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How often do you check your bank accounts? :)

by J. Money on Tuesday, February 15, 2011

bank addictionIt’s okay, you can be honest here — it’s a safe zone. I won’t make fun of you :) Do you check ‘em 5 times a day?  A week?  Once a month? I like to check mine at LEAST once a day.  Every single morning to start the day off right.  And then followed by my blog stats ;)

But unlike your blog stats (which are just as addictive, mind you), there are actually two REALLY good reasons why checking on your accounts regularly is a smart thing to do:

1) You catch errors! And sometimes they’re pretty stupid ones too.  But if you’re not in your account poking around that often, you can pass them up pretty easily.  It’s actually kinda annoying too — that you always have to be looking your stuff over in case some jackal made a mistake that’s costing you money.  And unfortunately it’s not like you can predict it cuz people make mistakes randomly all the time! But the sooner you catch them, the sooner you can get ‘em fixed up and back on track again.  (And the more you review your accounts, the less transactions you have to monitor that day cuz you’re always up to speed.)

2) You aquire MOTIVATION. And this, to me, is by FAR the most important reason to be watchin’ those accounts all the time.  Whether it’s debt, savings, 401(k) – when you see those numbers moving in a direction you’re proud of,  it really gets you pumped up man.  Seeing those amounts go up little by little every week, or your debt go down down down, is some powerful stuff.

In fact, that’s what finally got it all to “sink in” with me.  The day I logged into my 401(k) and saw over $5,000 sitting in there.  It was crazy.  All those little amounts over the years adding up behind my back and reaching into the thousands.  I was in awe.  And then, as you know, I kicked it up a notch ;)  Cuz the thing I realized was that if you NEVER touch that money you’re saving, it only moves in one direction:  UP! It’s obvious as $hit, I know, but until you *really* grasp that and actually DO IT, it never hits you the right way.

So that’s why I check my accounts every single day.  I want to know that my money is safe from all those jokers out there, and I want as much motivation as I can get.  I’d gladly trade 30 seconds of my time for that. Plus, it’s just straight up fun ;)  Is that why you guys check it so much too?


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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Philip February 15, 2011 at 8:02 am

Once a day on weekdays and probably none on the weekends, better things to do and figure not much is posting anyway. I do it so that I know nobody has charged my card anything and to make sure I know where it is all generally going.

Time to go check it now.

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2 Mercedes February 15, 2011 at 8:03 am

During the week I check mine at least once, after 8 am when most transactions have gone through the banks, and then sometimes in the afternoon after the stock market closes… On the weekend, I may check once over the two days, but typically only if I’m trying to remember if a certain bill went through or not. Thank goodness for mint.com that aggregates everything for me and I’m not logging into each individual account! (because that’d just be craziness!)

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3 jolie February 15, 2011 at 8:05 am

LOL I’m the same J. I log on, check my main bank accounts, and then head over to my blog, check out the action and link feed there.

If I don’t check I fear I will fall into blissful ignorance and spend more than my weekly allotted amount.

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4 Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog February 15, 2011 at 8:28 am

I used to check them quite a few times a day, but then I realized that I was making too big of a deal out of it because they were not changing unless I was spending money – which I wasnt. Now I check them either every day or every other day. helps me catch a lot of stuff and feel better about my net worth.

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5 Niki February 15, 2011 at 8:33 am

I check every morning. I like being able to clear purchases on my register because I like having it accurate. I do feel a little neurotic about it, but it does st my mind at ease.

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6 Maggie February 15, 2011 at 8:47 am

At least daily. Having apps for USAA and ING on my iPhone makes it very easy.

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7 Wade February 15, 2011 at 9:00 am

I check my accounts at least once per week and sometimes more. My website, I’ll check a couple of times per day. It is nice to keep yourself updated on minor progress (hopefully it doesn’t stay “minor,” right?).

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8 Andrew February 15, 2011 at 9:04 am

I check my primary accounts (checking, savings) at least once a day. For my other accounts, like 401(k), ESPP, Roth IRA, HSA, etc., I generally try to check once every biweekly period, to sync up with when I get paid, as there aren’t any changes (except market fluctuations) between pay periods.

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9 Dani @ OKDani.com February 15, 2011 at 9:06 am

I used to check my bank accounts daily. Now that I’m not a spendasaurus rex anymore and don’t expect too much fluxuation, I check it about once or twice a week. My savings and retirement accounts I check monthly or when I feel broke so I can remember I do have money and I’m saving it for a reason.

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10 Jeannine February 15, 2011 at 9:20 am

I check at least once a day, and more, if I’m “expecting” a transaction to take place…I know I am a bit obsessive about it, but I have been to near bankruptcy and now back, and been in a emotionally, and financially dysfunctional marriage, and back, and now I am in hyperviligent mode, hopefully I will calm down in upcoming years :o)

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11 Hank February 15, 2011 at 9:46 am

I only check my accounts twice a month to make sure my employer didn’t screw up my paycheck. Almost everything with my finances are on autopilot and automatic bank draft. And, I am one of the few who make more than I spend in a month including investments. So, I try not to get too wrapped up in checking the balance very often.

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12 Beth February 15, 2011 at 9:56 am

I check several times a month, to verify paychecks have been deposited and the credit card was really paid off. I have only caught one large mistake that way (and it took the bank 5 months to completely fix it – long story). I do however check my budget software daily, but that is more for motivation.

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13 Erik February 15, 2011 at 10:38 am

Unfortunatly I have a bad habit of opening mint whenever I’m bored and poking around. So, depending on how boring of a day at work I’m having I check anytime between 1 and 10 times a day :P

I think it’s a good thing they don’t have a blackberry app…

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14 Clare February 15, 2011 at 11:13 am

On weekdays, about three times a day. I have an obsessive compulsive Excel file called “Budget” that I keep super up to date, adding and subtracting where I’m allowed to spend from several times per day.

On the weekend, probably twice. Addicted!

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15 Kira February 15, 2011 at 11:14 am

I check mine atleast once daily on weekdays. None on weekends. Thanks in large part to the Pageonce app, which also includes Frequent Flyer miles. I like watching the savings go up, and the debt go down so I tend to be obsessive about whether a debt payment has posted or a 401K contribution has been recorded. Since I get paid today, my market order hits tomorrow and I’ll be obsessively logging into the app to see it posted Thursday morning.

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16 Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope February 15, 2011 at 11:27 am

I check mine anywhere between 1-3 times per day, depending on what’s happening in life.

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17 Elle February 15, 2011 at 11:32 am

I probably check our checking almost daily and all the accounts monthly. It takes 30 seconds to make sure everything is alright. A few times a year I caught a fee that didn’t belong and got them waived.

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18 AprilFire February 15, 2011 at 11:36 am

If I don’t watch myself, I check my bank accounts 2 -5 times PER DAY. It slows down on the weekends when I’m not by a computer, but still. It’s crazy. I try to limit myself to once a day, but it’s hard. I’m constantly thinking about $$ and if that debit transaction didn’t go through properly, I want to make it right.

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19 J. Money February 15, 2011 at 11:59 am

Oh yeah, I mainly check my accounts M-F too. Sometimes on the weekend if I’m trying to calculate or figure something out, but it’s not as fun as checking in during the week ;) I need action, baby!

@Mercedes – Yeah, Mint is dope like that. Although I still log in to my main accounts but luckily I’ve gotten it down to only 2 real ones.
@Niki – Wow that’s pretty good. Not a bad habit to have ;)
@Andrew – You don’t like to see the market fluctuations? That’s my fave part ;) Even though I know damn well it’s out of my control, haha…
@Dani @ OKDani.com – Spendasaurus Rex! love it.
@Jeannine – No shame in that! Work it, girl.
@Hank – Oh I remember those days too — making sure my paycheck was a) IN my account, and b) accurate. I can’t tell you how many months it was jacked up (roughly – 7 out of 12 ever year, freakin’ ridiculous)
@Erik – Hahahaa… I feel ya. I think we all do things like that when we’re bored :)
@Clare – Music to my ears, Clare! I think I like you even more now ;)
@AprilFire – You’re not alone my friend :) Better to be addicted to that than a ton of other stuff in life! Thanks for sharing with us.

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20 Jenna February 15, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I check twice a month. That is enough for me. And if I have to make a big purchase I double check. But on average – twice a month.

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21 Andrea travillian February 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I check once a week. Mainly for exactly what you said plus I like the feeling of knowing exactly where I stand with my money. It makes me feel a bit more in control.

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22 MKG February 15, 2011 at 1:03 pm

1-5 times a day! Mint.com is open almost all day and I have the droid app…I’m severely addicted.

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23 Donny Gamble February 15, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I probably check my bank accounts every other day especially when I spend more than $200

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24 Kelsey February 15, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I usually check 1-2x a week. I should check more because whenever I look, I can’t believe how small the number has gotten. ;) I have started using only cash for everything but bills and that has helped.

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25 jaythebanker February 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Keep a close eye on those bank accounts J. Money!! The single largest risk to you and your bank these days is DEBIT CARD FRAUD.. and while you’re not liable for the charges (subject to filing a police report) your bank suffers the eventual loss becuase Visa won’t. The losses can be sizeable.. And if your bank (big or small) suffers big fraud losses – prices eventually must go up and J. Money will not be happy.. :( (I work at the bank so I check mine regularly.)

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26 JennyDee February 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm

When I was living (dangerously) paycheck to paycheck, I’d login daily to see what had cleared. Now that I’m better off, I check a few times a month. I don’t even realize when payday is, anymore, since I have a nice buffer/savings in the ol’ checking account.

When the student loans start coming out in a few months, though, I’ll be checking more regularly to make sure things are going smoothly. I don’t like automatic deductions because I’ve heard too many horror stories of double-payments.

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27 Jennifer Lissette February 15, 2011 at 1:55 pm

I think I check, on average, once a day to once every other day. If I’m expecting a big transaction, like ESPP paying out or a making a large principal payment on the mortgage, then I check several times a day because I’m impatient.

My husband rarely checks on the bank accounts because he knows that I’m on top of things. Last year his company accidentally charged him for the entire year’s disability tax in one paycheck… you better believe I was all over that.

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28 Ryan February 15, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Multiple times a day, along with my self made budget/bill tracking excel sheet.

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29 Jaime February 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I check them twice a day. First I login to my bank’s website, then I head over to my credit card’s website and see how my account is doing over there, I do this even if I haven’t charged anything to my credit card, I just like seeing and knowing that its “ok” – it gives me peace of mind to login to my accounts daily. :)

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30 slug February 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I check Yodlee about 2-3x per week just to make sure all the transactions going through are mine. I update my net worth monthly just to make sure I’m staying on track for the long term.

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31 Shawanda February 15, 2011 at 3:12 pm

I check my net worth everyday using the Mint app for the iPhone. I’ll drill down further when I realize something strange has transpired. A while back, I was charged a $5 service fee by one of my banks. I promptly picked up the phone to get that mess sorted out. I don’t play about my money – even if you only try to stick me for $5. Gotta let ‘em you’re paying attention.

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32 Phil Bryant, CEO February 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I’m glad to see slug & Shawanda check Yodlee & Mint. I also use Mint to look at my accounts and my spending in aggregate. Mint used to use Yodlee on the back-end, but I understand they have their own connection systems now.

Anyway, while I almost never find an error where someone has overcharged me, I do catch myself spending more than planned often. For example, going out to eat too much. This happens often enough that a weekly check is well worth the time. This ends up helping me invest thousands of $ per year because I can catch myself during the month and change my behavior and/or make up for it elsewhere.

I also like wikinvest – anyone using that?

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33 sarah r February 15, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I check at least once a day… and it’s not just my bank accounts. Because I’m with B of A, I have all my accounts listed in their “My Portfolio” service so I can see everything… and often, I’m then following up and checking my two main credit card accounts to see what’s posted vs what’s still pending. It’s so much fun! Oh, and very practical and smart.

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34 Slackerjo February 15, 2011 at 7:24 pm

OMG. I thought I was the only one who compulsively checked their accounts. I feel much better.

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35 Bobby February 15, 2011 at 7:32 pm

I check every morning and a couple of times during the day.

I work at a bank and there’s a link on our homepage to online banking, it’s too easy not to check it.

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36 Chris @ My Money Mess February 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I don’t check daily, but my minimum is once a week.

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37 Louise M February 15, 2011 at 9:10 pm

I probably check it 3 – 4 times a week. If I use my debit card online I always triple check everything went through okay. When I get paid I do a quick check of all my accounts as well. I caught a transaction that went through twice and my bank had it fixed within a few days. I tend to rewrite a copy of my budget nearly everyday, for some reason I find it relaxing!

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38 JMK February 15, 2011 at 9:34 pm

We purchase virtually everything on our VISA. Partly for simpler tracking but mostly for the flight miles. Almost all our regular bills charge there automatically (phone, cell, internet, alarm, insurance etc). We also charge all our groceries and gas and that covers the bulk of our spending. Only the mortgage, property taxes and electric bill come directly out of the bank account. So it’s far more relevant to regularly monitor the online VISA account than the bank account. Now that virtually everything is going to the card I just need to keep on top of what has been processed and what’s receipts are only on my spreadsheet but haven’t been posted yet. Every Friday I go to the bank account and make sure a paycheck has arrived (we’re on alternating weeks so it’s always a pay week). Then I send a payment to Visa to cover everything that was posted that week. Then I transfer all the excess cash over $1000 to either our mortgage or our retirement account(s). Except for mortgage, property taxes and the electric bill, none of which can be paid by credit card, very little goes through the bank account. Pay comes in, Visa and those three go out. Very simple and I’ve yet to have any charge that didn’t belong. Keeping a minimum of $1000 in the account means we never pay fees and have an easily accessible portion of our emergency funds.

I also check daily on the balances of our retirement accounts which I update on our net worth spreadsheet. After our regular mortgage payment every two weeks I also update the balance remaining on the principal.

I can’t tell you how glad I am to hear I’m not the only person checking things out daily.

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39 engin33r February 15, 2011 at 9:58 pm

I check the balance once every week to see if the number looks confusing. Then I read through everything once a month when I’m doing bills..

I figure this could be like stocks and you could waste time checking 27 times a day if you got out of control so I take the opposite and just hope that all my automatic deductions are doing their thing.

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40 Mesenbrink February 16, 2011 at 6:54 am

I check with account around a few times a month. I just have to make sure that I have enough money in there or my checks / credit card payments.

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41 caroline February 16, 2011 at 8:57 am

I check mine at least once a day because I try to reconcile my checking account everyday. I noticed that if I don’t reconcile daily I end up not doing it..

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42 Courtney February 16, 2011 at 1:20 pm

I check every day now that Mint finally supports my checking account. Supposedly I’m just making sure I’m within budget — but really it’s to watch my net worth rise!

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43 J. Money February 16, 2011 at 3:34 pm

@MKG – Haha, that makes me happy for some reason :)
@Kelsey – Are you talking about your savings or your debt? I hope it’s the latter! haha…
@jaythebanker – Yet another reason why I don’t use Debit cards! It’s all credit for me, baby. And one of these days I’m gonna join you at the bank. I still want to work for one at somet point :)
@JennyDee – Yeah, that’s the downside of automating — it’s easy to just forget about it and not catch things as often. But usually the pros outweigh these kinda cons :) Congrats on having a nice buffer in place for checking!
@Jennifer Lissette – WOW. I’m sure your husband woulda caught it at some point… at least I’d like to think :)
@Jaime – That peace of mind is well worth it – I’m with you on that one.
@Shawanda – Damn straight. Only person who cares enough about your money is YOU! :)
@Phil Bryant, CEO – Wikinvest? Not me but I like the way it sounds!
@sarah r – If I had BofA I’d check every single hour!! Can’t stand that place, haha.. no offense.
@Bobby – Haha, yeah there’s no hope when you work AT the bank ;)
@Louise M – The reason for that is because you are AWESOME :) I tweak my budget a lot too.
@JMK – Yup! All about the credit cards too. Makes budgeting and tracking SOOOO much easier. Esp if you’re good at paying them off on time and all.
@caroline – That’s pretty hardcore. I couldn’t do it, but I totally dig that you do!
@Courtney – And as that net worth rises, so does your motivation and excitedness!!

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44 Kim February 17, 2011 at 1:01 am

I vary. I check my 401(k) balance daily during the week, and not during weekdays. I go through phases of checking my USAA and local accounts 1-3 times per day, and then phases where I’ll go 4-5 days without checking.

I try to work out a net worth calculation (write down all checking/savings/investment balances vs. the three loans, and any outstanding credit card balances) once per month.

One of the reasons I need/try to stay on top of it is because my husband uses the same checking accounts, and doesn’t remember to tell me what he’s spent. Or, he knows he spent money, but he can’t tell me how much and he lost the receipt.

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45 Catherine February 17, 2011 at 4:03 am

I check fairly often, my partner doesn’t and it’s his failing.

I generally know how much is there without having to check, but it’s always safer to check just incase!

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46 J. Money February 17, 2011 at 12:54 pm

@Kim – haha… I used to be like your husband :) good thing he’s got you around!
@Catherine – Agreed :)

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47 Crystal February 17, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Before I started blogging, I checked daily…sometimes 2-3 times. Now it’s weekly or biweekly but I check for new blog comments 5-6 times a day…

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