Keeping Track of Your Account
As you write checks or make deposits, keep track of the amount of money remaining in your account. Your bank or financial institution will send you a monthly statement or list of the various withdrawals and deposits made on your account. If you have an ATM card, you can also access this type of information at an ATM. You can also access your account status at any time if you bank online.
To keep a current record of your checking account, use your check register. This tool usually comes with your checkbook.
When your bank statement arrives, compare it with your check register. Balance or reconcile your account by figuring out the amount of money you deposited, the amount you spent and the amount you have left. Basic accounting software such as Microsoft Money or Quicken can also help you balance your checkbook.
Avoid Writing Bad Checks
Don't write checks if you don't have enough money in your account because the consequences can be damaging:
- Your bank and the business you wrote the check to may each charge you a fee of about $25.
- You may be placed on a bad check list and businesses may refuse to accept your checks.
- Your bank may close your account and other banks may be alerted.
- You could face criminal charges if authorities can prove criminal intent.