Balance Your Checkbook

  • Compare your monthly statement with your checkbook register.
  • Check off each item in your register that appears on your statement to be certain you’ve included everything you should have in your checkbook register.
  • If some items appear on your statement but not in your register, compare the check numbers listed in your statement to the check numbers in your register. Did you skip a check number in your register or forget to record a check? If it’s an ATM or check (debit) card transaction, check your receipts to see if you made a purchase or cash withdrawal at an ATM but forgot to record it. If you can’t figure out why the transaction is on your statement after you’ve taken these steps, call your bank and ask for help.
  • Update your checkbook register based on your statement.
  • When you’re finished, your register should list all withdrawals, deposits, charges and fees found on your statement. Recalculate your balance to find the adjusted checkbook balance.
  • You’re ready to go back through your register and add together all the deposits that you’ve entered in your register but don’t appear on your statement. These are your outstanding deposits.
  • Then add together all of the withdrawals (including ATM charges) in your register that do not appear on your statement. These are your outstanding withdrawals.
  • From the front of your monthly bank statement, write down your ending balance.
  • Add your outstanding deposits to your ending balance.
  • Subtract from this subtotal your outstanding withdrawals.
  • This amount is your adjusted statement balance. It should equal the adjusted checkbook balance you computed in your checkbook register. If they are the same, your checkbook register is balanced.

When Your Checkbook Register Does Not Balance

  • Check your math for simple errors.
  • Check your register to see if all the checks you’ve entered are exactly the same amount as the numbered checks in your statement. (Sometimes, you enter a check amount well after you wrote it and the amount may be off.)
  • If your adjusted bank statement balance is greater than your adjusted checkbook balance, make sure you did not check off a withdrawal in your register that has now shown up on this or even a previous statement and is being carried forward as an outstanding withdrawal. Also be sure you did not add a deposit in your register that is listed on this or a previous statement. Finally, check to make sure you did not subtract a deposit instead of adding it.

If Your Adjusted Checkbook Balance is Greater Than Your Bank Statement Balance, You Probably:

  • Do not have all the withdrawals, charges and fees indicated on this or a previous statement recorded in your checkbook register.
  • Have checked off a withdrawal that’s not listed on the statement, and as a result, have not included it in your outstanding withdrawals.
  • Have listed a deposit as an outstanding deposit when it has already been listed on this or a previous statement.

If you still can’t get the account to balance, call your bank and ask for help in spotting the error to get your account in balance.

MORE INFORMATION

Opening a checking account

Using your checking account

How to write a check

Accessing your money

Keep track of your money

Your monthly bank statement

Balance your checkbook

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