Banking Basics: Managing an Account before College

Posted by Natalie Martin on Feb 24, 2017 2:25:00 PM

Piggy bank broken with money inside on white background.jpegShipping off to college will creep up faster than one can believe! Saving and securing enough spending money prior to college will make life easier and stress free. Trust me, there will be nights where you’ll be sick of eating Ramen and dining hall food and you’ll want to splurge somewhere off campus. To assure you’re money savvy and knowledgeable, there are a few basics to learn such as writing checks, operating an ATM, and keeping track of your account.

Writing a check

In order to have checks, you first need a checking account. Checking accounts can be opened at your nearest financial institution. Once you open a checking account, you can order checks from your bank or a third-party provider. Tip: generally, simple checks are less expensive than fancy designed checks. On a check, your checking account number, routing number, name, and address will be listed.


To fill out a check follow these steps:

  • Enter the date at the top of the check.
  • Write the name of the company or person you are paying money to in the "Pay to the Order of" line.
  • At the end of the Pay to the Order of line, write the number amount of the check (for example, $25 or $48.28).
  • On the dollars line, write the check amount in words. This confirms the number amount (for example, forty-eight dollars and 28/100). Note that you can write the cents as a fraction.
  • If there is blank space left after you write in the amount, draw a line out to the end—stopping before the word "dollars"—so no one can add to the amount
  • Sign your name on the line at the lower-right corner of your check.
  • In the Memo in the bottom-left corner, you have the option to write what the check is for. You don’t have to fill this line out, but it will help to jog your memory if you forget.  

Operating an ATM

ATMs are the ultimate time saver. Sometimes you don’t want to wait in line to see a teller, or the bank is closed. Either way, an ATM is a fast and easy way to withdraw, check your balance or deposit cash. All ATMs operate in the same basic way, but sometimes they may have a different appearance. Another thing to keep in mind is ATM fees. A fee can occur if the ATM you are using is not from your bank. Sometimes these fees are unavoidable, but if you know you’ll need cash, try and find one from your bank.

To use an ATM:

  • Insert your ATM, debit card, or credit card into the machine.
  • Enter your PIN code and press enter.
  • Select your transaction: Withdrawal, Deposit, Transfer Funds, or Account Balance.
  • You will also need to select or enter the amount of money you want to withdraw or deposit.
  • Your transaction will be processed.
  • Your card will be returned to you, and a receipt will be printed if you requested one. Don't forget your card! 

Keeping track of your account

As you deposit and withdraw money over time, it is best practice to have a constant idea of how much money is in your account. Knowing the amount will help avoid overdrafts (going into the negative) and other possible fees. Also, if you find yourself writing checks, make sure to record the amount in the check register. Lastly, don’t forget to save!


If you are interested in becoming business savvy, check out the different business classes and programs we offer this summer:

Julian Krinsky Business School

Business Entrepreneurship at Enrichment

Economics at Enrichment

Math Prep Course at Enrichment

Finance at Enrichment

Stock Market Trading at Enrichment

Vegas Math at Enrichment

Math Quest at Xploration

Business at Xploration

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