Excerpt from Dollars & Sense
Balancing Your Checkbook
The first step to getting control is finding out where you are financially right now, and that means doing something approximately half of us don't do — balancing your checkbook. Keeping up with the amount of money in your checking account serves two main purposes:
- Holding your spending in check by showing how much money you have (or don't have).
- Saving on bank fees from overdrafts or too-low account balances.
If you have never balanced your checkbook before, dealing with all those numbers can seem scary. It may help to remember that you deal with numbers every day: scoops of formula and ounces of water, price per pound of meat at the grocery, and amounts of ingredients for a recipe. In fact, balancing your checkbook can be just like following a recipe. Knowing how much money you have available is the first step in making good choices about how much you spend.