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Determine exactly how much money you have in your account even if you have to go to bank for help.
Enter that information on a new page in your check register.
Enter date, your check number, payee and amount in your check register when you write he check. Don't worry about people in line behind you. This will only take a few seconds. If you like, you can deduct amount of check when you get home.
Take your check book with you when you use ATM and enter your withdrawal while you are still at machine.
Develop a system to deduct automatic withdrawals. It is probably best to deduct these on first of each month.
Add any deposits as you make them. You need to find out how much and when direct deposits should be entered in your check register.
When you receive your bank statement, reconcile it as soon as possible. If you find any descrepancies check them out immediately. Don't give up until you are sure you have resolved problem. The balance you show in your check register should match bank, less any bank charges.
When you reconcile your bank statement be sure to clearly mark checks that have been returned to you. One of biggest problems people have with overdrafts is missing a check that is taking a long time clearing bank. Go back at least a month to make sure all previous check have cleared.
I really don't mean to insult anyone's intelligence with this article. Having problems with your checking account, as with all other money problems, isn't a matter of intelligence anyway, it's a matter of discipline. It can cost you a lot of money by not applying that discipline to managing your checking account.
Terry Rigg is the author of Living Within Your Means - The Easy Way http://www.homemoneyhelp.com/ebookadpage3.html and editor of the Budget Stretcher web site. To Subscribe to The FREE Budget Stretcher Newsletter and receive The Complete Budget and Bill Organizer absolutely free just visit his home page at http://www.homemoneyhelp.com