Balancing Your Account and Your Personal Finances

It is certainly a rarity to see someone at the store using cash to pay for their items. Even rarer would be to come across an establishment that only accepted cash as a type of payment. Americans today prefer the quick and easy swipe of a credit/debit card; however, this convenience can come with a price to your personal finances.

The literal “price” of over drafting with a debit card can be up to $36 per amount over drafted, and with the economy and banking laws rapidly changing, fees are rising swiftly. Unpaid overdraft fees reflect negatively on your credit score, and even paid ones can affect your banks likelihood to lend to you. Not to mention, according to a Dunn and Bradstreet study, Americans spend up to 18% more when they swipe, which daily influences their personal finances.

Overall, if you are like most people who regularly choose a card over any other type of payment, then it is vital to conscientiously handle your personal finances. A sensible place to begin is with the simple habit of asking for, and saving, receipts. The receipts will show you where that mysterious “18%” is going and will aid you while you are balancing your account. Some people find it helpful to go through and write down the receipts nightly, while others sufficiently run their personal finances by keeping the receipts in an envelope until the end of the week. Reading over receipts will also help you write an accurate budget as you learn the truth about where your money is going.

However, debit transactions are not the only transactions going in and out of an individual’s account due to the fact that many people set up automatic withdrawal for monthly bills like mortgage, car insurance, and utilities. To correctly keep track of your personal finances, you must use every means of account balancing possible to go along with old fashioned pen and paper, which includes online banking and phone banking.

Luckily, many banks are now offering these amenities for free. Helpful tellers and self-explanatory websites make online banking easy and enjoyable, while simple codes and instructions cause phone banking to be an easy means of checking your account. To properly balance your account and control your personal finances, devote time weekly, if not daily, to comparing and contrasting your receipts to your online information and the information you hear through the phone. It is important to check both because they are not updated simultaneously. Many times the services will be updated days apart and may not post new transaction on the weekends. Your pen and paper account will come in very handy on Friday when you know you will not have precise account information until Monday.

Following these simple steps will positively impact your personal finances and lead you to feel more in control of your account.

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