Once upon a time there were no debit cards and they strictly spent the money in the checking account using checks, or cash. That gave them only two things they needed to keep track of in their check register.
Now we have debit cards, credit cards that are attached to checking accounts, and we have drive-thru and walk-up ATMs where we can instantly pull money from the bank. While in some respects these technological banking advances have made shopping and paying bills much easier, they’ve also made it easier to overdraft the bank account.
Here are four things you can do to keep track of your spending and make sure you don’t bounce any checks or end up oweing your bank money for an overdraft.
Keep Your Check Register Up-To-Date
Whether you write a check or use your debit card, be sure to subtract what you spent from your check register. If you’re on the go most of time and don’t want to do it right in the moment get accustomed to getting receipts everywhere you go so at the end of the day you can go back through and tally it all up.
If you are making big purchases and know you don’t have big money in the bank you may want to keep it tallied or you will end up on trouble and have a negative register at the end of the day.
Use Your Bank’s Website
These days all banks and credit unions have online systems where you can sign in and check what payments and deposits have cleared and make sure your balance is what you think it is. If you have internet capabilities it just makes sense to use this service.
If you have automatic payments this service is really important as a way to remind yourself when these payments have come out. It can also help you catch fraudulent charges sooner.
Download Your Bank’s App
It’s almost just as likely that your bank has an app you can use on your smartphone, although it’s less likely for everyone to have a smartphone. If you do have one, use it.
You might even be able to set up notifications from your bank with different reminders and to let you know what your bank total is while you are out on the go. It’s also a good way to keep track in case you forgot your bank register booklet.
Use Your Bank’s Automated Phone System
If you don’t use the internet or smartphones, you can still use the automated phone line your bank has to check recent deposits and withdrawals, as well as your bank total.
If you’re one of the few without a smartphone it’s pretty likely you have an analog phone you can use to contact your bank and make sure you have the right amount written down.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your money and your bank account. Take time at least once a week, if not more often, to check your bank register against the info the bank has so you can assure your account is safe.