Fees for checking accounts may seem like a small expense, but why not save if you can? Most banks waive fees on checking accounts if you always keep a certain amount in the account. That minimum balance can vary¬† from bank to bank. Banks also attract customers with special accounts, such as ones for students or retirees. Call a few banks and see what they offer, or use the internet. Don’t forget to check credit unions and savings and loans.
Fees on bounced checks add up in a hurry. If you are having checks bounce regularly, consider a simple money management system like the sugar bowl method. People used to be paid in cash, and few people had checking accounts, so they would bring their pay home and put it in the sugar bowl. Actually, they divided it into several sugar bowls: one for rent, one for food, one for electricity, and so forth.
A more modern way is to draw vertical lines in the check register to make columns, one for each major type of expense. At the top of each column, write the amount of money available to pay that expense. As bills are paid and groceries purchased, subtract from the amount in the appropriate column to keep a running total of money remaining in each category.

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