers a Budget tool that calculates your spending according to a set budget, offers Daily Pacing to track your progress, and lets you adjust your allocations as you go.

How to Balance a Checkbook

  1. Considering that the average overdraft fee is around $35, it is better off avoided as much as possible.
  2. This will act as a reminder for the last known correct amount in the register, or any stand-out check numbers, and help you stay on track until the next debit card purchase or transaction is made.
  3. If you are charged a recurring monthly maintenance fee, you can note this in your checkbook register each month.
  4. You can also see if you missed accounting for any of your expenses in your budget.

If your account offers interest on the balance held, this added deposit could throw off your checkbook balance. Or, you might also find that your balance is less than expected due to checking account fees you incur, such as monthly maintenance, non-sufficient funds, or wire transfer fees. If you don’t order paper checks or otherwise don’t want to use a paper register booklet, you can accomplish the same thing with a piece of paper, small notebook, or custom printed ledger. There are many free checkbook balancing forms available and you can even buy fun, downloadable options on sites like Etsy. So, how do you balance a checkbook, particularly if you don’t write checks or simply don’t want to use a paper register to track transactions?

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This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site. We are not a comparison-tool and these offers do not represent all available deposit, investment, loan or credit products. The more you understand the process, the more comfortable you may feel about managing your money. Balancing a checkbook can be just the thing you need to propel you into a better financial future.

Without a check register

how to balance checkbook

Enter the amount in your check register as you would any other transaction. Despite this convenience, the balance you see on your bank’s app may not be accurate. Not all transactions clear immediately, especially if you write a check. The checkbook register, also known as your checkbook ledger, is a little booklet in your checkbook where you’ll record details about checks you’ve written out. You can create your own transaction register on an open-source spreadsheet platform, such as Google Sheets. This will mean you can access it from your phone, allowing you to make note of your transactions while you’re out and about.

how to balance checkbook

Compare all deposits in your check register to those on your monthly statement. Put a checkmark next to all matching transactions bookkeeping 101 in your check register and bank statement. You’ll need your checkbook register, checking account statement, and a calculator.

Here are a few options to consider whether you’re a pen-and-paper kind of person or not. Note your statement ending balance from your current monthly statement. Add all your outstanding deposits to your statement ending balance, then subtract all outstanding debits. Compare all check payments in your check register to those on your monthly statement. Place a checkmark next to all matching check payments in your check register and bank account statement.

Don’t forget to account for other miscellaneous charges such as ATM withdrawal fees or monthly subscriptions. Using a spreadsheet or ledger can also help you stay on top of your checking account balance. With a spreadsheet, you can record deposits and withdrawals while creating formulas that automatically repopulate your current account balance. The key to this approach is making sure that you enter new credits and debits in a timely manner.

Here’s a look at what the process actually entails, what to track throughout the month, and how to balance a checkbook even if you don’t ever use paper checks. Those fees can easily eat into your balance, potentially putting you in the red — and in debt to the bank. There are a number of programs available that will automatically track your banking information for you, such as and Personal Capital. These aggregators allow you to see an overview of all of your financial accounts in a single place, from your checking and savings accounts, to your loans, to your college savings account. Such an aggregator will do the tracking and recording for you, so all you’ll have to do is check it regularly and compare it to your banking information to make sure everything balances.

Balancing a checkbook can be a helpful way to view your spending each month and to review your checks for any errors. Checkbooks come with a carbon copy, which is paper behind your check that leaves behind a copy of what you write on it. Flip through your carbon copies if you forgot to list something on your checkbook register. Even today, when much (if not all) of your transaction information is available with the click of a button, it’s still a good idea to maintain a record of your transactions and regularly balance that record. There are also many third-party check services that offer personalized check designs and unique options. After all, you’re handing over very sensitive financial information as part of the ordering process.

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