New check register

The lines on the standard check register have bands of alternating light and dark (see above left) - designed so the user can use either the light or the dark band to write in or use both a light and dark if one needs more space. I had found that the smaller option was too small for me to write in comfortably and the larger option was too big - it was a bit awkward and clumsy to write that big or to fill the space. I needed something right between the two. For decades I had accepted the standard issue register and mounted it in the checkbook cover just like we're supposed to do. Then, Eureka, I realized I didn't have to do that. I didn't have to use the register provided with the box of checks. There would be no blemish on my Permanent Record if I replaced it with one of my own creation.

I don't ever take my checkbook anywhere - it is used only for paying bills and mailing checks. Cash I get from the ATM and purchases are made with cash or credit card (so I can earn airline miles). So, I didn't even need the cover that I had been using all these years. The register didn't need to be attached to the checkbook. I keep all in a file folder marked 'Bills to pay' in the cabinet next to my desk. That freed me up to design and print my own register. I was also able to address some other concerns.

I started by laying out the columns I would need - the check number, the date, who the check was to, the amounts, and the balance. I spaced them to be appropriate for the size of my handwriting (the previous spaces for dollar amounts were a bit too small). The lines of entries are separated by thicker bands. These allow room for writing yet show a distinct division between the lines. I made them grey so they wouldn't overpower the page. At first, I included the column for putting a check mark from the monthly statement. This column was right between the two columns for marking payments and deposits. Instead of another column, I replaced it with a column of circles. These provide a symmetrical distinction between the two columns and make it easier to fill in to show checks in the statement instead of having to make a check mark. I added the decimal points for each entry line to help guide the location of the dollar amounts and help to order and neatify the page. The Balance heading is set in bold to denote a hierarchy of importance. I use an entry line to mark each new month.

There are two sections on a single letter-size sheet. This makes it easy to keep in the file folder with the checkbook (with no cover) and easy to file for archives. The horizontal landscape page orientation allows easy recognition while flipping thru the file folder.

Designed: April, 2006