In College and Starting Out

In college and just starting out as young adults, read along as these bloggers face a new stage and increased responsibility.

Balancing My Checkbook Sucks

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At the end of each month, the bank sends me a statement for my checking account, telling me the transactions that have gone through since the last month.  My main way of paying for things is with my checking account debit card. Now, this has its pros and cons. On the pro-side, I have my own debit card that I can use if I do not have enough cash, or any at all. The biggest con is that I have at least 25 transactions per statement. Now this may not seem like a big deal at first; however, when the checkbook comes into play, it's a whole other story.

When I was thirteen years old, my dad and I ventured over to the bank to open my very own checking account. That day, I not only became a proud owner of a debit card, but I received my very first checkbook. At a young age, my Dad showed me how to balance it. Back then, this task was quite simple since there were only about 2 transactions a month-something that doesn't involve much difficulty to balance.  

That all changed when I got my license. The positive: I had so much more freedom and my parents started giving me a higher allowance. The negative: I increased my purchases, between buying gas and being able to go out with friends more. So, I then I had more transactions that I had to put in my register, and that's where the frustration began. 

Almost every month I come out of my room screaming and yelling at this little blue and white book (a.k.a. checkbook register) because it does not add up correctly. And let me tell you, it's extremely frustrating! Stupid bank! How come they don't know about my addition errors, sloppy handwriting, and forgetfulness in writing down purchases?  Okay, enough already!  

So, I have devised a few tricks for how to manage my checkbook better, to prevent my serious frustration. First, I immediately record my purchases in my register. I know it's there and I will not miss a purchase. Second, I use two lines per purchase. While it makes me go through a register faster, the extra space lets me write clearer so I can avoid misreading my purchases. And finally, I balance my checkbook as soon as the statement comes in each month. That way, if I did have a mistake I can fix it sooner rather than later.  

While these tricks do not catch all of the errors, they certainly eliminate several of them. And while I absolutely hate balancing my checkbook, I know that it is something I need to do, because otherwise I run the risk of overspending and getting hit with bank fees.  And I would by lying if I didn't admit that I like knowing exactly how much money I really have, so I can stick to my budget.

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Ariel Levin

Ariel Levin is a contributing writer for In College & Starting Out. She will be attending American University in Washington DC in the fall of 2010.  She knows being in a city like Washington will pose challenges and financial temptations. She will share her experiences as a college freshman who is just starting out and learning to manage her money on her own. Compensated CareOne Blogger.

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  • Bank mergers are a fact of the marketplace, especially in a churning, staggering economy. The best defense is to be informed, because you can be sure that rules and policies and methods of operation will be changing.

  • I was a Bank Official for over 22+ years and I know about Bank Mergers. When Merging accures; remember that there will be layoffs even though the banks says there won't  be. I know that for a fact. Percentages paid to accounts will go down because of the market and charges on credit cards and accounts will be added on. So yes, that is true, if you have never paid attention about banking; you better start learning. Policies and Procedures will change. Less Employees , more customers waiting in line. Another thing. If you have a computer , start using it to pay your bills.. Now there are two ways to pay your bills on line. You may ask you debter to charge your account monthly and more than likely they will not charge you. Do not let the bank pay your bills because there will be a monthly charge. Save as much as you can. Ask for information and do not make a hasty dissition. Take the information home, read it and then make a desicion. If you have invested money with the stock market; you check on it daily. Because the bank have so many customer; even though they say we are not number, yes we are and they do not care. If you are a young person or alittle bit older max out your 401K and ask if your employer is matching it. Put as much money in there as possible. If you have 5000.00 or 10000.00 or more spread it around to get the best interest as possible. Ask what FDIC means and how much you will be covered if the bank goes under. Ask about have what a bank calls P.O.D.(Beneficiaries and the importants of having them).  Remember if you have any question; you can find me under Facebook-Ramiro Portillo.

  • Ariel, This the Ramport1 the banker, Ever since you opened your account have you sat down with a bank official and asked them for guidance..That is what they there for. Get there calling card and let them know that you want them to be your bank official and they can monitor your account personally at no charge, that is their job. Also have you not changed your account ( you do not have to change your account number and I will tell you why) to a Student Account which give you better offers than a Free Checking. Not unless you have an interest bearing account; that is different. It is better not to change your account number; because that tells your credit scores that you have been a long standing customer with the bank and whenever you might need a credit card they are going to looking at that to. Also, if you get a credit card you better get one only! O.K. And before you get one ask your Parents if you realy need one. If your parents are paying for your school and staying at home; you do not need a credit card. Right now it is not good because of the interest rates. There are credit cards for students but I would hesitate to get one. Specially because you are young and at this time the least problems you can have the better. Always ask for advise; that is the only way we will learn. Take a couple of courses in finance. Their is a speak on the show Oprah. Her name is Suzie Orman, I think. Go into your computer and check her out. Check to see when she will coming out on T.V. , she is a great financial wizard. I highly recommend her. Good Luck  If you have any question; I am under Facebook and my name is Ramiro Portillo, I will be the one with the suit. You or your friends can ask me anything to do with Law in Banking, Fashion , Interior Design, Notary Public, Ministry, the Economy , etc. I hope this has helped you. and God Bless.

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