3.29.2021

First checking account? Always know exactly how much is in your account - easy when you keep a check register! (How to fill out a check register! Great for teens and young people to learn).

Having raised three kids, I am always in "Mom" mode.  Sometimes when I'm teaching my own kids (young adults now) something I think about how many young people 'out there' were never taught simple, basic things and are struggling.

Another topic (on topic but veering off topic) is I have a soft spot especially for kids in the foster system who 'age out' and are suddenly out on their own with no one to be that 'parent' figure to go to with questions about things they have to deal with when adulting.

Yesterday morning I was paying a couple bills online and as I always keep a precise checkbook as my backup to always (always always always) know exactly what bills are paid, how much is in my checking account and an updated balance at all times; I again thought of all the teens and young people in their 20's that may be having to open a checking account or even writing 'paper checks' for the few things in life left that you need an actual paper payment for.  I know many young people go through the hassle of having to do a money order if that is needed;  which is a complete waste of time and extra money as you have to go to the post office or bank to get a money order, and you have to pay extra fees.

When you open your first checking account - GET ONE PACK OF CHECKS.  Banks used to give you your first set free, but most stopped that practice.  (Heck, banks used to give out free appliances for opening your accounts. No lie..  You opened an account and got to choose a 'gift' like a toaster, a blender, a knife set, etc.)  Now you can't even get a free little starter packet of checks!

So order 1 packet of checks, even if you think you'll always only need your debit card.  Tuck the checks away where you won't lose them.  When you start doing some adulting and you suddenly need a paper copy of a payment for many various possible reasons, they will come in handy.  

 

But this post is actually about your checkbook register!  (Yeah, I'm finally getting to the point!  Oops!).

A check register is great even when you don't write checks and you only use your debit card.  Most teens and young people and even many adults *only* keep track on their phone apps or computer.  But electronic systems go down all the time.  Phones lose coverage.  Phone batteries die.  Banks and computers have 'glitches' or sites are down for maintenance.  Yada yada yada.

I have been 'saved' by having paper copies of various things over the past 15 years when the rest of the world goes completely digital and because I've had my own butt saved too many times to count, I am never without access to my check register and can tell you exactly and precise in just seconds, WHAT has been paid, WHEN it was paid, HOW it was paid, WHEN it cleared my bank and what my BALANCE is.  

At all times.

The thing is, it's easy.  Really.  

I keep my register in my purse/billfold.  When I pull out my debit card to scan or swipe, I simply scribble in the name of the store and the amount I'm paying.  If I'm waiting around in line and have time, I'll go ahead and fill in the rest of the blanks like the date and how I'm paying (debit, check, app, scan, etc.).

CHECK REGISTERS ARE FREE FROM YOUR BANK.

This is basically what they all look like, with a few minor changes depending on the company they use to print them. 

This is my own system that I have used forever and it works great for me.  Change little things here and there if you wish to do what works best and makes sense for you.

Basically.....

First column:  Debit card?  Check number?  A deposit?  A fund transfer?  Scan & Go App?
Second column:  The date I'm buying it or paying for it.
Third column:  The name of the store or website OR if it's a deposit - where is the money coming from?
Third line is typically marked 'withdrawl'  on your register.  It's where you write in the amount spent.
Fourth is a tiny little box that used to be marked 'fees' but I use it for the DATE THE CHECK CLEARED MY BANK.  Example - you pay your online bill on 4/3 but it doesn't clear your bank account until 4/7. 
Fifth column:  Deposits.  Withdraws are money going OUT of your account and deposits are the money going IN to your account (payday, fund transfers, refunds, interest, etc.)
Sixth column:  Your running total.  Always add or subtract the amounts as you go and you will always always always know precisely how much money you have in your account at all times.  Down to the penny.


 

 

Hope that helps!!!

 

 

 

 

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