How to Use a Checkbook Register

How to Use a Checkbook Register. Learning how to use and keep up with a checkbook register is an integral part of balancing your checkbook. Keeping a checkbook up-to-date can give you a clear picture into your finances and help you save money by avoiding overdraft fees. Read the following tips to learn how to use a checkbook register.

Step 1

Write the dates for which you plan to keep the register on the front cover. Open your checkbook register. Note the transaction code ledger at the top of the checkbook register. There will be a number of abbreviations for transactions, including deposits, ATM withdrawals, check or credit card activity, electronic payments, automatic deposits, tax deductions and other transactions.

Step 2

Locate the part of the register under "Balance" meant to record your starting balance and write it down. The space to write the starting balance will likely be above the rest the other register lines or on the same lines as the column titles.

Step 3

Find the column meant to record your transaction type. Enter your check number or the transaction abbreviation. Enter the corresponding date.

Step 4

Move to the long line for the transaction type. Describe what type of transaction activity is being recorded. You may put down "Grocery Store," for example. Enter the amount you spent in the "Payment" or "Debit" column. List any associated fees if your register has a column for them.

Step 5

Subtract the amount you spent from your starting balance and record your new balance in the "Balance" column. Your new balance should be recorded on the same line as your transaction.

Step 6

Track your deposits. Be sure to write your deposits in the "Deposits" or "Credits" column and add the number to your running balance.

Step 7

Repeat the process for each new transaction.


Always keep on top of your checkbook register by regularly updating it. Knowing what your running balance is can have save you overdraft charges and associated fees.