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Q&A #134

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Real-world problem solving

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From: Loyd <Loydlin@aol.com>
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2005041310:57:20
Subject: Re:Using a checkbook

I doubt that anyone can teach checkbook to kids now since the No Child
Left Behind and other state exams take precedence and they don't
include this mundane activity.

It is relatively easy to balance a check book but one sees that even
some college graduates from an Ivy League School can't or don't see
the value of doing this.  It was on the evening news just the other
day and a student's automatic overdraft protection went ahead and paid
the checks he had written, but added in excess of 225 dollars in
overdraft fees.  

One of my honor roll children used to call the bank to check on the
balance.  She didn't realize that an outstanding check may come back
to the bank at any moment and then there would be an overdraft charge.

Checking accounts are easy with EXCEL spread sheets.  You create
several columns for Check number, Date of transactions, Item
description, Debit, Credit, Balance.  Make it just like a check book
that goes with your account.  If the spreadsheet is properly prepared,
the debits will automatically be subtracted and the deposits will be
added to the balance.  

In the first row, you enter the balance in the balance column and
after that only enter one transaction to each row.  IF you write a
check and also make a deposit the same day, then only use one line for
each.  Don't combine items on the same line.  

 From there on it is easy.  Add up the debits (check amounts and ATM
amounts) in the debit column and add up all the deposits in the
deposit column.  Add the deposits to the balance and subtract the
checks and ATM, from the balance.  Be sure to include checks, ATM
transactions and card transactions that deduct automatically from your
checking account.  If you use an ATM at other than your bank, there
will be additional charges.  
Just remember there are two kinds of money.  Money that comes out of
your account (debits) and money that goes in to your account
(deposits).  

Of course, if you use the grocery store type ATM's there will be
additional charges.  

In conclusion, students should have some training in the use and care
of a checkbook.  Of course your bank account often appears to have
more money than your check book shows.  That is because there are
still outstanding checks.  You need to keep track of those and that
sum is needed when you balance your check book with the monthly bank
statement.  

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