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Keep track of checking account spending the 'green' way

How often do you avoid check writing and choose plastic instead?
(Shamontiel L. Vaughn)

Environmentalism continues to gain in popularity not just in social groups but with financial institutions, too. Checking account holders continuously see reminders about paper waste from emails and statements. Financial statements are stamped with "recycled paper" logos and notes on the back of pages. Some financial institutions offer online-only statements. And with more emphasis on keeping track of paper waste, there's more of a need to keep track of spending habits in checking accounts, too.

Keeping tabs on online checking account statements

For checking account holders who choose the online-only option for statements and alerts, checking email and mobile alerts should be mandatory. Letters in the mail stating that an account is overdrawn or a payment didn't go through aren't very helpful if the fees have already posted and the payee has already complained about insufficient funds a week before the incident occurred. Checking account holders should make a point of checking their account balances and transactions on a daily basis to make sure the registers match their available and current balances.

Skip the receipt, don't skip monitoring plastic payments

Real estate company Urban Equities, who used to rely on tenants to mail paper checks, now has an online system to pay rent as of 2014. It'll be no surprise to see other real estate companies following the same pattern. With the popularity of credit and debit cards to pay bills online comes as much responsibility to keep track of online accounts, especially when "green" members skip the receipt. For account holders who use debit cards, credit cards and store charge cards, keeping track of a checking account is even more important. With the recent scare of hackers logging in to retail store sites and stealing store debit and credit card information, there's more of a risk that personal information has been released. Financial institutions have the option of monitoring checking accounts, but the account holder knows exactly what she paid for and with which card. Monitoring the account in a timely manner makes it even easier to stop unknown charges before they spiral out of control.

Don't skip the register

Even if an account holder frowns at the idea of printing out receipts, statements, confirmation purchase emails or terms of use contracts, the one booklet that should always be up to date is a checking account register. This is a one-stop shop to keep track of daily balances (to avoid bank or credit union fees), when direct deposits are sent to a checking account, the exact amount of each purchase and any fees. And if registers seem like a waste of paper, online spreadsheets (ex. Excel) provide the same organization options.

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