Controlling Your Finances

How you watch your money will be as important as how much money you earn. When you receive your bank statements (whether by snail mail or e-mail), it's vitally important that you scour it for errors and validate any charges. If you find errors, you may only have sixty to ninety days to catch and correct them, so it's best to call the bank, and then write a verifying letter so that you have a record for your files.

Also, it's imperative that you balance your checking account monthly. It may seem daunting, but if you stay on top of it, it's merely a matter of checking all credits against your withdrawal receipts, checks, automatic withdrawals, or charges; checking the debits against your deposit slips or direct deposit paycheck stubs, or interest earned; and then subtracting any not-yet-recorded items from the bank balance.

Alert

Most employers offer direct deposits for your paychecks. Make sure you know the actual date that the funds will land in your account so that you can make sure any automatic deductions or expenses can be fully funded by the due date. Give yourself at least three days' leeway to account for glitches.

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