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How To Balance A Checkbook

1. Match Your Checks
Looking at your bank statement you will see cleared checks listed in numerical order. To determine which checks haven't cleared, mark off each check that appears on your bank statement in your checkbook register. Make sure the amount written in the checkbook register is the amount showing on the bank statement.

2. Match Your Deposits
Make sure each deposit shown on your bank statement is recorded in your check register, especially if you have direct deposit. Go through your deposit slips, paycheck stubs, etc., and make sure the bank statement shows all the deposits you made. Check off each deposit in your check register as you did for your checks.

3. Match Your ATM Withdrawals and Debit Card Purchases
Go through the same process with your ATM withdrawals or debit card purchases, checking off each transaction on the bank statement in your check register. If the bank statement shows transactions that are not included in your checkbook register, record them in your checkbook register.

4. Record Dividends and Fees
Check your bank statement for any other fees you may have been charged and record them in your checkbook register. Also record any dividends you earned from your bank statement in your checkbook register.

5. List Outstanding Checks *Checks that are not on your bank statement
Now go through your checkbook register and in column two of the Balancing Form list your outstanding checks (the checks that you did not check off in your checkbook register as having cleared the bank), as well as any outstanding debit purchases or ATM withdrawals that have not yet cleared the bank. Now, total column two, which is your outstanding checks.

6. List Outstanding Deposits *Deposits you have made that are not on bank statement
Go through your checkbook register and in column one of the Balancing Form list the outstanding deposits (the deposits that you did not check off in your check register as having cleared the bank). Total column one, which is your outstanding deposits.

7. Record Your Ending Balance
On line one of the bottom section of the Balancing Form, enter the ending balance shown on your bank statement.

8. Enter Outstanding Deposits
On line two of the bottom section of the Balancing Form, enter the total outstanding deposits from column one.

9. Enter Outstanding Checks
On line three of the bottom section of the Balancing Form, enter the total outstanding checks from column two.

10. Calculate Your Balance
Total lines one through three, as indicated by the plus and minus signs on the form, and enter the new total on line four. This should equal the balance shown in your checkbook register. If it doesn't, check for math errors in your checkbook register, such as reversed numbers (e.g., $53 instead of $35), subtracting a deposit instead of adding it, adding a check instead of subtracting it, automatic payments that you forgot to record, etc.

Checkbook Register

Date Num Payee/Transaction Description Category Withdrawal,
Payment (-)
Deposit,
Credit (+)
Balance
4/05/11   Beginning Balance       546.00
4/05/11 DEP Direct Deposit from Employer Wages & Tips   1,000.00 1,546.00
4/06/11 EFT Car Payment Auto 115.20   1,430.80
4/06/11 2032 Joe's Food Mart Groceries 87.34   1,343.46
4/07/11 TXFR Transfer to Savings Account Transfer 100.00   1,243.46
4/07/11 ATM ATM Withdrawal Cash 50.00   1,193.46
4/07/11 ACH Insurance Payment Insurance 25.00   1,168.46
4/07/11 DEP Dividends Dividends   0.03 1,168.49
4/07/11 FEE Monthly Service Charge Fee 2.00   1,166.49
4/07/11 DEBIT GAS Station GAS 10.00   1,156.49
4/07/11 2033 Fundraiser Donation 10.00   1,146.49
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