Know Your Balance

While it is convenient to go online to check bank balances, it’s easy to get in trouble by relying solely on the electronically displayed amount. For instance, if you use your debit card to buy gas, it usually takes several days for the full charge to come out of your account.

Rather than relying on online balances, it is safer to use the account ledger that comes with a checkbook to keep a running tally of what you have already spent, including online payments that may not yet be deducted from your account. This extra step will help determine the actual amount you have to spend.