Now that you have your checking account set up, it is important to properly manage your checking account to get the most out of its services.
How often do you think about your checking account? You might not think about it that much. Your finances are on auto-pilot, and there’s no need to look at your checking account unless there is an emergency.
Or is there?
Managing your checking account is a habit those who are smart with their money have mastered. But what exactly does “managing your account” entail? A few things:
- Making sure you stay above any minimum required balance
- Avoiding overdrafts
- Staying below any transaction or withdrawal limits
- Being able to have a good idea of your account balances at any time
- Monitoring your account activity to protect against fraud
Here are a few ways to keep an eye on your account:
- Use a checkbook ledger or duplicate checks- if you still write checks, be sure you record any purchases you make with a check in the ledger that came with your checkbook or use duplicate checks. This will ensure you aren’t surprised when a check clears.
- Use online or mobile banking – if you have access to an online banking or mobile banking account, you will be able to track your transaction history. Some online and mobile banking systems may also include financial management tools to help you track your spending by category. (LSB offers this!) This helps prevent overspending and helps track where your money is going.
- Check your monthly statements- you should be receiving monthly account statements, either through the mail or through an electronic delivery system like eStatements. These allow you to see all purchases and deposits for your checking account for the last billing cycle.
- Use a telephone banking service or text banking – telephone banking and text banking are other services most banks offer to help you monitor your balances and verify recent activity.
- Call your bank and ask- if you ever have questions about your account, you are well within your rights to call and ask your bank. Your bank has full access to all activity on your account and can help put your mind at ease.
Keep in mind that managing your account isn’t a once-a-month type of thing, but rather a regular activity you should be doing. This allows you to stay on top of your finances easier and avoid any surprises that you don’t want to have any way.
If you would like to know more or enroll in Online or Mobile Banking from Heartland Bank, stop by or call us today to start the process and have better accessibility to your checking account.
Heartland Bank, Member FDIC
Don’t let summer spending hinder your family’s fun this season.
Summer in Central Iowa is great, isn’t it? The weather is warm, the days are long and the kids are out of school, meaning more family time. However, all these great things about summer can actually work against your wallet.
As we stay active for longer during the day or as the kids need more things to do, our checking accounts can take a hit. But how do we reduce the urge to spend when the season and our kids want us to spend more?
Try these five tips to keep your spending down and savings and fun up this summer.
- Get in the right mindset– Anna Newell Jones, author of the “And Then We Saved” blog, paid off $23,600 in debt in 15 months. How? One of her largest motivators was finding fulfillment without spending money. She wrote down three things she was thankful for every day as a way to teach herself to be content and to stop searching for “more” and “better.” Take a page out of Anna’s book and try to focus on the great things you already have.
- Try out “no-spends”- build up your savings account by trying out a days, weeks, or, if you can, months of no spending. While you may not hit your goal of spending nothing, focusing on spending less will help.
- Clear out your mind and your home- kick off your savings quest with a spring cleaning session, recommends financial writer Kali Hawlk. Not only will this help you in selling things you need and finding things you forgot you had, but it will also help you re-tune your wants.
- Do more of your own cooking- it’s so easy to “grab a quick bite to eat” somewhere or to take the kids out for dessert on long summer evenings. Instead, produce more meals at home. They are generally healthier, in smaller portions and more satisfying than $40 spent at a restaurant that can be too cold or too loud.
- Look for budget-friendly activities- church camps and activities put on by community organizations are often low in cost, so be on the watch for those. There are also plenty of festivals, outdoor parties and other events during the summer that may cost little or nothing for an evening of family fun.
Not all fun things cost money. You can do your own research on the Internet or websites like Pinterest to find free or low-cost things to do this summer. If you need our help, you can always call or stop by any Heartland Bank office.
Heartland Bank, Member FDIC
Choosing the right checking account is important and we want to help guide you the right best account for you.
Few things are as important to your finances as your checking account. It’s where you store the money you earn to use on essentials like your home, vehicle, food and clothing.
Having the right checking account can make your life infinitely easier, while having the wrong checking account can make your life much more difficult. But with all the checking account options available these days, how do you know where to start when choosing an account?
These five questions will help you narrow down the list:
- Are you single or married? Some checking accounts have balance requirements or benefits that are triggered at various balance levels. If you are single, your balance will probably be lower than if you are married with a joint checking account that two people contributing to the account.
- What services are included? These include things like a debit card, online banking access, access to an online bill pay feature, electronic bank statements, direct deposit, remote check deposit or other services that make managing your money easier.
- What are the balance requirements? Some accounts incur a fee when your balance drops below a certain amount. For instance, if you use most of your paycheck between pay periods, you would be better off with an account with a low minimum balance requirement.
- Are the fees minimal, or can they be avoided? Fees can include monthly maintenance fees, fees for not hitting a certain number of transactions and so on. Most accounts have stipulations to help you avoid fees, such as a certain number of debit transactions per billing period.
- What are the account benefits? Many checking accounts have perks associated with them, including interest earned on the balance, cash back, or other account benefits like rewards programs. Make sure you understand your benefits so you can maximize them.
By answering these questions, you can better determine which type of checking account is best for you. You can also stop by or call any Heartland Bank office to ask our banking staff for help when trying to decide on a checking account.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Heartland Bank, Member FDIC