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Eight Simple Steps for Balancing Your Checkbook

Do you fit in one of these categories?

A)  Nice try, but… - You try to balance your checkbook using pencil and paper, but find it frustrating and have difficulty making the numbers agree.

B)  See No Evil - You avoid the frustration altogether by 1. Ignoring your monthly statement altogether, 2. Using the institution’s balance, or 3. Keeping an approximation in your head.

The following information will help simplify the balancing process and hopefully reduce the anxiety level when your statement arrives.

How your statement works

Seldom will your statement and register agree. But, that is no reason to panic. It’s merely a matter of timing.

Your statement lists the transactions posted to or cleared to your account as of the closing date. The closing date is usually found in the upper right-hand corner of the first page of your statement.

Once your statement has closed, it will take a few days for the information to be printed and for it to arrive in the mail. Meanwhile, you are continuing to use your debit card, make ATM withdrawals and deposits, write checks, and hopefully, keeping track of these transactions in your register.

Remember, it also takes a few days for your debit card transactions, checks, ATM, and/or deposit transactions to be recorded on your account.

Record, Balance, Repeat

Recording each transaction in your register and adding or subtracting it from the balance is the first step to simplifying the balancing act.It’s important to record the transaction at the time you actually make the withdrawal or deposit.

By recording the transactions and balancing your account total in your register, you’ll get a clearer picture of your spending habits and know exactly how much money you have. And, if for some reason you detect a problem, the sooner you can correct it, the better.

The balancing act

Balancing your register each month within a day or two of receiving your statement will not only reduce your stress level, it will lessen the amount of time it takes to complete the task.

On the back of your monthly statement is a handy form to help you balance. Use it along with the following steps to make balancing a snap.  Before you begin, gather the following:  your last two statements, your register and a pencil and calculator.

Step One

Record interested earned: In your register, enter all of the interest earned on your account (if applicable). The interest earned will appear on the front of your statement.  Add this balance. Be sure to record any other credit amounts listed, such as corrections.

Step Two

Record service charges, etc.: In your register, record any charges that have been subtracted from your account, as shown on your statement. These charges may include:

  • Monthly services charges
  • Per check charges
  • ATM transaction charges
  • Non-sufficient Funds fees

Subtract these charges from your register balance.

Last check register balance



Interest from statement






Service charges from statement



“New” check register balance



Step Three

Verify deposit amounts: Look at your latest statement and verify that all deposits listed match the deposit amounts listed in your register. Make a list of any deposits that are listed in your register but do not appear on your statement. Add these together. Tip: Use the worksheet on the back of your statement.


Outstanding Deposits    
















Step Four

Match all debit entries: Match the entries in your register with the transactions listed on your statement. Compare dates, check numbers and dollar amounts on all items. If these items match, place a check “P” mark next to the transaction in both your register and on the statement.  If they, don’t match, circle the item in both places so that you can come back to fix the error once all of the transactions have been checked off.

If Transactions Don’t Match

Check for one of three errors:

  1. The item was recorded incorrectly in your register,
  2. The item paid or was credited to your account for the wrong amount, or
  3. Your check numbers were listed incorrectly.

To Correct the Errors

  1. Simply look at and/or recheck debit card receipts, check copies, deposit receipts, and/or ATM receipts.
  2. Remember some items will not be checked off. These are called “outstanding items.”

Note: If you do not have images returned with your statement, check online banking or contact your branch.

Step Five

Check for outstanding Items from previous statements: Be sure that all of the outstanding items from your previous statements have been included in this statement. Otherwise, they are still outstanding.

Note: If an item is outstanding for 60 days or more, contact the person or company to and see if the transaction has been received. If it hasn’t, you may want to call the institution and place a stop payment on the item.

Step Six

Verify other debits on statement: Verify that additional withdrawals listed on your statement are charged for the amount actually drawn. This includes any automatic debit transactions like insurance payments, loan and/or utility payments.

Step Seven

List all outstanding items: Make a list of all outstanding ATM, debit card withdrawals and checks. These are transactions that appear in your register that do not have a check “P” mark next to them. Add these items together. Tip: Use the worksheet on the back of your statement.

Step Eight

Balance: Now, balance your register to your statement. Use the formula below, which is also located on the worksheet on the back of your statement.

Statement Ending Balance


ADD (+) deposits shown in register but not on statement




MINUS (-) total outstanding items




this total with the ending balance in your register. They should be the same. If not, there’s a mistake. Do Not Panic! This can be easily fixed. If they are the same Congratulations! You’ve successfully balanced your register.

If Things Don’t Add Up

  • Take a short break to clear your head.
  • Start by re-verifying your outstanding items.
  • What’s the difference? Is your checkbook balance higher or lower than your statement? Subtract the smaller figure from the larger one to get the difference. Now…
  • Divide the difference by 9. If 9 goes in evenly (that is, with nothing left over), the problem is transposed numbers. For example, $258 was recorded as $285. Look over your receipts and cancelled checks and double-check your amounts.
  • Divide the difference by 2. If the answer you get is a “normal” dollars-and-cents amount (i.e., $7.19 rather than $15.125), look for that amount in your register---it was added instead of subtracted, or vice versa.

Still Doesn’t Balance?

Well, you’ve tried hard and made every effort. Now it’s time to ask for help. Call or come by one of our branches. You will need to bring in your current statement and your checkbook register. Every effort will be made to assist you to balance, and next time it will be easier.

Main Branch

2915 2nd Avenue

PO Box 1329

Kearney, NE 68847

Trius NMLS – 401282

Phone: 308.234.9311

Toll Free: 888.838.5328

Fax: 308.338.9932

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Federally Insured by NCUA
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