How to Balance Your Checkbook: Step-by-Step Instructions
Information from James Myers, Director of Student Business Services
1. Balancing your checkbook verifies that your records match the bank's records.
2. Banks CAN make mistakes, but even more likely is that you'll make a math error in your checkbook
3. If you make a mistake or forget to post a transaction in your register, you may start bouncing checks and
incurring fees of $25 or more.
4. If there's a problem, you won't need to wade through months of transactions to figure it out.
1. Reconcile Your Checks
Determine if there are checks that haven't cleared the bank. Sort your cancelled checks in check number
order, or use the listing of your cleared checks in numerical order shown on your statement. In your
checkbook register, check off each cancelled check returned to you or each check that appears on the
check listing, making sure the amount you recorded is the amount the bank shows.
2. Reconcile Your Deposits
Make sure each deposit shown on your bank statement is recorded in your check register (especially if
you have direct deposit, which you can easily forget to record). Also, go through your deposit slips,
paycheck stubs, etc., and make sure the bank statement shows all the deposits you made. Check off the
deposits in your check register as you did for checks.
3. Reconcile Your ATM Withdrawals and Debit Card Purchases
Go through the same process with your ATM withdrawals or debit card purchases, checking off each
transaction on the bank statement in your check register. If the bank shows transactions that aren't
included in your check register, record them now.
4. Record Interest Earned and Bank Fees
Check your bank statement for any other fees and record them in your checkbook register. Also record
any interest earned in your checkbook register.
5. List Outstanding Checks
Now go through your checkbook register and in column two of the balancing form list your outstanding
checks (the checks t