Is Balancing a Checkbook Necessary?
Do you spend a decent amount of time and energy balancing your checkbook? Or maybe you don't spend any time at all on it, and you're wondering if you should.
Here's the thing: you don’t need to balance your checkbook.
Let me explain...
Why Checkbook Balancing is Unnecessary
When my wife and I first got married, we were both in school full-time, with part-time, low-paying jobs. ‘Tis the life of college students. And when you’re married, even though you’re combining two incomes, you seem to be even poorer.
Since we married we have never, ever, worried about checkbook balancing. And we’ve never overdrafted on our account. Not once. I’m not saying this to brag. I’m just telling you how things developed. And you know why? Because we had a budget.
It’s not like we made a lot of money. When we started making “real money,” we still didn't balance our checkbook. Checkbook balancing is just not something we worry about. And those checkbook balancing programs you might see advertised? You definitely don't need those either. Don’t waste your money, and especially, don’t waste your time.
Make Your Time With Your Finances COUNT!
Not many people enjoy balancing their checkbook. However, everyone likes to have plenty of money in the bank. Nobody likes to pay overdraft charges, and everyone likes a bit of peace and assurance when it comes to personal finances.
How you spend your time in planning your finances is crucial.
Before my wife and I married, I recognized that we would need to watch our finances very, very closely. We were going into marriage in love, but broke (we’re still in love, but not broke anymore). I knew that budgeting would be the key to a successful financial situation. I also knew that budgeting would spare our marriage from plenty of stress and headaches when it came to “money discussions.”
I started putting together a system of budgeting spreadsheets to help us along. As the months progressed, we noticed little things we could do to change and tweak the program. About a year later, I realized that the tweaking was done. What we had was a unique set of inter-related spreadsheets that worked together in such a way that it enabled us to spend a minimal amount of time (1-2 hours per month) budgeting and managing our money.
That set of spreadsheets has continued to be refined over the years, eventually morphing into a full-blown software app called You Need a Budget (or YNAB for short). And, I have yet to balance the checkbook. I just don't find it necessary because I already know where every dollar has gone and where every dollar is going. The thing is, you don't need to balance your checkbook (a retroactive time-sucking activity), you need a budget (a forward-looking proactive activity).
Make the Most of Your Time
Sure, we check our balance online – which takes about thirty seconds. But we just do this to make sure the bank didn’t make any mistake with our money. Using YNAB has helped us get past so many of the mundane tasks that go along with managing money: the biggest one being balancing a checkbook. Program after program is released that supposedly make balancing your checkbook easier, but YNAB makes it unnecessary.
If you're tired of retroactively balancing your checkbook and want to start proactively managing your money, check out our Four Rules for less money stress. It might change how you manage your finances forever – and for the better.
Sign up for a free 34-day YNAB trial today and watch your former time-intensive financial knot untangle into streamlined efficiency.