Do You Still Balance Your Checkbook?

In this day of electronic financial transactions, the paper check is going the way of the dodo bird: extinct.

Sure, we all write a check now and then, for those few places or people who don’t accept payment electronically. For us, checks go to the town for the quarterly water bill, or to a medical professional when we don’t want to pay with a credit card.

But what about the check register? What are we doing with those?

I’ve always been the period who dutifully collected receipts and entered them into my checkbook as necessary — sometimes daily, but more often, once a week. Anytime I’ve had a bill online or had an automatic deduction coming up, I’ve noted it in my checkbook.

Now that I have a smartphone, I have my handy-dandy Mint app. And I don’t feel the need to put everything into a checkbook register, since most deductions happen automatically (or within a day or two). But what happens when I schedule bills to be paid online ahead of time? If I have 5-6 things scheduled, such as the mortgage payment, utility bills and car payment, what happens? In the end, I want to know what our account balance will be AFTER the online bill payment goes through. I want to make sure I don’t have a low balance.

Is there a way to stop balancing your checkbook in this case? It doesn’t seem possible. Anyone have a solution? Is there an app for that?

7 comments to Do You Still Balance Your Checkbook?

  • I admit it, I still balance my check book. I do not wait for the statement and I use the electronic register online to assist me. I still record all my checks, online checks, deposits etc in the ledger. I know I must be a dinosaur!

    • Nicole

      Krantcents: My bank doesn’t even mail statements anymore! And it’s a small community bank. I’m still recording everything, too.

  • One area where NZ is definitely ahead is electronic payments! I have never owned a chequebook and don’t know anyone else my age who owns one. There just isn’t any need. I have one freelance gig that pays by cheque, which sucks because I have to physically go in and deposit it then wait 3-5 days for it to clear (not to mention they are sent from overseas so take forever to arrive in the first place).

    • Nicole

      eemusings: I don’t use too many checks, either, and have direct deposit for my paycheck. But how do you keep track of deposits/bill payments/purchases without a ledger of some sort? Are you afraid you’ll overdraw your account based on when payments/withdrawals clear?

  • I don’t use the paper register anymore, but I keep an Excel spreadsheet with the running balance for both my business and personal accounts. If you find a better solution, I’m all ears!

  • I log in to my online banking center every day, and match up the total to the tracking tab I have in my finance spreadsheet. I think this is pretty much the same thing as balancing a checkbook here in the digital age.

    • Nicole

      @Money Beagle: That makes sense, but what do you do when you schedule payments ahead of time? How do you account for those when the money is still in your account? This is my dilemma when I think I’m ready to stop tabulating on paper.

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