Checking Accounts and Checks
Berkeley Parents Network >
Legal & Financial Services >
Checking Accounts and Checks
my husband and i have not balanced our checkbook in 2 years!!! since our son was
born we kind of let things slip for a couple of months and then when i went to
balance it nothing added up. i kept meaning to figure it out but months went by. we
haven't had any bounced checks, and don't let our acct get low. but its driving me
nuts because i don't know exactly how much we have in our account. what is the
best way to ''rebalance'' a checking account that hasn't been balanced in a while? we
get direct deposit on this acct so i'm not sure how to best approach this...
Hi, unbalanced. :-) First, a general principle: the ending
balance on the monthly bank statement PLUS deposits that
haven't cleared the bank MINUS checks & other withdrawals that
haven't cleared the bank EQUAL your actual balance. ... If
you don't usually keep careful records of your transactions, do
so for at least a full month that will fall within your bank
statement period -- deposits, checks written, use of the debit
card that's linked to your checking account, online billpay,
etc. These typically clear the bank quickly but you want to be
sure they did. ... Checks may linger uncleared longer than
electronic transactions. If you have been keeping a record of
checks written for the past year, compare your record to the
bank statements to see which checks haven't cleared the bank.
(Even if you haven't kept a record of the checks, you can see
on the bank statements if a check number is missing; if it
doesn't clear on subsequent statements, it's still uncleared
and maybe you can figure out its $$ amount from other records
you've kept.) ... Now do the calculations (sentence #1
above). Voila, you now know your actual balance on the
statement's date. ... Just to be safe, you could maintain
your usual high balance for a few months or set up overdraft
protection with your bank. // ... // If you aren't using
QuickBooks or similar bookkeeping software, I suggest you
consider it; bank statement reconciliation (and more) is *so*
much easier. If you are using accounting software, you can use
the reconciliation feature to reconcile all of the unreconciled
months at the same time. Make sure all of the uncleared checks
& other transactions are entered into your software. When you
reconcile, 1)click *all* of the transactions as cleared, 2)
then unclick on checks & other transactions that haven't
cleared and 3) also unclick transactions that have dates after
the statement date. Click ''Reconcile Now'' even though the
uncleared balance is not at zero. Tell your software to
correct the account balance by posting an adjusting
entry. ... Best wishes, Ann.
Start fresh. You will drive yourself crazy getting two years
worth of numbers to match. I am pretty diligent about keeping all
of our accounts balanced, but periodically I slip behind. If,
after a reasonable amount of time, I can't get my account to
balance with my bank statement I enter an adjustment and let it
go at that.
I also use Microsoft Money, which automatically downloads
transactions, and can even automatically balance your account. If
you really need to get that account balanced for business reasons
you might want to try out a program like Money or Quicken.
My friend had a similar problem and I ended up balancing her
checkbook for her. Basically, you just start over from the
latest bank statement you have. If you've somehow managed to
live the last two years w/o balancing your checkbook, knowing
your charges from 2 years ago isn't going to make a difference.
It also makes the task less daunting.
Some people have trouble taking the time every month to balance
their checkbook. I highly recommend investing some money in
software such as Quicken and sign up for online banking. You can
then set it up to automatically download your charges from your
bank (if the bank has this feature). This way, you at least know
how much money you have in your bank account.
We don't balance our checkbook, and haven't since the advent of
online banking 8-10 years ago. What I do is check that all the
charges that are on the statement really belong there --
sometimes merchants make mistakes. I take the sum from the bank
as truth. I could question them, but why take the time. I would
notice if there was a big discrepancy. Also, in order to manage
bills, and transfers between accounts, we check our balance at
least twice a week.
I read a story once of an old woman who balanced her checkbook
by rounding each amount. So a check for $10.12 was rounded to
$10, and so on. She never did the cents. Her grandson found out
and was outraged and decided he would re-do her addition using
the real number. Guess what, he was close to the amount by 40
cents. Ha ha ha ha! That's kind of how I feel about balancing my
checkbook on paper.
Mom on Hayward Fault
we use computerized programs to download statements. you can
usually go back several months and check charges and try to
determine where there was a mixup. the programs run about $50
but i can tell you with kids, i love downloading and checking
expenses for credit cards as well. it makes it so much easier to
Find your last statement. Get a new check register. Use the
bank's (credit union's) balance; however, also log all of your
outstanding items. This will give you your balance to work with.
Now go to your old register. Regulation E states that you may
only dispute items that are within the past 120 days. So take
the last four bank statments - look at the credits to see if
they match what you have listed. Look at the debits to see if
they match what you have listed. If they are wrong, dispute them
with your financial insitution. If they are not wrong, file you
statements and your old register. And begin with the fresh
information listed in the first paragraph.
You're fine. Life happens on the way to the dance. Just begin
working on the current (and immediate past) information.
Credit Union Mom
Ha, your message made me chuckle. For a while it bothered me too
that I no longer balanced my checkbook, and then it fell off the
radar screen altogether, and nothing bad happened. It's been
more than 10 years--with not even a check register log--and I
know I'll never balance my account again. What works for me is to
keep a comfortable cushion in the checking account, use duplicate
checks as a record, and use some kind of informed banking
intuition. It's even easier with online bill pay. I scan my
monthly bank statement to reconnect with reality, and that's it.
I've never overdrawn my account; it works for me.
First of all, if it's been two years, I would suggest finding out
how much is in your account now and starting from scratch.
Otherwise you will spend many frustrating hours accomplishing
very little. In my recent experience, the checkbook somehow never
actually balances perfectly when you use it a great deal.
I have talked to other people about this because I have both an
American and Canadian bank account and it only happens with the
former (this sounds paranoid and strange, but it's the truth). I
meticulously go over all my receipts every week and use telephone
banking to get a list of all the transactions that have gone
through my account that week and the week before (just to be on
the safe side). Somehow, after a few months there is always a
discrepancy. This is partially because every once in awhile one
makes a mistake in adding or subtracting. Other times, there is
no apparent reason at all - I mean I will have the bank print a
transaction record for the last 6 months and things still don't
Is it hopeless then? No! Of course not! I leave extra money in
the account (say $100 or even less) to buffer it and then keep
track of the discrepancy between what the bank says I have and
what I really have. I keep a running balance of my accounts and
what money should be allocated where on a paper spreadsheet.
Maybe a computer spreadsheet would make everything balance
properly, I don't know. It seems like more work to me and
generally I find that the balance I carry in my account is
actually more than what I have recorded in my records, so I don't
worry about it. My Canadian account is always right on track,
down to the exact cent.
I think one of the problems is the use of check cards. Where
credit transactions can take over a week to process, debit
transactions are noted in your account immediately. I have also
had several cases of incorrectly recorded transactions (and
recently a transaction showed up in my accounts that I never even
made). The banking system in Canada is based on debit
transactions, which are subtracted from your account as soon as
they are made. The bank typically (or it used to be the case)
will also not allow you to make a debit purchase unless the money
is actually in your account (so no overdrafts from using your
bank card). So those are a few things to look out for. Sorry,
if that's way too much information! It's a bit of a rant too,
because I've also had a great deal of frustration over balancing
You need to pick two dates:
1. The ''Rebalance Start Date''; and
2. The ''Cutoff Date''.
Generally, the start date will be today (or whatever day you
start tracking your checkbook.
The Cutoff Date will be either 6 or 12 months from the start
date. 6 months should be fine, but if you're paranoid, you can
use 12 months.
Now, the best and easiest way to do this is to open a new
account, and start tracking it. Then, keep enough money in the
old account to cover any checks that might clear until the cutoff
date, and then close the old account. Anyone who is left holding
an uncashed check on the old (closed) after that is just SOL.
If for some reason you CAN'T close the old account, then you can
do the following:
A. Start tracking the old account from the Start Date. When you
start tracking, you'll need to have an opening balance. Since
you don't KNOW what the opening balance, you'll have to just pick
a number. Pick a number that seems reasonable to you, a number
which is likely to be NO HIGHER THAN the actual minimum balance
(whatever that might be), assuming that everything that's
currently outstanding had cleared. You don't want to pretend
that you have money that you don't.
B. Just balance your checkbook from the start date on, until the
cutoff date. Now, after the cutoff date, you're going to make
the assumption that all outstanding items have cleared, and any
that haven't cleared are never going to. This might be
erroneous, but it's the best that we can do. At the cutoff date,
enter a balance adjustment into your checkbook, so that your
actual balance matches the checkbook register balance. A balance
adjustment is just an entry that says ''whoops! I was wrong. I
really have an extra $xxxx that I didn't know about.
But the best way is really to open a new account, and close the
old one after the cutoff date.
I do this all the time....Don't try to go backwards. Start with
your most recent bank statement balance and just go from there.
It might take a month or so for every check and transaction to
clear and even out, but it will.
The easiest way to restart check-book balancing is to stop
writing checks! Seriously. Use your banks free on-line bill-
paying program and set-up automatic payments as necessary and
you may find yourself only writing a couple of checks per
month. On-line bill payments via your bank clear instantly so
then it is very easy to use your current bank balance as an
accurate measure of your available balance. If you are only
writing a couple of checks a month (say, daycare &
miscellaneous philanthropy), you may be able to keep those in
your head so that when you check your balance on-line you can
mentally subtract the check or 2 that hasn't cleared. I no
longer balance my checkbook, but I refer to my account on-line
frequently. Works for lazy-old-me!
The last time I was 'unbalanced', I waited to a time when all
checks and ATM transactions had cleared. (After going on a
vacation is a good time as check activity is low and ATM/debit
card transactions usually hit your account almost immediately.
Or get cash and use that only for a few days to let all
transactions hit your account.) I then go online to my bank
account and get a current balance from the bank and I just use
that as my starting balance and I balance/keep track of
everything that happens after that. Not perfect, but doable.
you kind of have to write off everything that happened before
the day of that balance.
Three years ago when I was pregnant, we took our last (extremely modest) vacation.
We rented a small house and sent the home owner our payment. The owner never
cashed our check. We are terrible with money so we were unaware of that fact. Now,
three years after our vacation, we got a letter from the rental owner's lawyer
the owner passed away last year. Our uncashed check was included with the lawyer's
letter, along with a request that we re-issue a new check. This is coming at a
time for us in terms of money and we are barely surviving. I wonder if anyone knows
we are legally obligated to re-issue a check at this point?
A check is considered stale dated (and therefore, no longer good)
after 6 months. They can't cash it and they can't force you to
write a new one.
Why not ignore the letter and see what happens? Nothing will
happen because they have no recourse. They are just hoping to
guilt you into paying up.
For whatever reason, the rental owner never cashed the check.
Count your lucky stars and say a quiet thank you to the person
who passed away.
My opinion is that ethically you are responsible for this
payment, even this far down the road. You should borow to pay
Hi - I sonmetimes receive small checks for dividends from
companies... the checks have a ''lifespan'' of 90 days after
issue date. If I try to deposit them after 90 days, they are
rejected by the issuing agency, and I have to make a formal
request for reissue. The reissue is at the discretion of the
company, and they have may hoops to jump through... generally
not worth the $3 or less the check is for. Why not go by the 90
day rule? Perhaps your bank has a similar rule about issue date
and check life span.
As someone who has worked in a bank for 14 years, I say you are
under no obligation to reissue another check. A personal check
becomes stale dated after 6 months, a cashier's check has
slightly different rules that have changed since I left
banking. You paid for the rental in good faith, it's not your
fault that the decedent didn't cash the check in a timely
fashion. I believe the lawyer is counting on your naivete to
get money for his client's estate. I say, write the lawyer back
stating your case and see what he says. If you want to talk to
a lawyer for free, Len Tillum has a radio call in show during
the weekends. I am not sure what channel but if I find out, I
I hope this helps,
It kind of blows my mind how many questions like this are
posted on this forum- Do you have to pay for a service or
product that you receive? Yes, you do...if you don't, it's
called stealing. In your situation, imagine if you found
uncashed checks in a relative's home upon their death- would
you expect the person/people who received a service to pay for
that service? Of course. If nothing else, I'm sure you feel a
little guilty about taking advantage of someone who obviously
wasn't in their right mind.
There are no free vacations
You are not legally obligated to write a new check. I don't
know exactly what the law (or individual banks) say about how
long a person has to cash a check, but it's much shorter than
three years. Otherwise the people who found your uncashed
check would have simply cashed it. Only you can decide whether
you think you have an ethical obligation to work out some sort
of payment plan or settlement (and I'm not sure you do under
the circumstances), but legally you're in the clear. She
couldn't bother to cash your check for three years - too bad
for her. You may want to call your bank for clarification.
Checks Aren't Good Forever
When you enter into a contract and do your part...you've done your part.
fact that this person *who you did not know at the time was ill
or in any way mentally incapacitated* didn't cash your check
isn't your problem: as far as you were concerned, you did pay.
I say this because I worked for someone once who wouldn't cash
checks---and people **begged** her to cash them. Is it their
fault that she didn't take responsibility for running her
business? No. And it's not yours either.
This isn't a question of your ethics if you tried to pay in good
I need to buy bank checks and I'm wondering if anyone has a
recommendation of a company with a website that has reasonable
prices and nice designs (not just puppies) and maybe even
supports a good cause. I don't write many checks these days as
we move towards the cashless society but I still write a few.
Thanks for your recommendations.
We've used Message!Checks for years. They support a large number
of causes and have a very nice selection.
They can be looked at online at www.messageproducts.com.
I tend to order from a new company every time so as to always
get the ''first time customer'' deal. But I especially like Check
Gallery because they use recycled paper, and they do have
several designs that benefit good causes (e.g., National
I recommend Checks in the Mail (www.checksinthemail.com). They have
several different pictures for checks, and their service is fast and reliable.
We get ours from Quicken.
Care and maintenance of my personal checkbook has fallen apart. I
very much want to get caught up and institute an easy to follow
plan to keep the books in good order. Any suggestions??
Online banking! I resisted for a long time and now love it.
Last September I purchased some items from a local business (i.e.,
not part of a chain). I wrote a check and happily took my items
home. Last night I was balancing my checkbook when I discovered,
to my horror, that someone had changed the amount of my check!
Both in the area where you write the numbers, and in the written
portion! Today I went into the business to speak to someone. The
first manager I spoke to said ''Oh, that's the tax they forgot to
charge you.'' When I said that it wasn't ok to change my check he
said ''Well, otherwise we'd have had to call you and have you
drive all the way back down here to fix it.'' I said, ''That would
have been fine. Altering my check was not.'' He then got the
bookkeeper, who said, ''Oh, yeah, sorry, I did that. The two
numbers didn't match.'' I said that I had clearly written both
numbers and they had been for a different amount than the one they
used. She said that when she got the check, the number didn't
match, so she changed the written part! (Which means that TWO
people were involved in altering my check.) She then asked if I
wanted to return the merchandise--like I remember what it was, and
as if that were the issue! Both of them acted as if I was wrong
for being upset about this. What do you think, and what should I
do? This is not about the money--it was less than $5. What it is
about is that they did something wrong. And if anyone can just
write over what I've written on a check, how can I feel that I can
safely write a check to anyone?
NO it is not okay for them to do that! I am pretty sure it woud
qualify as invasion of privacy if not fraud. If you do not feel
safe with checks then don't go to the store. If you like the
store and need to go again then just be carefull and if it
happens again file a complant because chances are if it
happens twice to you they're doing it to other people which
the police would probably like to know about.
I don't think it is check fraud. I once worked at a bank in the
mortgage payment department where we received hundreds of checks
and payment coupons every week. It was quite common that people
wrote out checks with two different amounts, or transposed
numbers, or made typos in their payment amount. We regularly
changed the amount on the check to agree with the payment coupon
if it was clear that it was just a mistake, adding our initials
next to the change. This is not quite what happened in your case,
but it's similar in that we were correcting what we saw as a
mistake and not notifying the person who wrote the check. It does
not sound like the merchant was trying to steal money from you,
or defraud you. It sounds like they thought they were correcting
a mistake. It would have been courteous if they had let you know
about the change, but I think it is reasonable to assume there is
no fraud here, and since it's such a small amount, I would just
let it go.
While the incident you described technically is check fraud, it appears
the business did not intend to deceive or cheat you. It sounds like
made a bad assumption that you'd rather them adjust the check than go
back to the store. Since you took so long in figuring out what
it seems like there wasn't much for them to do but apologize. Their
to return the goods seems fair. I would tell them that this was very
unprofessional and that you will not shop there again. Then I'm sure
they will not do this again.
I'm not sure who to tell so I probably shouldn't respond but,
that is so against the law! report them to the police and the
better business bureau.
Or you probably could just tell them that you'll do this.
I'd be pissed myself so do what your concience tells you.
This business is breaking the law, plain and simple. Their
notion that they're saving you trouble is a ridiculous attempt
to justify their actions. You should let the police 'advise'
them regarding their action.
If ''they'' forgot to add the tax then they should eat it! That's
lame and ridiculous that they altered your check, or that they
even considered calling you to come back down and pay what, $.40
at the most. I would return the merchandise and not shop there
again. Not very customer service oriented! I would also think
that their altering of your check is illegal. YOu could ask your
I checked with my husband who works as a bank manager. He
confirmed that no one but the person who signed the check (and
is on the account, of course) can change information on the
check. If that person wants to make changes or alterations, they
must initial the changes. Obviously, that isn't what happened.
Hopefully, the bank would catch such changes before a check is
processed. Unfortunately, banks process so many checks each day
that they don't catch everything.
What the store did is check fraud. Police departments usually
take this seriously, regardless of the amount. You never know,
they may know about, or find out through investigation of your
complaint, that this is a common practice of this business. That
would be a big problem. Additionally, you can go to your bank.
The bank should reimburse you to the correct amount, but
probably won't take any other action.
As a general rule, most businesses are reputable, so most of the
time you are ok. Except for paying cash, there is no 100% safe
way to pay. If someone wants to steal your money they can do it
just as easily with a check as a credit card. Everytime you
write a check you are giving someone else enough information to
commit fraud against your account. At this point we are
depending on people to not take advantage of us, but there are
enough cases of fraud each year to teach us that not everyone is
My understanding is that this is, indeed, check fraud. The amounts on
cannot be altered by some one else, that is illegal. Only you can
and then you are supposed to initial the section that you changed to
that you did this yourself. The proprietor and bookkeeper were WAY out
line: ''we'd have had to call you and have you drive all the way back
to fix it''?? So?? They SHOULD have called you at the very least and
we forgot to include tax in your total, so the check you wrote is for
amount. You can either come here and write us a new check, or we can
the amount on the check for you, *with your permission*'' To try to
you were in the wrong to be upset (so what if it was less than $5, it's
PRINCIPLE of the thing, right?), is outrageous. I would report them to
th! e Better
Business Bureau and let them know that you are filing a complaint.
Check fraud is still illegal!
That's outrageous! No one has the right to alter your check,
and the bank should not honor an altered check. When I learned
to write checks (about 100 years ago) I was told that if I made
a change on the check I'd have to initial it or it wouldn't be
accepted by the bank. Were there initials by the changes? If
so, and they used your initials & not their own, then it was
fraud! I'd like to know what store it was so I never shop there!
I am hoping someone out there can help me with this. I
have a cashier's check which seems to be drawn on a now
defunct bank. The information: (I have got to say this was a
pretty dumb move on my part.) The check is for $1,000.00
on 1st Nationwide Bank. It is also dated 8/16/91 (the dumb
move). I put the check through my banks ATM (which I have
done previously with no problem). It was returned in the
mail stamped: Suspected Counterfeit. (they say because of
the date) Going into the bank was of no help; no
suggestions of what to do, wouldn't try to put the check
through with a hold, would not help figure out where this
bank might be, etc. (Good thing I have been banking there
for over 20 years!) A search on the internet gives me no
leads. Which is what makes me suspect the bank has
been absorbed by others, or... At this point I am at a loss
as to what I can do. I can not afford to lose this $1,000.00.
Please, if you have any ideas it would be greatly
anonymous, but in need
First Nationwide got bought by CalFed which just got bought by
CitiBank. The office is at Shattuck & University. We still have
usable First Nationwide checks (that was a happy surprise), so
they might still honor the old cashier's check.
First Nationwide's history goes something like this - First
Nationwide -- Cal Fed -- CitiBank. Hope this helps.
First Nationwide Bank is not defunct. It purchased many other
banks under its original name, and then when it purchased
California Federal Bank (I believe in 1996-97) it changed its
name to the California Federal Bank. All account numbers
changed, too, as they often do when one bank is purchased by
another. It purchased some other banks still and is now the 4th
largest bank in California. Deloitte & Touche are their auditors.
Try goingto a CalFed office or e-mail them from their web site.
You should be able to get your money back. You'll be even more
successful if you were to go to the original branch where the
cashier's check was purchased, if this is an option.
If nothing works quickly, write a letter to their Customer
Service. It takes a couple of month but it works for sure.
I hope this helps.
I worked for First Nationwide Bank's corporate offices years
ago. I stopped working for them in 1995 just before they were
bought by a huge conglomerate and changed their name to CalFed.
I believe they still have many branches and corporate offices in
San Francisco and the Bay Area.
I think you may be out of luck. I was a bank-teller in college
(many years ago) and I recall that we were not allowed to
accept checks that were over a year old. It was called a
''stale-dated'' check. The only exceptions were gov't checks,
which I think were ok for 2+ years, and sometimes in
January when it was very likely that the check writer meant to
write the current year and forgot (something we're all doing
As for 1st Nationwide, they were acquired by Cal Fed (my
bank) many years ago. However, we've just found out that
Cal Fed is being acquired by Citibank. You may want to see
what a Cal Fed or Citibank branch manager thinks.
I *think* there is actually a law that checks have to be cashed
within a certain time period (1 ? 2 year/s? ), so regardless of
the fact that this bank is defunct, I don't think you'd be able
to cash the check.
How do I deposit an Xmas check made out to my 18 mo old
daughter? The bank cannot accept in in my account. Should
I just return it to sender?
You could set up a bank account for your baby or your bank
should be willing to cash the check for you.
Here is what my husband, a banker, says: sign the
check ''[child's name] by [your signature], [relationship to
child]'' the deposit should be made a the teller window, not the
ATM. If the bank won't take it have them rewrite the check to
[your name] parent of [child's name]... he says bringing the
screaming child with you to the bank usually helps too. (Just
kidding.) We do it all the time.
Hope that helps.
You have to open up a bank account [we did a savings
account] for your child. You're just gonna get more checks
[hopefully!] so you should probably just do it now. When you
deposit the checks you just have to endorse them as
''[child's name], a minor by [your name]''. It's pretty easy. But
it did take us almost 2 years to finally do it. Fortunately the
checks from his birth were still good.
I suggest asking to speak with the bank manager. If she won't
accommodate you, threaten to close your account and take your
business elsewhere. I have deposited checks for my child for
years and we don't even share the same last name. I simply
signed both names and signed ''mother'' next to my name. I have
never had a problem. If your bank won't help you, I'd seriously
consider changing banks!!!
I set up an account for my son when he was 6 months old. He
was written a rather large check to seed savings for his
college by my grandmother. Most banks don't charge at all for
savings accounts for kids, and we just get a statement every
month with my son's name on it, followed by the words, ''A Minor
By'' and then my name. It's been great to have for him and keep
it seperate from the rest of our money - I recommend it.
How about starting a 529 account for your child? That way,
you could start saving for college now! Check with your
bank to see if they have information to help you do so.
We've gotten a number of checks for our daughter since she was
born and I just endorse them: ''Michael B, father, for
Alisa B'' and I've had no trouble. I deposit them at the
ATM instead of the teller, so maybe that has something to do
with it. I do remember once trying to deposit a 3rd party check
at the teller window, and they wouldn't do it, because the
person who endorsed it to me wasn't there, and the teller told
me to just deposit it at the ATM instead. Logical? No, but it
worked. :) I bank at Wells Fargo, by the way.
I guess you could also open an account for your child.
all you have to do is open a minor savings account for your
child and make that the first deposit. I did this when my son
was 6 months old and I occasionally t-fer money over the
internet into his account, say if someone gives him a $20
bill for birthday. Over the years he may accrue a lot of money
(relatively) that he can spend when he is old enough to
decide how to spend it.
Hm. We just deposited one written out to our daughter into our
account. We did it at the ATM and the check cleared. She has the
same last name as my husband, so he endorsed the check. I really
don't think they look at these things closely and you're doing
nothing illegal, so just give it a try.
You can open an account (savings) under your childs name and
deposit the check in the account. It's a good idea to do this
anyway, and makes it easier to deposit all those future checks
that relatives always seem to send for birthdays, holidays, etc.
Good Luck with your Early Savings
Simple - open an account for your baby. As long as they have a
social security card, they will be able to have a bank account.
Then you can put all monetary gifts into that account.
How about opening a CD in your child's name, or a 529 college savings plan?
I just deposited my baby's first check this morning at Bank of
America, where I have my checking account. What I did was open a
savings account in my name ''in trust'' of my son's name. He won't
be able to withdraw money until he is eighteen, but he will be
able to deposit checks anytime until then. I have acces to the
money if I need to. The account does not have any monthly fee if
you keep a minimum balance of $300 (I had to transfer some of
our money to get to that minimum), unless there is excess
activity on a given month. Good luck!
Get another bank! Unless it is a very large sum of money (like
over $1000) they should be able to do it for you. I've done
that both at Wells Fargo and Citibank with no problems. I've
done it both at the teller and the ATM. Talk with a manager
until you get them to deposit it! They probably won't cash it
but should surely deposit it into your account with a typical
I'm surprised that you could not deposit the check in your
account. I was able to do that for my children at WElls Fago a
few years ago.
Are you sure your bank won't take it? We've deposited both
children's checks in our B of A account for years.
Open an account in your child's name where you are the
custodian of the account under the uniform gifts to minors
a parent who has done the same.
I'd like to hear from couples who share a checking account,
regarding how you keep the finances straight. We need a new
system. After marrying, we kept our separate checking accounts,
just because it was easy to do so. Now I'm mostly at home with our
toddler, and do most of the grocery shopping, etc. Since the
account with his automatic deposit originally only belonged to my
husband, he has maintained the job of balancing the account out of
habit. However, I'm doing most of the spending, and this has led
to great confusion. How have people dealt with similar situations?
I've wanted to change habits and just have his checkbook
accessible so I can enter in whatever purchases I've made that
day, but if he gets behind, I have to wait to enter them, and we
get into a difficult cycle. I could take over the checkbook
responsibility completely, which may make the most sense. I'm
curious how other couples work this out, including whether any
computer programs have helped in the organization. (Though I've
wondered if that would complicate things even more, since then
there would be two places to enter numbers.)
I'm not quite sure exactly what your question is--if the
problem is really accessibility of the checkbook, I just wanted
to offer my experience--we just use two checkbooks from the
same account--of course the numbers are wacko but that doesn't
seem to matter. Also we rarely write checks--between online
bill paying and paying with debit cards, we just don't need to,
and that makes recordkeeping simple because you can see it all
If the question is about control of the money :) I recommend 3
accounts: a household account that all income goes into and a
personal account for each of you that you each get
an ''allowance'' from each month from the household account (you
can set that up automatically too). We use our allowance to pay
for gifts, books, CDs, non-essentials for the house, eating out
(this is nice because we have an incentive not to eat out as
much AND because we trade off taking us out to dinner, which
makes it more special--it's a gift).
I'm sure you'll be able to find a system that works for you.
My husband and his ex-wife never had shared bank accounts. He
would give her enough money for the bills and other expenses and
leave the rest (for his gas and lunch, and for their savings) in
his account. Coming from a household in which my mom (a stay
home) had total control over the bank accounts, I found their
system to be very wierd (my dad doesn't even have an ATM card, he
just asks my mom for cash). Now we have a shared bank account to
which his salary goes through a direct deposit. We have duplicate
checks, so no-one can forget writing down the purpose of a check,
and at the end of the banking statement I usually download
everything into quicken (which will help in the next tax season)
and classify the expenses. We use mostly credit cards, since it's
easy to check the current balance online, and make sure to pay
the full balance every month to avoid finance charges. We've had
no problems till now, because my husband's spending is mostly
mandatory (gas, lunch) and I check our balances online often to
make sure I am not overspending on discretionary items. I also
use online banking to pay bills, so I can schedule everything in
advance and if I need to see how we're doing I look at our credit
card balance, checking account situation, and the scheduled
payments to estimate our expeses in the next few weeks.
Hope it doesn't sound too complicated, because it's really not.
- direct deposit
- online banking
- duplicate checks
My husband and I have shared a checking account since we got
married 10 years ago. We've found that for this to work one of
us has to be in charge of the bills and write most of the checks.
It's gone back and forth, but currently I'm the one in charge.
We only use one checkbook at the time, so when my husband writes
a check he asks me for the checkbook and then he gives it back to
me (or just leaves it on his desk and I get it from there). We
use duplicate checks, so even if he doesn't write the checks in
the ledger, I can see which ones he wrote and for how much in the
Still, he doesn't write checks very often. We usually just get
cash - he tells me when he withdraws some and I write it down. I
also keep a close look at our account online, so if he forgets to
tell me of a withdrawal I can catch it and ask him about it.
When my husband and I married, we were both working and for a
short while we maintained separate accounts - not even quite
sure how we did it but it felt important to each of us to have
a little stash of our ''own'' money. Now, 8 years later, we have
a 5 yr old and a 2 yr old and I am a SAHM and things have
changed!! There never seems to be enough money in general but
what we are doing and works for us is that some money is
deducted into our savings accts each month and the remainder is
deposited into a single joint acct. Since I do most (all?) of
the purchases for our home, pay all the bills, I just maintain
the acct. We use a credit union with on-line acct access and I
never balance our account by hand 'on paper'. I know what is
deposited (my husband is paid once per month) and pay all the
bills at the first of the month regardless of due date (I know,
i know...we could make a few pennies here and there by waiting
until due dated...). What I really like about the on-line acct
access is that I can see at a moment's notice things like ATM
withdrawals and car gas expenses. At first, the surprise ATM
withdrawals made by my husband were a kink in the works because
I had us budgeted down to the penny so to remedy that, we came
up with a monthly ''allowance'' for him to use for things like
lunches he had to buy out (infrequent as they are) and the
occasional indulgence of a latte on the road while commuting.
My husband is quite frugal so this system works well for us.
Hope you find your way with this....
My husband and I also share a checking account. I am the keeper
of the checkbook and he accesses the account either through the
atm for cash/deposit or by asking for a check. When he
withdraws or deposits money, he sends me an e-mail immediately
through his Blackberry so he doesn't forget. I prefer to keep a
balanced checkbook and to know exactly where I stand at all
times and he is nice enough to accommodate this attribute. He
uses cash or credit card to make purchases as do I. I use
checks to pay bills from home and the occasional purchase at
stores that do not accept credit cards. This method works well
Money issues with couples can be quite interesting and intense.
Our minister told us a funny story the other day: in his family
his mother took care of the finances, in his wife's family the
father took care of the finances. It was TEN years into their
marriage before they realized this and were able to solve the
mystery of WHY the other person wasn't just taking care of it
and relieve the related stress and strain!
Hi, it sounds like you're in the same type of situation as I
am--stay at home mom, with 2 toddlers, who pays most of the
bills, does most of the shopping, etc. For whatever reason, we
kept separate checking accounts when we got married, and now my
husband direct deposits a set amount into my checking account
every month, and I use that money to take care of routine
expenses. If something big comes up, like car repairs, I put
that on a credit card, and we take care of that separately.
We've been doing this for 3 years, and it works well for us.
My husband and I each have seperate checking and savings
accounts, plus we have a joint checking and joint savings. This
is alot of accounts, but works out well, because although I take
care of the money issues, he is home with the kids and needs the
joint account for groceries, etc. So I just give him the
checkbook when he needs it, and make sure he records his debts
in it. You can do the same - if you keep the joint checkbook,
just have your husband change his direct deposit to the new
account. Or, if he can add your name onto his existing account
that would work too. Then he can have a seperate personal
account. Or, if he can add your name onto his existing account
that would work too. Then he can have a seperate personal
checking that only he uses. Most direct deposit programs allow
you to deposit your check into up to 3 different accounts. I put
the bulk of my check into our joint checking, some in our
savings, and a little in my personal checking.
When my husband and I were first married, we created a joint
account for mutual expenses and kept our separate accounts into
which went a set amount each month -- that money was untouchable
by the other and we could spend it however we see fit, without
checking with the other. The thing is, we NEVER spent that
money. Even big-ticket items, like a new set of golf clubs,
came from the joint account. After about five years we gave up
on the separate accounts and just do everything jointly. Since
I'm home now FT, I handle the day-to-day finances... paying
bills, etc. I am the one who keeps the account up-to-date (we
use Quicken which makes it slightly easier). Every week or two
I pay bills and input checks, ATM withdrawals, etc. My husband
often puts in the ATM withdrawals he makes, but I always make a
point of asking him if he has any ATM receipts in his wallet
when I sit down to do this (literally ask him if he's home at
the moment, or send him an email if not... that way I have a
reply email which reminds me to re-open Quicken and do it). We
do not use the check register anymore; just Quicken - so there
aren't two places to enter info, as you suggested. Periodically
we check-in about savings and how much we're managing to roll
over there (or not). Also, we use credit cards A LOT but always
pay them off in full each month -- our credit card essentially
works like a checkbook for us; not that it debits from our
checking account, just that we think of it that way (we consider
purchases made on the card as money SPENT, not money we'll pay
off ''later''). Using credit cards like this eliminates the need
for one of us to carry the checkbook (and the problem that comes
along when the other person doesn't have it). The bonus is that
we do this with a Visa card that gives us airline miles for
every dollar we spend, so over time we have racked up a lot of
frequent flier miles. Husband handles the larger financial
picture - investments, retirement accounts, etc. This system as
a whole works for us.
this page was last updated: Oct 27, 2010
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network