Updated insider information by Chellie Campbell, author of “The Wealthy Spirit: Daily Affirmations for Financial Stress Reduction”
“The truth will set you free—but first it will piss you off.” –Werner Erhard
“Please balance my checkbook for me!” My new client, an attractive blond woman who held a highly responsible job in city government pleaded with me. “No matter what I do, I just never can get my checking account to balance.”
I soon discovered why. When I started matching her bank statement with her check register, I discovered that she rarely wrote in the correct amount of the check. The check and the bank statement would show that she wrote a check to the cleaners for $42.30. But she recorded this check on her check register as $40! The check to the clothing store was written for $178.62, but her check register said $200. Most of her checks were rounded figures instead of the exact amount. Then, of course, there were the six or seven checks she just forgot to record at all…
In the twelve years I owned my bookkeeping service, I encountered many people who just couldn’t master balancing a checkbook. Twenty-six percent of Americans say they have balanced their checkbooks in the past year, according to Maritz Marketing Research. Not that many, is it?
(Continued on page 177 of The Wealthy Spirit)
Today’s Affirmation: “I love to count my money and I create lots of money to count!”
People don’t use as many checks as they once did, paying a lot of bills through online banking, automatic charges to their bank account, or using credit cards. It’s still important to keep track of your spending, no matter what method of payment you use. How many of you are surprised when the credit card bill come in to see how much money you spent? Credit cards are handy tools, but people get in trouble when they don’t keep track of how much money they actually have.
There was a time (yeah, in the distant past of the 60s and 70s) when credit cards weren’t accepted at the grocery store. I went to the store with a certain amount of cash and if my total went over that amount at the cash register, I put things back. Now my tendency with the credit card is to just buy whatever I want and worry about paying the bill when it comes in next month. I have a pretty good feel for my “ballpark” figure of food expenditures, but sometimes it goes a bit over what I expected, and I think back – did I really need to buy the garlic butter spread? I only used it once…
What helps this situation is to have a check register for credit card charges. Write them all down as they occur, just like you do with checks. Then you’ll never be surprised at your bill again, and it just might stop you from spending on unnecessary items.
What do you do to keep your credit card charges in line with your budget?