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Do You Still Balance Your Checkbook? Our Team is Speaking Out!

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hand writing on blank checkbook

Do people really still balance their checkbooks?

We live in a fast-paced world of using chips on cards for almost all our purchases. The question we’re wondering is if the dreaded task of balancing a checkbook with pen and paper has gone the way of cursive writing and stick shifts?

I’m sharing some interesting facts on checkbooks and sharing what our team has to say about whether they still balance their checkbooks! (We also want to know what you think!)

Hip Tip: Running low on checks? Score a single box of custom bank checks from Checks Unlimited for just $6.99 shipped + free address labels!


Why do people still write checks?

woman handing cashier a personal check

Checks are a trusted, paper form of payment made out to a specific person or business that’s directly linked to your bank account. Not only have they been around for more than a century, but some people still prefer to have an official paper form of payment for their records so they can discover and adjust mistakes more quickly. Checking ledgers can also help you know how much is in each of your accounts (which can ultimately save you from low balances and costly overdraft fees).

Between you, retailers, general fraud, or even your bank, mistakes are still made, even in the age of electronic payments and records. Keeping track will help you know if something went wrong.

Did You Know: According to Checks Unlimited, 1.2 million fraudulent checks are written each day. 😱


Here’s how our team feels about balancing their checkbooks:

Here’s why team members DON’T physically balance their checkbook: 

gift guide for women her — expandable wallet with space for numerous credit cards

“I do NOT balance my checkbook. I always stuck to my Dad’s mantra – and while it won’t work for everyone, it has for me: Never spend more money than you have.” – Jamie

“I do all my banking online. It seems a ton easier. I do keep a small list of the checks I write (and their numbers when I do have to write a check), so I know what to keep a lookout for when it clears online.” – Amber S.

“We write maybe one paper check a month, so no. Everything is autopay. If we do write a check, it’s easy to see if it clears online.” – Lina

“I write one check a month for rent, and all other bills are handled online, so I don’t bother balancing a checkbook. However, I do monitor all my transactions online since so much of my spending is on my rewards credit card – just so I can catch something if a payment or account balance looks off.” – Emily 

“I don’t – our water bill is the only thing that requires an actual check and it’s paid 4 times a year. I pay all of my bills at one time, and everything is charged to a credit card, so most everything is done online.” – Chelsey

“I don’t balance my checkbook, however, my husband keeps track on an app on his phone daily, and we are always in communication what all balances are at for our checking and savings accounts. This helps us stay on track with the budget we set and what we save each pay period. Even though we don’t write it down, we still keep track!” – Sara

“What does balancing a checkbook even mean? (insert sarcasm) I have an app for that!” – Tiffany

“We do all of our banking online. We only use checks in very rare circumstances which may just be the water bill. We have all of our monthly bills set up for auto-pay, but I do check my balance/bank account every day with their app just to make sure nothing is getting taken out that shouldn’t be. It’s not the perfect system, but it works for now.” – Jessica

“I bank online for everything. If I do write a check, it’s rare. I’ll write the # of the check, what it’s for, and the amount/date on the back part of the check pad. Then I’ll wait until the check clears and will put a line through the item on the check pad.” – Irene

“I have not balanced my checkbook in at least 3 years. The only time I ever find myself writing checks are to my kiddos’ schools (for field trips, party expenses, etc.), when I am making a big purchase that I want a record of (like buying a car or an item off of Craigslist) and sometimes to reimburse a friend/family member for something (but 99% of the time, I would prefer to give cash or use PayPal). I also try to use my bank’s online bill pay option whenever possible! Since I do not balance my checkbook, I just try to ensure my checking account always has enough “cushion” to cover the checks that I have written recently. This is definitely not a great habit as it can lead to overdraws and penalties if one is not careful or if you forget about a check that was written. But for the most part, it works for me!” – Bryn 

“I don’t balance my checkbook the old fashioned way, but I do check my account pretty regularly. My husband and I each look over our online transactions at least twice a week to make sure that the amounts and charges look accurate. We don’t compare receipts to posted amounts, but just make sure everything looks inline with what we know we’ve charged. To be honest, we could be a bit more diligent, but what we do works for us. I rarely write checks anymore, so when I do it’s easy to just quickly check that the amounts look correct since there are only 3 or 4 checks coming through each month.” – Michelle 

“I use a checkbook app to keep track of all my purchases.” – Jessica C.

“I have not balanced my checkbook in years due to only writing around one to two checks per month. I do look at my credit card statement on a weekly basis for errors, fraud, and subscriptions that I may want to cancel (I tend to sign up for those often due to Hip2Save deals! 😬).” – Collin

“We use checks fairly often because of homeschool field trips, but I never balance my checkbook. I do have a cushion, and I also have my bank set up to send me an alert if my account dips below $200, so I can move money over from savings if needed. I keep track of my spending with my credit union’s app and the Clarity app. Both of those allow me to have a pretty clear daily snapshot of account balances and spending.” – Stacy


Here’s why one team member DOES balance her checkbook: 

purple and orange checkbooks cover with pen

“I’m old school and always balance my checkbook and reconcile it weekly against my online transactions. I tried doing everything I do on paper in a program like Quicken, but I didn’t like it. I like a pencil in hand and writing things down as I think. It helps me remember and stay on track. I don’t write many actual checks, but I do balance out other transactions. The original checkbooks don’t have enough room, so I keep a notebook with my running totals. In the back of my notebook, I keep my budget and bill due dates even the electronic/automatic ones. All automatic bills I look at the details each month (e.g. electric) to make sure we are staying within budget and the company hasn’t made a mistake. I think it’s too easy to have things taken out of an account and miss important mistakes or billing errors.” – Jennifer

But enough about us! What do you think?


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Join The Discussion

Comments 100

  1. Jenny

    I balance to the penny each month, and I found a bank error again about four months ago. We have far too much money in that account for me to just trust that someone else will always keep track of it.

  2. april

    I guess I do both? I don’t write checks anymore, but I use my checkbook register to keep track of my debit card purchases. I write a transaction down and then throw out the receipt, and anything I might have missed gets jotted down when I reconcile the statement. I get the statement online and check my balance as I need to. I use Mint to keep certain things on budget. I honestly don’t think I need to use the checkbook register anymore… It’s really redundant. But I do it anyway because I always have… and I guess in a way it helps me keep track. Swiping the card and getting a shiny new thing is so instant. Sitting and writing it down and physically calculating all of my disappearing money is just more painful! 😅 haha I don’t know. But it works for me so I guess I’ll just keep on doing it.

    • RALYNE EICHNER

      I am very much like you April, I use the checkbook ledger to write each purchase, online bill payment, or transaction. I only write one or two checks a month, but because I only get paid once a month, and not everything comes out at one time during the month, I check it against my online banking every couple of days. This way I know daily exactly how much I have to play with after all the bills and household expenses are paid. With that said, I balance my ledger against my online banking about every two weeks or so. I typically catch two or three of my own math errors per year, and this keeps me on my toes!!

  3. Laura villotta

    Never in my life have I balanced any checkbook. I know how much I have to spend every month. I do everything online. Or I use my SW CC for all purchases and pay it off every month.

  4. Gina G.

    I manually pay my bills online but I definitely DO balance our checkbook at least once or twice a week!

  5. Laura Franks

    All these answers seem reasonable to me! There isn’t a ‘one-size fits all’ approach to finances, is there? In this day and age of digital everything, it’s easy to use the ‘quick glance’ method of assuring yourself the account’s “OK.” Time is our most precious commodity, and if you accept the possible consequence of non-reconciliation, it may indeed cost you a bit. How much is your time worth? No matter how you reconcile, pencil or software, reconciliation of a financial account gives you a full, clear status of an account. You can see what payments have or have not cleared the bank in addition to who has or hasn’t cashed that birthday paper check. (*hum….) Yes, I realize I’m probably dating myself, but I believe we all have to be more vigilant about our finances, on and off-line. We do ourselves and our tax preparers a favor when we verify which transactions are truly cleared and are therefore deductible.

  6. NurseMom

    I balance mine with every purchase I make. As a single mom on a tight budget I have to know where every penny is going. I write checks for my rent and for all school related needs for my kidos. 👍🏼.

  7. Kendra

    A few years ago, I transferred my check register into an excel spreadsheet. I now balance my checkbook on there. I am able to download the transactions from my bank and then add in any checks I write. I also have created tabs to maintain my budget and online accounts. Very handy and quick!

  8. Megan

    Nope! I use YNAB (You Need a Budget) to basically reconcile all transactions, not just checks. Makes it so easy to keep track of where every penny is going.

  9. GM

    As a bank teller for many years I would have to say ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS balance your checkbook. For one thing banks aren’t infallible and could make a mistake and if you don’t balance your checkbook you would never know. Stores could also process your purchases incorrectly and you could be charged the wrong amount, double charged etc and you would never know. And if you don’t balance your checkbook and don’t discover the errors within a certain timeframe then you can forget having them fixed if and when you do discover them. You are only allowed 30-90 days to report an error…after that you take the loss. So YES always balance your checkbook.

    • Rosalie

      100%

  10. bmiles

    I balance my account every month. Even though I don’t write many checks, I am still taking money out of my account. Why wouldn’t you want to keep track of all those details? Everyone should know what is in their account at all times. Keeping a running register is how you do that.

  11. Kristin

    Good Budget app! I balance it weekly to ensure it matches my bank account exactly! It also links to my husbands phone so we both know who spends what and how much is left!

  12. Karen

    I keep track of everything in my checkbook register even if I only write 5 checks a month. I run as much as I can through my Costco credit card that earns me money but I write all that down and it’s paid every week. We have been on the other side where we didn’t keep track and we were over charged, charged twice etc. I know weekly what is going on. I also keep all my receipts for the year😉

  13. Lisa

    Since our house payment requires a cashiers check I don’t even order or use checks anymore. I probably haven’t used one in 10 years.

  14. Mona

    I am 78 and only write one check a month for my yard guy — everything else on line. My older friends question the safety of online banking but I like the instant receipts that are emailed to you immediately after payment.

  15. Sylvia

    I balance my checkbook to the penny every month. I always have and always will. I don’t write that many checks but do record my debit card amount on the check register each time I use it. How else would you know the exact amount you have in there. If you check online,
    there could be purchases that haven’t cleared yet. Banks are not mistake proof. I have actually found mistakes on my statement and had to go straighten it out. When dealing with my checking account, I can’t afford to have mistakes made.

  16. Rosalie

    I balance my checkbook/bank account to the penny about once a week. I do not understand how people know how much money they “have” if they don’t do this. NO, I do not write very many physical checks, but I record all of my debit card transactions. I found (on Amazon) the Supreme Check & Debit Register that lasts us about 1.5 years and is worth every penny. We don’t have any credit cards and share one bank account with my husband. Balancing allows me to write down each transaction and then I can see when we have charges that are fraudulent/don’t make sense/are a different amount than I authorized. This doesn’t happen frequently, but DOES happen and people are definitely losing money from it. I would highly recommend it to EVERYONE – it doesn’t take long and the peace of mind is worth every penny!!

  17. BrBa

    Totally unrelated to the post but I just had to ask- what shade of nail polish is the person in the first pic on this post wearing? I LOVE it! <3

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for asking! I’m loving those nails too! While we don’t know the exact color or style, those are Color Street nail wraps. Hope that helps!

  18. Blessed

    I balance my checkbook including checks and debit use. I also check my account online.

  19. MEB

    YES!! To the penny…daily. I went to buy transaction registers and the kid took me to the calculator rolls! lmaooo. I don’t write checks anymore, but maybe I will start for fun! HA! ALWAYS KNOW YOUR MONEY! ❤❤❤

  20. Cassie

    I balance mine every week! I do 95% of my bills online but I do write 1-3 checks a month(school field trips, rent, and those few accounts I can’t figure out how to log in to) and this gives me a great visual to see what I have and where it goes. I’m old school and my kids are learning the same way I did, to reconcile a checkbook!

  21. heather

    I balance by my online transactions and write down everything. It matches to the penny. I don’t look at my paper statement. After working at a bank and seeing people repeatedly bouncing checks and having fees because they didn’t write anything down, I refuse to be that person.

  22. Rhonda

    Always! On to different occasions I found mistakes the bank made. Once they paid over 1500.00 out for someone else’s bills.

  23. MamaBug

    I balance using Microsoft Money. We’ve used it since 1995. The Sunset edition is free.

  24. Emily Whitwam

    The fudget app is the best for budgeting!!!!

  25. muquee

    Yes, I old school balance our Checkbook and Savings account ledger.

  26. Amy

    I write down every DEBIT Card charge, atm withdrawal, and check written in my physical ledger. I check it with my online bank weekly. I need to keep track of what was spent by myself or my spouse and make sure neither of us swipes one too many times.

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