Do you get a little nervous when you pull out your debit card or checkbook to make a payment because you’re not sure how much money you have left in your checking account?

You can ease that stress by taking advantage of online and mobile banking and also taking a bit of time to balance your withdrawals and deposits either by hand or with software.

It’s important to know how much money is in your account so you don’t get hit with costly overdraft charges or fees when you spend more than you actually have.

With online and mobile banking you can quickly check your balance, see where you spent money, look at your monthly statements and even set alerts to let you know when your balance falls below a certain amount. These tools can help you from spending more than you actually have.

Another option that many financial experts recommend is keeping an ongoing ledger of your account balance, spending and deposits, either with a paper check register or via a software spreadsheet.

This method of balancing your checking is a great way of reconciling your bank statement with what you keep track of manually. It also allows you to get more into purchase details so you can use it to help cut spending if necessary.

Starting with your current balance, you’ll want to track the following things in rows and columns:

  • A check number if you still use checks to make payments.
  • The date of all purchases or payments, including ATM withdrawals and any account fees.
  • A description of who the payment was made to and what it was for.
  • The amount of any deposits.
  • And then you’ll want to deduct the payments from your balance or add the deposits so you always know where your account stands.

By keeping your own records you can match them to your monthly statement to check for discrepancies, or use them to help find where you can reduce your expenses. If you notice any issues between your records and those of your financial institution, contact them right away.

Regularly balancing your account can help you know when it’s safe to spend money, when not to, and to keep track of both your income and your purchases.