How I Keep My Numbers

by anne on January 14, 2009

The only way to get out of vagueness around money is to keep track of everything that comes in and everything that goes out. If you want realy clarity that means you’ll develop a way to track every single penny. It’s worth figuring out how to do it. Here’s how I keep track:

  • Every day I save my receipts.
  • I carry a 3 x 5 card to record spending I don’t get a receipt for.
  • Every morning except Saturday, I enter yesterday’s income and expenses in Quicken – it’s easy to learn; so is MSN’s Money. Some people use a spreadsheet and others keep it all on paper in expense books they buy at the stationer’s.
  • Every week, on Sunday, I reconcile my two checkbooks and, in a spending plan spreadsheet enter my actual expenses.

Once I got going on a six-day-a-week pattern, I find I spend no more than 15 minutes a day, and usually no more than 15 or 20 minutes to reconcile my checkbooks. 

Why do I take Saturday off? As it happens, my Saturday’s usuall start about 7 a.m. I also beleve we’re all entitled to a day or two off from work. Saturday and often Sunday afternoon’s are my predictable time-outs, but it could be any day. The magic is taking a day off from this system, but no more than a day.

Try it for a month and see how you feel about your money at the end of that time.


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