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How Do You Track Your Expenses?

July 8th, 2010 at 09:43 am

I'm wondering how everyone tracks their daily expenses or weekly expenses.

I have been writing them down in my check register, as either credit card expenses (which actually come out of the balance in the checkbook), on line bill pay items or cash.

I worry about the cash, because I forget to write down when I buy gasoline, and some items, but I'm trying.

So my question is, how do you track expenses during the day? Do you have a note pad? How often do you put them into your Quicken or spreadsheet or whatever program you use to track budget?

8 Responses to “How Do You Track Your Expenses?”

  1. MonkeyMama Says:

    I don't use cash at all (harder to track).

    I use Quicken. I don't really write anything down. I just download all the credit card activity, about once a week. Sometimes less, sometimes more. I have a pretty good feel on how much I have to spend, so don't track overly closely.

    I enter all bill pays/checks once every month. I just do the whole month, before the month even begins. I enter everything in my bank's bill pay site and in Quicken at the same time. I rarely write paper checks, so when I do, I tend to enter it right away so I don't forget. I wrote a check 2 nights ago and entered it into Quicken this morning. I mostly have to worry about paying the bills at the first of the month (after pay day) and then making sure on the last day of the month that I have enough for everything (credit card, insurance, mortgage, all due the 30th). From about the 2nd to the 29th nothing substantial is coming out of my account. Why I just wrote a check without even looking at my checkbook balance. But, maybe a little reckless to not put it in right away. That's the kind of stuff that trips me up because I will forget about it.

  2. scottish girl Says:

    I've started to write down everything I spend in a notebook. I used to keep it in my bag but my bag isn't big enough. When I get home I write down what I have spent. I usually try and write what I've spent every day but I haven't managed to be so efficent this week.

    I have direct debits that come out of my account on the same date every month (phone bill, car insurance, car payment) so I know when they're due. It's the additional spending that gets me, MM is right, it's hard to keep track of cash. Sometimes I will pay with my debit card just so I can see on my statement exactly where the money went.

  3. Broken Arrow Says:

    My old method is to use programs such as Splashmoney or PocketMoney, designed for smartphones and PDAs. Over the years, they've allowed me to literally get down to the last cent, updated weekly.

    While I am stilling using that method, I'm experiment with others now, that does not require fancy phones or PDAs, because well, they're expensive. And they take up space on my belt.

    So, what I am trying out now is I would pocket and take home all the receipts, and as I check them on my checking account, I would throw out the confirmed receipts.

    Now, I do want to say that this new method is still experimental, and I haven't fully transitioned over just yet. But, the idea is that my checking has fairly advanced features that allows me analyze my spending, and as a single guy, my budget is super easy to being with.

  4. CB in the City Says:

    I save receipts and track the money spent on a spreadsheet. If I pay cash and don't get a receipt, I try to remember to write it on one of the receipts I'm saving. What I'm worst at is remembering to check my online bank account for bills that are automatically withdrawn, but I try to do that every few days.

  5. Miz Pat Says:

    I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who forgets cash transactions. I am trying to make journaling expenses a part of my day, like perhaps doing a regular journal.

    I may have quicken for free on my computer too - I will look into that. It might be a good way to see what I'm doing. I have online bill pay too, which means I write few checks. I don't take payments out automatically though. I force myself to set up each month's bill, mostly because if I didn't, I'd lose track.

    And I have never figured out the extra money in my checking account. - I know its there. Perhaps if I kept a running journal of credit card and bill pay expenses, I would have a better idea.

    Thank you for your thoughts on this subject.

  6. Jan Says:

    I track my bills due & payments made on a calendar I print of from DIY planners. I'm going to start tracking my daily spending in a notebook so I can get a better idea of the cash leaks.

  7. HouseHopeful Says:

    I have a spreadsheet at home. BUt when I am out & about & using cash - I tend to write down my expenditures on the notepad feature on my cell phone. Its actually really convenient. Before I used that, I carried a little piece of paper/pen around & put the info into my spreadsheet at night.

  8. Jerry Says:

    We kind of have to use cash because of the area of the world where we are currently living. However, I have a tiny notebook that fits into my wallet so I have some insurance that I can track what I spend very easily. DW and I are going through everything together once per week and this leads to simple management on an Excel file.

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