Tuesday, September 22, 2020

do you do it?

One day a few years ago, I was sitting at my computer, checking things off in a paper register.  Wolfgang asked me what I was doing.

"I'm balancing the checkbook", obviously.

"Whaaaat?", he looked at me like I was creating hieroglyphics.  

Yes, he was aware of what "balancing the checkbook" meant, he just never saw a reason to do it.  It was something only old people do.

So I was all, "how do you know how much is available in your account??"

And he was all, "I just check my balance in the app!"

And I was all, "What about stuff that hasn't cleared??"

He wasn't concerned.  I think at the time, he was finishing up college and living in our house, so no real bills to check off.

I never write checks anymore, but there are automatic recurring payments, direct deposits, venmo transactions, occasional debit card activities... I wanna know where we're at and make sure I'm not forgetting an impending payment.  Plus I like knowing what each transaction was about - something the bank app doesn't always clearly describe. Has it become an obsolete activity?

I'm thinking about this because I was "reconciling the checking account" (maybe I should say that instead of "balancing the checkbook") this morning and found it's about time for a new register for penciling in the entries.  Maybe that's the real thing Wolfgang was poking fun at - keeping a pencil-paper record.  

Do you do it?

I do have a spreadsheet I update, but I like to be able to just open a physical register and see what's what.  Since I'm about to run out, I went to amazon to order more.  Out of curiosity, I read a few of the reviews because what's to review about a checkbook register?

One reviewer stated that he has registers he's kept for the past 30 years.  He likes to go back and see what he was spending/receiving, "like reading old journals".

OMG, now THAT seems like an old person thing to do.  Or maybe I just equate "keeping stuff" with "old people" because my parents had a hard time throwing anything away, and I've gone totally to the other side by being a clutterphobe.  

Nope, once I fill 'em up and everything's cleared, they're gone.  So there's that.  

Do you keep a physical checking account register?  Do you regularly reconcile it?  If so, how long do you hold onto the old ones?

Old people want to know.


Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I do not own checks except for the business. Personally I do everything online. I view my account and I see what cleared and where i am at. I no longer need pencils and a book to do this...and I'm very old. :-) can't make blogger work for shit but I don't own a checkbook (and we have lots of automatic debit payments)

Chatty Crone said...

I do own a real checkbook and I really check it monthly to the penny.

You do know I am a dinosaur don't you?

Brian said...

I have a checkbook & register. Used to reconcile it every month. Now, I write so few checks, I don't bother. Last check was written in April to pay state income tax. Wanted to write a check to pay for my bowling league but that tax check was the last one! Ordered some new ones, still not here - going on 2 weeks now. The post office is really suffering under the current administration..

Most all of the bill paying is done through the banking app. I can see current balance, what payments have cleared and what's been sent but not cleared. It's enough.

Morgan Cartwright said...

I have a checkbook, but can't remember the last time I wrote a check because I ended up setting everything up online a few years ago. I was having issues with the mail and my checks getting places on time.
I don't have a register, but I do write them out every week to see where I am at then I throw them in the trash.