How to use a checking account – Whether you are heading off to college or starting down your career path, you need to know how to manage a checking account. Just because the monthly statement says you have $1,000 doesn’t mean you really do! Have somebody you trust teach you how to “reconcile” your monthly bank statement – identifying which checks haven’t cleared yet … and those you forgot to record. You may have “overdraft protection” at your bank, but often it is extremely expensive -- $35 for every check that the bank pays even when you didn’t have the money. And you’d better come up with the shortage pretty quick if you want to keep the account open. Sit down with whichever parent pays your family’s monthly household bills – so you get an idea of what it takes to cover groceries, utilities, rent, and other expenses. There are short courses available on the internet that will help a new checking account holder learn how to manage an account responsibly.