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Here's a simple way to, sort of, "hide" money from yourself in your checkbook. It's like a secret savings that you know is there, but you don't spend it. So, you simply take the amount you're going to subtract out and round up to the next closest dollar or add on a few extra dollars.
For example: your checking account entry might look like this:
But you actually enter $17.00 or $20.00, which would make your hidden savings .48 cents or $3.48.
You get the idea, just "hide" a bit with each and every checking/debit account transaction. You can also enter the correct amount in the description area and have a running balance *the real one* so you know it, like you normally would. Just an idea you can use to save a little money, it adds up! I can do a diagram if need be.
Source: My sister told me about it and I adapted it for myself.
By Elizabeth from Los Banos, CA
In today's world of electronic payments, it's easy to forget to record a purchase after you slide your card. I have found whether I have time at the check out counter, or if I record a purchase later in the car or at home, my check book transaction register is still a great tool for bookkeeping. I just didn't find the 'normal' method of recording transactions worked well for me. Here is what I now use and find it a great way to keep track of expenditures. It takes just a moment to set up each month and is invaluable when I inevitably need to look up any old payments.
I use three different colored 'post it notes' small tabs on my check register pages to mark three separate pages:
On the first page of my register, I record our weekly paychecks, when they came in and how much. On the same page, I also record our tithe, when it was paid, how it was paid (check or debit card) and how much.
On page two (easy to find with the colored tab), I list our monthly bills, such as electric, insurance, mortagage, etc. these are all paid electronically by our bank, so I note the amount to be paid and when the bank will disburse the funds.
On the third page, I enter anything I needed to purchase as living expenses for that month; groceries, gas, household expenses and any 'surprises'.
The colored tabs make it easy to find the groupings, and the three groupings make it incredibly easy to find information quickly if the need arises.
Recently I had to go through a year's worth of living expenses to find out what our average costs for the year previous were for things like insurance, cable, phone, electricity, etc. It took me all of 15 minutes. No searching on websites, no fiddling with paper files, just 12 transaction registers and my calculator!
Sure hope this helps someone out there as much as it's helped me!
By T Jackson from Tampa, FL
If you have a problem balancing your checkbook and cannot find the error. Divide the amount your figures are off by 9. If the answer comes out even, then the error is probably a transposition. For instance, if 91 should be 19, the difference is 72. If your figures were off by 72, it is divisible by 9. The answer is 8 but the main idea is to know to look for a transposition. Try this. It really works!
End your check register with the end of the year and start a new one for the new year. That way you can pack the check registers away with each year's tax paperwork.
By Beverly in TN
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With a growing family I find it almost impossible to save cold hard cash so I use this little trick to stash a few pennies here and there and they all add up.
In my check book register, I write who I am writing the check to. In the next column, I write the exact amount the check is for and in the final column, I round that amount up to the next dollar. ( Ex. $4.18 =$5)
At the end of the year I have stashed away over $300 and I always have a cushion so that I don't bounce a check, if I've shopped a little too hard. Try it, you will be so surprised how fast it all adds up.
By Karen S. from Springfield, MO
I also have been using this system. If you forget to write a transaction in, you have the extra money in to cover it. (02/20/2010)
When I write a check, I make sure I write the real amount on the check, but in my checkbook register I round the figure up. When I deposit money into my account, I round the figure down. You will never, see or feel it. In 2 years it adds up big time and them some.
By Laura from Spartanburg, S.C.
GREAT IDEA! I do this now, but it REALLY came in handy when I got laid off when my children were young. After several years of "rounding up" the cents on my checkbook, I ended up with an extra $800 when I got laid off my job and REALLY needed the money...
These days $800 may not sound like much, but back in the early 1980's (when this happened) I thought I'd hit the jackpot and it was enough to get me caught up on my bills and repair my car... This is an easy and non-painful way to save up money! (12/05/2008)
I have done this many times for years and yes the money adds up fast I was not doing it for awhile but have started it again. Good tip (12/09/2008)
By Mary Anne
What a pain in the neck, balancing your checkbook, with the bank statement though? (12/14/2008)
I have done this for about 30 years. Also, I buy everything with my ATM card and when there is a return. I don't credit it back in my account. What I do, when balancing everything, I make sure i have all the subtractions from my account and that they have everything I have, then I look at the balance, according to them. As long as they say I have more money than I think I have, everything is fine. It does add up. What ends up happening, is you end up with a cushion of funds. When you think you have no money, there is enough to cover something that you can't wait to get. When my checkbook says I am really low, I put in the deposit and leave the amount open, then when I write a check or use my ATM. I put the amount after the deposit space. It gets subtracted after the next deposit. I never count on that money or spend it. I just have it there. When my husband and I separated, I closed the checking account and I had over $500.00 I didn't know I had. It was really nice. (07/14/2009)
By c t
I tried doing this once. Balancing my checkbook with the statement was a pain you know where. I normally have no trouble balancing my account, especially since I stopped doing this method. I agree it is a great way to save money but I can't figure out the bookwork. (02/16/2010)
As I am the "bookkeeper type" I want my checkbook accurate to the penny. You are only fooling yourself. This system would be a pain to accurately balance your checkbook. What if someone had to take over your finances? They would really have a hard time with your system. (02/16/2010)
I tried that and it didn't last long; drove me crazy when I tried to balance. Just easier to have funds transferred every week from checking to savings. (02/16/2010)