Make a record of every check you write in a check register. This will allow you to:
- Track your spending so you don't bounce checks
- Know where your money goes (your bank statement may only show a check number -- but no description of who you wrote the check to)
- Detect fraud and identity theft in your checking account
You should have received a check register when you got your checkbook. If you don’t have one, read more about why check registers are important and where to get them
Copy all of the important information off your check:
- Check number
- Date that you wrote the check
- A description of the transaction or who you wrote the check to
- How much the payment was for
You can also use your register to balance your checking account. This is the practice of double-checking every transaction in your bank account to make sure you and the bank are on the same page. You’ll know if there are mistakes in your account, and if anybody has failed to deposit a check you wrote them (and therefore making it look like you have more money to spend).
Finally, your check register can provide an instant view of how much money you have available. Once you write a check, you should assume that the money is gone (in some cases it is drawn from your account quickly if your check is converted to an electronic check
). In the example above, we assume that you woke up this morning with $100 available in your account. Now that you’ve written a check for $8.15, you only have $91.85 available.