Recording your transactions, monitoring your account balance and activity and having a backstop in place are key to having a handle on your checking account.
Step 3: Embark on a path to financial security.
If you long for financial stability and security, a good place to start is with how you manage your money on a day-to-day basis. You won't achieve financial security by throwing money away, so start by finding a checking account that fits your financial lifestyle. Maybe this is at your local bank, maybe it's at an Internet bank. But the goal should be nothing less than a free checking account.
Then it is up to you to manage your
cash flow in such a way as to avoid fees for bounced
checks and ATM usage. A proper fit for your financial
lifestyle will avoid cumbersome balance requirements
and the fees that act as a setback to financial
Just as importantly, the right checking account will allow
you to maximize the money that goes toward more
productive uses, such as building up a much needed
emergency savings cushion in an account where
the yield stays ahead of inflation, rather than
being stranded in a low-yielding checking account.
Getting a handle on how much is needed in your checking account to cover monthly expenses and striving to maximize your savings are necessary steps on the pathway to future financial security.
To find the best checking account
in your area, see
Bankrate's checking rate search page.
To search the checking account offerings
available at Internet banks, see
Bankrate's online checking rate pages.
To find the best returns for your
spare cash, check
out the highest-yielding money market accounts
and savings accounts on Bankrate.com.