Money Poll #10: Checkbook Balancing

Another week, another money poll… On the heels of the retirement savings rate poll, this week’s poll focuses on checkbook balancing. This is something that I’ve written about previously, and I’d like to find out how y’all do it. Thus, the question of the week is “Do you balance your checkbook?” As it turns out, I’m a total perfectionist, which translates into being an obsessive-compulsive checkbook balancer. It’s sort of pathetic, but I’ll spend hours tracking down a tiny discrepancy. I have perfectly balanced check registers (as well as that Quicken files to go along with them) dating back at least to January 1st 1997. Actually, our check registers were balanced prior to that, but I didn’t start using Quicken until ’97. With that said, let’s get to the poll…


12 Responses to “Money Poll #10: Checkbook Balancing”

  1. Anonymous

    My dad was an accountant and so at an early age I learned to balance my checkbook. Within a few years of college graduation I realized that even if I figured $5/hour for reconciling my checking account, it was costing me more than I would ever recover for errors. I determined then and there not to worry ever again about finding a penny error. I don’t even keep a balance other than what the bank tells me I have. I figure there computers can do the work better than I can. I admit that I do a resonablness check in my head every month or two, but the odds that they are wrong is infintessimle small.

  2. Anonymous

    Back when I used checks, I would balance it every week. But since I do 99.99% of all my transactions online, I really don’t see the need. I suppose having a hard copy is good to have in case of errors, but it doesn’t seem worth it to replicate by hand something that is already updated automatically, in real time.

  3. Anonymous

    Well, I balance my credit card statements and everything as I go along as well. I track every penny that goes into or out of my house. Well, most of them; I haven’t gotten my soon to be wife completely integrated yet. Mostly, though.

  4. Anonymous

    I was really lazy at doing my balance, now when i write a check i take away an extra $5 (i.e. $100 i will debit 105$), that way i am covered and socking away extra savings.

  5. Anonymous

    Believe it or not but I’ve stopped using checks last November and am completely using online banking and bill pay services. I was to the nickle before then.

  6. Anonymous

    With all the electronic stuff these days, it’s pretty easy to balance things. I guess it’s more a question of tracking all those line items in your checking accnt statement as they occur and then later verifying them, right?

  7. Anonymous

    Well, that’s how I am, Sean. I consider “balancing” when I reconcile the statement to what I think I have. I always think I have less than I do, since my bank account doesn’t take into account money I’ve already earmarked for something but haven’t actually paid yet.

  8. Anonymous

    I don’t do any balancing, because I know precisely what’s in our checking account. To the penny. Every day.

    When I get my statement, sure, I’ll reconcile it to make sure there wasn’t a bank or fat finger error, which has been known to happen every now and then. But I can’t imagine not knowing what was in our checking account – seems a sure way to get into trouble to me…

  9. Anonymous

    I usually balance to the penny, but I will eventually give up and put in a “balance adjustment” after a half-hour or so.

  10. Anonymous

    Yes, my checkbook is balanced to the penny, almost daily in Quicken. However, I don’t take credit for it. My wife does that. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. Never underestimate the power of having a spouse who shares your financial goals.

  11. Anonymous

    Oh yeah, I always need to know where every penny went. I even have a category in my finance software, “rat bastages overcharged me”.

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