Lately when I shop I am asked a peculiar question:

"Would you like your receipt?"

How much did I spend?

I always thought this to be a strange question. Who wouldn't want a record of their purchase? If using cash to make your purchase, no, I don't always take a receipt. But when using any form of card - credit card or debit card drawn from my checking account, I need to have that record "in hand" to reconcile my accounts.

And that is why the question is asked. It turns out many people do not reconcile their accounts. I believe many people don't know how to balance their checkbook. Many will rely on "electronic alerts from their bank" when their balance gets too low, or "overdraft protection" to keep them from bouncing checks. I wonder this when I see people at the ATM looking at their balance and question the amount - either they thought there was more money in their account, or they can't believe the "available balance" (drinks are on me!).

I asked the clerks at a neighborhood convenience store about people taking their receipts. They told me that more people will take their receipts earlier in the day, when the clientele is older. As the customer base gets younger later in the day, less and less people will take their receipt when using a card to make a purchase.

I took an impromptu poll here at the radio station. Almost everyone here takes a copy of their receipt and will do some sort of reconciliation. I am extremely diligent when it comes to my accounts. I can tell you to the penny how much is in my account and the balance on my credit card. It has been years since I bounced a check, and all of my bills are paid ahead of time.

How do you handle your banking? Do you reconcile twice a week, or do you throw caution to the wind and use luck to keep from creating a negative balance?