Budgeting CENTS: Step TWO

Been on a cash diet lately?  Now what?

Get to know your bank statement…and if you don’t have a bank account, explore getting one.

**ConectAbility.ca has some great information pages on why having your own account is a good idea and how to open an account.

http://connectability.ca/2013/01/21/why-everyone-should-have-a-personal-bank-account/

http://connectability.ca/2013/01/18/how-to-open-a-bank-account/

Most bank statements keep it simple…there’s a balance column, a column for money going into your account, and one for money coming out, plus an area where each transaction (your account activity) is described.  The key factor with any bank statement…you need to keep checking it.

Be aware of what your balance is at all times…knowing what you have in the bank is important when doing your budget.

Be aware of any fees that come out…if you have a debit card most banks charge you to use it, there could be charges for if you have cheques, and there will be charges if you do not have enough money in the bank to pay for something (called NSF…non-sufficient funds).

As most banks have on-line banking, if you have access to and are able to use a computer, this makes supervising your bank activity much easier and convenient…most even have an app for cell phones making it easy to check your balance when away from home.

For those who have struggled or don’t like the cash diet and are ready for (or have already been using) a debit card, watching your statement is even more important.  With each use of your debit card, your bank balance changes immediately…this can been seen fairly quickly if you have a cell phone or other mobile device and can access your account (except for holidays and Sundays…those transactions are delayed usually until the next business day).

And if ever there is something you don’t understand about your bank statement…go to the source, to the bank itself, and ask staff there to assist you…this is part of their job.

This is your money; you have the right to use it, and the responsibility to yourself to ensure you understand how to use it wisely.

~Tami Schaafsma

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