4 Steps to Help the Single Girl Balance her Checkbook
How are we supposed to know how to balance our checkbook if we are never taught how to do this in school? Especially now when all of our expenses are handled online through direct deposit or the ability to deposit checks on our smartphones and we can use our debit card for just about anything and everything.
I can remember when I got my first checkbook, I was 16 and the bank teller at Wells Fargo handed me my checkbook. I just looked at it. I thought what is this paper thing I saw my mom use when she would make purchases and why would I want to carry it around? I thought to myself, I have a Checking/ATM card. I can vividly remember the first check I wrote. I was 19 years old and I was buying my first car. I paid cash for my 1999 “Green Machine” Mustang. And let me tell you it was really green. I left the Ford dealership and went to Wells Fargo to pull my checkbook out of the safety deposit. Remember, I got this checkbook when I was 16 so I decided to put it someplace safe. I looked at the checkbook and had no clue how to write a check. I had to ask the tellers how to write a check, they smiled, giggled and gladly helped me. Since then I have learned how to write a check, but I don’t write them too often and I don’t use the balance page in my checkbook.
Here are 4 steps to help you balance your checkbook without balancing your checkbook:
- Figure out your fixed expenses: Fixed expenses are expenses you know you have to pay every month. They are not going to vary from month to month. These expenses are; rent or mortgage, car payment, car insurance, cell phone, health insurance, gym memberships, personal loans, student loans or anything you know you are required to pay monthly.
- Set up autopay for your fixed expenses: Once you have determined your monthly fixed expenses enter them into a spreadsheet and add up your total monthly expenses. This is a great tool to use so you can know exactly how much each month you are spending. This also can help you look at ways to save and by looking at them in a spreadsheet it will let know if you need to allocate you monies differently. Set up the auto pay so that these expenses are all paid at the beginning of the month. Having your fixed expenses paid at the beginning of the month will give you a peace of mind.
- Export your other monthly charges into a spreadsheet: Did you know you can export your statements? You will need to log into your account and there will be an option to export your monthly charges. This is huge because it helps you look at what else you are spending. The $7.59 here for lunch and the $9.99 there for the monthly membership all add up. This way you can see your spending habits and find out if you are wasting money.
- Budget your other activities and pay cash: Now that you have your fixed expenses determined, set up auto pay and you have reviewed what you are spending on other items…budget your other activities. Look at what you have leftover to spend on, groceries, your girls night out, online shopping or on your manis and pedis. Pull out the cash you have budgeted for your extra activities. Either pull enough out for the week or for the month and use it for your extras. We have all had the thought…I will just put it on a credit card.
Photo taken by Jessica Prolux