Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Best way to keep track of your account balance when you pay bills online?

Or, putting it another way, it's starting to feel pretty silly balancing my checkbook.  OK, there is the occasional check, but most of the money out (and all of the money in) goes electronically now.  It made sense to write those random debits and credits in the checkbook when writing checks was still the main way of doing business, but now it seems downright awkward.

Example:  today I noticed the balance in my checkbook didn't match the account balance online.  And I checked them against each other and realized I'd forgotten to record a handful of online payments I'd made last month.  Now, did I go back into my files for each payee verify the amount?  No, I just took the numbers off the screen and copied them into my check register.  And I thought, "You know, if I trust the screen enough to take these numbers off of it, why aren't I just trusting the screen on the whole?"

So, what do you folks do?  Just go with the online account balance, and keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't do anything wacky?  Print out a copy of every payment made and keep it in a great big notebook?  Something else?  I want to keep track, but the old school method of writing everything in the check register seems hopelessly outdated.


Wil said...

I use the checks with their own "carbon" which allows me to keep track. I staple the carbons to a printout of the monthly statement. There is adequate provision on the statement to reconcile the account. All goes into a file folder in the file cabinet. Old habits die hard, but I went this route a few years ago when they started charging me a $3 fee for returning my checks. And then the pharmacy started returning my check right at the register. Sledgehammer to head was finally noticed.

Janiece said...

I've used MS Money for years, and I use my on-line account details to "balance" my "check book" on my PC. I don't look at my monthly statements at all anymore.

Anonymous said...

I have stopped using my check book to keep balance. It's just a way to keep track of each check that I manually write out, which is few these days. Most bills are paid online and many automatically. My bank sends me a weekly balance via email and I check in at least once a week to make sure it all looks OK. (peg)