It may not be Thursday, but let’s talk throwbacks.
You know, like your ’80s perm, pet Tamagotchi … and your checkbook?
That’s right—even old money management mainstays, like scribbling your signature on a check before handing it to the cashier, have evolved over the years.
Be honest: When was the last time you wrote a check for anything but rent?
In honor of Financial Literacy Month, we’re taking a trip down memory lane to see how some of the best money lessons of yesteryear have gotten a bit of an update for today’s times.
But before we get started, a word to the wise: Whether your money style is more old school or new school, being financially savvy never goes out of style.
Classic Lesson #1: Balance Your Checkbook
That Was Then … Way back when, diligent money managers wouldn’t dare skip their weekly checkbook-balancing date.
The value of this crucial to-do was two-fold: Not only was it the only way to know how much money you’d shelled out, but it also helped prevent mistakes. Thanks to the time delays between writing a check and the recipient depositing it, balancing your checkbook helps you determine how much money you really have available to spend.
But the system is laborious, to say the least. Payments need to be recorded and subtracted on your paper ledger at the time of purchase, lest you forget about a transaction and make a costly miscalculation.
This Is Now … If you’re among the 93% of mobile banking users who lean on technology to review your accounts and recent transactions, you’re fully aware that checkbook balancing went out of style long ago.
It was a transition that needed to happen in order to bring our personal finances up to pace with the rest of daily life, says Dan Geller, Ph.D., a behavioral finance expert and author of “Money Anxiety.”
“The modus operandi of the ‘new schoolers’ is mobility, interactivity and speed,” Geller says. “They are accustomed to being in touch and informed at any time and from anywhere—and they expect the same from their banking relations.”
That said, mobile banking apps and other budgeting tools that link to your checking, savings, and credit card accounts haven’t replaced the fundamental reason why people once pored over their checkbooks—apps just serve up the information in a simpler, real-time way.
So take a few minutes every day to scroll through your app and make sure you recognize every charge on your accounts, so you can keep your budget on track.