Checking Account Organization

The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Kristin at The Gold Project. Checking Account Organization at

My checking account organization has definitely been a work-in-progress. I use both a debit card and actual checks (for bills), so a system has to be in place to make sure everything is accounted for and correct.

So, why do I have to organize my checking account?

Well, about six months ago, I lost my checkbook register and I had no idea what the balance was in my account. I felt like I was losing my mind for several days without my handy register. Luckily, I found it, but I vowed from that point on that I would do better about my finances.

I keep my checkbook in a Vera Bradley checkbook cover.

checkbook cover

My checking account and finances contained in it are organized in a detailed process that I follow faithfully.

My Checkbook Register

I do not like the small register that comes with your actual checks when you receive them in the mail. I think they are too small, the lines aren’t big enough, and let’s be honest, this girl has a hard time seeing these days. I need something a little bigger that I can organize and see better.

I purchased a small 7 in. x 5 in. notebook from Wal-Mart that I use to record all of my family’s daily checking account transactions. Once it gets filled completely, I store it in my filing box and purchase a new one.

checkbook register

This little notebook goes everywhere with me. It remains in my purse at all times!

My Excel Document

Before I lost my checkbook register, I only kept a notebook. It never crossed my mind that I might need to have a backup somewhere in case I lost the original one.

Now, I keep an electronic copy of my checkbook register that I complete through Microsoft Excel. I update it weekly, keep the same workbook for an entire year, and label the sheets with the months.

checking excel document

The amounts on the worksheet are just an example. They are not real transactions. The “Balance” column contains a formula that calculates my remaining balance after each transaction I make.

Storing and Recording Receipts

Once I get a receipt from a store, I place it in one of the pockets in my purse. Then, when I get home, I place it in the holding area of my mail organizer and record the transaction in my register.

mail organization for receipts

When I accumulate several receipts, I take those receipts and file them in my expanding receipt file that stays in the bottom cabinet of my desk.



Periodically, I will go through my receipt file and shred old receipts that I do not need anymore.

Online Banking

Online Banking has to be one of the best things about the Internet. I am obsessed with online banking. I literally check my statement every other day.

How does this process work?

I get out my checkbook register notebook, a pen, highlighter, and my printed bank statement.

I go through my printed statement and match it to my notebook, and do the following:

  • Record any transactions that are on my bank statement, but not in my notebook.
  • Mark out (with a pen) the items on the bank statement that I have already put in my notebook.
  • Highlight transactions in my notebook that I have already written down prior to printing the new statement.

Once I am completely finished with the bank statement, I shred it.


Then, once I know everything matches on the bank statement and notebook, I record the transactions in my Excel document.

This process may seem a little too complicating, but it helps me keep my daily finances organized.

Kristinprofilepic cropped

My name is Kristin and I am a high school career education teacher by day and a mommy/wife/blogger by night. I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have two loving children. We live in the bootheel of Missouri in a home that is always under construction. I get excitement out of finding new creative, functional, and cute ways to organize things! I also enjoy writing and documenting life as it happens. So, I put these three loves together and created The Gold Project. With the help of my husband, I am attempting to turn our house into a home. So, check out this special place of mine and take this journey with us! 


Filed under: Guest Bloggers, Kristin, Paper Organization


15 Responses to Checking Account Organization

  1. 1
    Jodi says

    I have my finances organized by using software called You Need A Budget (YNAB). I use it on my smartphone while I’m shopping & it syncs with the cloud. Later, I can reconcile my accounts on my computer. Great thing is my hubby uses it on his smartphone & it automatically adjusts the balance on my phone/computer. It is very user friendly. I am not paid to write this; I am only a happy customer. Just Google ynab & try it out.

    • 1.2
      Jaime says

      I second YNAB, I absolutely love it and have been using it for years.

  2. 2
    Mary Paitsel says

    I use my bank’s website and Quicken to keep track of my finances. I use my bank’s Bill Pay to program all our regular financial obligations a month in advance and enter that info in Quicken. I download and reconcile transactions daily. My husband is not what I would call excellent about letting me know about his debit/credit transactions and this helps me know where we are financially. I have used this method for years and find I use very little time each day to keep my records up to date. I also use my Bill Pay to keep track of my bills. By reviewing my accounts regularly I am not dependent on getting a statement to make sure my bills are paid on time. If I do not receive an invoice or an account is not paid or recorded on time after I have set up a payment, my bank will take care of contacting the company for me. Easy peasey!

  3. 3
    Ava says

    I don’t like the small checkbook registers, either! I use a hardback ledger from Walmart to record all of my transactions. It stays in my desk drawer. I love it because I can use multiple lines to record information about my transactions (including categories).

    For years, I used MSMoney, but Microsoft discontinued the program some time ago. I really miss it, but since I now am an Apple girl, I would not be able to use it anyway. I use iBank which is similar to MSMoney.

    • 3.1
      Maribeth says

      Hey Ava – I like the idea of using a hardback ledger and am interested in how you find the time to enter everything. I work full time, have a 16, 17 and 20yr old at home and don’t really enjoy sitting at our home desk every night. Maybe it’s because it’s such a mess, hahaha Any suggestions?

      • Ava says

        To be honest, I don’t enter info every night. My goal is to enter every week, but I rarely do that, either. It usually winds up being every 3 or 4 weeks, sometimes sooner, sometimes later. I have a 4-1/2 year old and can’t really work on it unless she’s asleep or involved in something else. The nice thing about the ledger is that you don’t really have to be at the desk/computer until you enter in the info on the computer.

        I recently bought a plastic file envelope with 13 slots for holding papers (it can hold a 8-1/2×11 sheet of paper folded in thirds). I keep my receipts and bills in there which has really helped keep the mess under control (as long as I put the things in there before it gets piled up). It also helps the data entry go more efficiently.

        I love your name! I have a friend who named her little girl Maribeth.

  4. 4
    Mary Holland says

    I suggest that you not shred your bank statement, as sometimes in the future you might require it for financial reasons, plus. Of course you could obtain a copy from your bank, for a fee down the line.

  5. 5
    Heather says

    Wow way complicated!!! I have a notebook like you that i record everything in (only) and i use my online account to check to make sure when everything clears and find any descrpencies i might find that arent noted in my notebook ( usually my husband forgetting to tell me he got gas or went to lunch with the boys) i hang onto NO reciepts unless its my bills ( electric, water, etc) and they all have a seperate folder at the end of 6 months i get rid of them..( i hate clutter so i try to keep that down… I.E. No reciepts… I cant see hanging onto a walmart reciept for a year) but hey everybody has their own methods!!!

  6. 6
    Sabrina says

    Good idea! Great job figuring out a way that works for you. I suggest to my clients, always keep paper statements (and keep with your tax return at the end of the year) and use Quicken as your register. Some clients like a paper register, they can use that too, but they don’t have to reconcile it since the Quicken file will be updated and reconciled. It is so much easier and way less time-consuming to download the transactions and categorize them than doing everything by hand. It takes 5 minutes each day to download and you save hours at the end of the month when you need to reconcile. Thanks for sharing your solution.

  7. 7
    Erika says

    What columns do you use in your notebook? The same as the ones in the register that comes with the checks?

    • 7.1
      Kristin @ The Gold Project says

      This may be bad, but I kinda eye-ball it. I have a space for check number, date, description, debit or credit amount, and total. I try to line them up to the best of my ability without taking time to draw all those lines. So far, it has worked! :)

  8. 8
    Sharon says

    My sister in law [also my best friend] told be about this about a
    a year ago and I love the ideal. Thank you Nancy

  9. 9
    Brianna says

    Both of your OCD links to your blog go nowhere ….

    • 9.1
      Laura Wittmann says

      Thanks for letting me know Brianna, all fixed now :)


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