Balancing a checkbook lesson: Overview

Looking for a quick and easy balancing a checkbook lesson? Follow these steps.

When balancing a checkbook, you’ll need:

  • your check register book
  • your most recent bank statement
  • a pencil with an eraser

First, compare all of the deposits in your check register book against the deposits on your bank statement.

A deposit could be from money and checks that you’ve deposited; direct deposits; interest deposits; and the like.

Each time that you have a match, put a check mark in the appropriate column in your check book and next to the entry on your statement.

What if something doesn’t match?

If a deposit is on your statement but not in your register, add the deposit to your register and put a checkmark in the appropriate column in your register and next to the entry on your statement.

If a deposit is in your register but not your statement, check the date on the deposit. If:

  • The date of the deposit is AFTER the closing date of your statement, then it should appear in next month’s statement.
  • The date of the deposit is BEFORE the closing date of your statement, contact your bank immediately to let them know of the discrepancy.

Compare all checks, withdrawals and bank charges on your check register book against checks, withdrawals and charges on your bank statement.

Each time that you have a match, put a check mark in the appropriate column in your check book and next to the entry on your statement.

What if something doesn’t match?

If a withdrawal is on your statement but not your check register, add the withdrawal to your register and put a checkmark in the appropriate column in your register and next to the entry on your statement.

If a withdrawal is in your register but not on your statement, check the date on the withdrawal. If:

  • The date of the check, withdrawal or charge is AFTER the closing date of your statement, then it should appear in next month’s statement.
  • The date of the check, withdrawal or charge is BEFORE the closing date of your statement, then that check, withdrawal or charge has not cleared the bank. (Note: this would be an unusual circumstance with a bank charge.)

At this point, everything from your statement should be in your register – but you’ll probably have items in your register that are not in this statement.

Now, take the final balance from your bank statement. Add in any deposits and subtract any withdrawals that occurred after the statement date.

At this point, your bank statement balance and your check register balance should equal. If not, determine the difference; this is how much your balance is “off.”

Begin looking for mathematical errors and for any transpositions you (or, less commonly, your bank) may have made. It is less common for the bank to make transposition errors because multiple departments double-check dollar amounts of checks. After correcting these errors, your account should balance.

Find a more in-depth balancing a checkbook lesson here from MP Star Financial.

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