In an age where you can digitally check your bank balances online and on your phone, is there still a need to write everything down in your checkbook and cross check the bank’s statement with your own records to make sure it is balanced? Do you need a running total that a properly filled out checkbook provides?
For about 17 years, I have always been the one to pay the bills and almost every month (with a few exceptions like after a baby came or our move here) took pen in hand and cross checked the bank statement with the checkbook and made sure everything was accounted for and balanced. (It often wasn’t but I did make the effort to sort it out and get us back on track.)
Last fall when I started teaching at the college, I asked Michael to take over paying the bills and in theory balancing the checkbook, which he did.
We’ve paid most of our bills online for years but he told me was going to switch our accounting to an online format as well and that it would in fact balance our checkbook for us.
So now I am ready to take the duties back over, but he hasn’t written any of the transactions down in the checkbook or online. His decided along the way that if all the transactions are listed in the online bill pay why do we need to write it all again?
So I guess to balance the account, you could once a month print out your bill pay list and cross check the bank’s statement (digital or paper) against the checkbook and the printed out bill pay list.
But you still don’t have an accurate running total to know where you stand during the month. If you wanted to take out money and make sure you didn’t screw up on a bill that would be coming out later that week you would have to subtract the total of outgoing bills each time.
I would love to feel good about not having to balance a checkbook and that there would be no bad repercussions from it but I literally feel guilty for not doing it. It weighs on me.
So I can’t decide if I am just being my old-school accountant mother and this ‘method’ of just looking at your totals is 21st-century legit?
So what does your family do? Are you still sitting down each month with pen and paper to cross reference and check off debits, checks and deposits? Or are you just looking at totals online and estimating? Do you worry about the bank making mistakes or overdrawing?