Comment gérer efficacement son compte chèques ?July 12, 2017

How to effectively manage a chequing account

Learning to manage a chequing account is one of the first steps towards achieving your personal finance goals. This skill is important for everyone, but especially for people who have low income or who are struggling to get out of debt. 

Why is a chequing account so important? 

A chequing account is where you manage your day-to-day expenses and spending. If you can achieve stability when it comes to this, then other aspects of your personal finances will fall into place. 

Older readers might remember the times when people kept track of their spending in a small ledger that they carried with their cheques. This pen-and-paper method has been replaced by debit cards, ATM machines and online account management tools, but the idea remains the same: keep track of your spending so that you can avoid overdraft fees and stick to your budget. 

Here are some tips to help you correctly manage your chequing account. 

  • Avoid fees. The first goal for everyone when they first open a chequing account should be to avoid fees. Many banks charge monthly maintenance fees. However, some will waive the fees if you keep a minimum balance or if you set up direct deposit (when your employer deposits your money directly into the bank instead of issuing you a cheque). Also, be aware of what ATM fees, if any, your bank charges. 
  • Take full advantage of online account management tools. You can log on regularly to check your balance or make sure that all recent charges are correct. Some bank websites may even allow you to set up alerts, such as low balance alerts. Ideally, you will already know your balance, but getting an email or text message when your balance drops below a certain level could be helpful. Keep in mind that not all purchases will show up immediately on the website. It may take time for the vendor to process the charge. 
  • Have a parallel savings account. One way to build financial discipline and get in the habit of saving is to open a basic savings account at the same bank where you have a chequing account. These savings accounts will not earn much interest, but they will allow you to keep your savings separate from your “spending money.” Even if you only put away a few dollars per month, you will at least have something to use when you are confronted with unexpected expenses. 
  • Never spend more than you have. You might be tempted to overdraw your account, especially if you are hit with unexpected expenses and you do not have enough in your chequing to cover the cost of these extra bills. Instead of doing this and being hit with overdraft fees, you should consider getting an online personal loan. These loans are easy to apply for; you usually just need a bank statement and pay stub. If you are approved, the money will be deposited in your account in a matter of hours. You can then use it to pay off your unexpected expenses and repay the balance when the next payday arrive. 

If you can correctly manage your chequing account, the other areas of your financial life should fall into place easily. 

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