3 Reasons to Manually Balance Your Checkbook

In an era of online banking and email statements, it’s probably been a pretty long time since you manually balanced your checkbook. However, the truth is that if you’re relying on your online banking system to keep an immediately up-to-date record of your transactions, you might be putting yourself at risk of an overdraft fee or an overlooked instance of fraud.

Let’s take a look at these three good reasons to begin manually keeping track of your finances.

  • Balancing your checkbook helps you keep better track of your spending. Online banking systems are very convenient, allowing you to check your balance whenever you need to. However, online systems still have limitations, and you’ll often see a delay from the time you make a purchase to the time when your purchase is posted to your account. This can leave you with an overdraft fee when all of your pending charges reach your account at once. In fact, the FDIC found that in 2019 alone, Americans owed over $11 billion in overdraft fees.
  • Manually balancing your checkbook helps you catch fraud faster. If you use your credit or debit card for most of your transactions, it’s normal for small purchases to get lost in the shuffle. When you keep a manual record of everything you’re spending and the total amount of money coming in, you can quickly compare it to your online balance—and catch fraudulent transactions fast.
  • Balancing your checkbook helps you budget better. Do you know how much money you spent on restaurants last month? What about clothing or ridesharing apps? If you don’t keep a manual record of what you’re spending, it can be easy to lose track of your finances. When you write down everything that you spend, you can better control your spending by understanding where your money is going.

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