Friday, September 10, 2010

Financial Friday: Write it Down

Courtesy of
When I was in college, I couldn’t remember a thing I learned in class if I didn’t write it down. The same goes for my expenses – if I don’t write how much I spent down, I won’t remember what I spent my money on…until it’s too late.

When I first got a checkbook back in junior high, I used the balance sheet for every single thing I purchased and every single bill I paid. However, as time went on, my expenses became larger and more consistent, and I stopped writing all of my expenses down due to the weighty “chore” it became. But it wasn’t long before I realized that because I couldn’t see, everyday, how much money was left in my account, I was spending more than I actually had – which resulted in overdraft fees, which resulted in (obviously) more unexpected expenses for me.

The point of today’s Financial Friday tip is to encourage you to write everything down. Being able to actually see, on a daily basis, how much you’re spending, what you’re buying, and how much money is in your bank account makes a world of difference – and makes it almost impossible to make any “overspending mistakes.” Keeping track of everything I buy with the checkbook balance sheet just stopped being conducive to my computer-driven lifestyle, although the balance sheet may work better for you – just do what works best for you. Below are some other ways I keep track of my expenses:
-Excel spreadsheet: Using Excel is just like using a balance sheet, but electronically. I sit in front of a computer for most of the day, so Excel is a much easier way for me to write my expenses down – and basically has a built-in calculator that shows my account balance after every new expense without me having to do anything. I have to admit, I was skeptical of at first. A website wants my bank account number? Really? But I’ve discovered it’s a safe and secure site that helps me manage my financial goals, my bank accounts, and will even tell me if one of my accounts is getting low on funds via email.

How do you keep track of your finances? Do you write everything down?


  1. I very rarely use a credit card (only for travel or big purchases) so I tend to operate a lot from my debit account. I save all my receipts and make sure I check my account every day for the purchases to clear. This keeps me constantly looking at my account and seeing where I'm spending too much money.

  2. That's great that you rarely use a credit card! I've definitely overspent by overusing my credit card, which I now have hidden in my desk at home to ensure I don't use it anymore...unless there's an emergency. ;)