Q&A #134

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Real-world problem solving

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From: Loyd

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2005041311:57:20
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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