How To Keep Track of Your Money

with Pencil and Paper

How To Keep Track of Your Money with Pencil and Paper

Getting Started

If you want to learn how to keep track of your money with pencil and paper, you will need a few basic supplies.

While loose-leaf paper and pencils can work, why not invest a little more into a more durable-but still technology-free-record-keeping system?

A small ledger notebook or mini-notepad and ink pen only costs a couple of dollars and can make your financial tracking a lot easier.

Basic Techniques to Record Daily Spending

Writing down what you spend every day is a key toward good financial record maintenance.

You can make it simple or more detailed. If you have problems remembering where your money goes each month, this tool will be a key to your ongoing financial clarity.

If you spend $1.75 on a soda, write down "Soda, $1.75" or something to that effect. You may want to be especially mindful to track cash spending, issued checks, and debit card transactions.

Advanced Techniques to Record Daily Spending

Some people create a personal spending plan that enables them to decide where they'll spend their money each month. Not-so-obvious spending categories suggested by literature published by the non-profit financial recovery group Debtors Anonymous include the following:

· Gifts

· Spiritual (this can cover donations to a charity or church)

· Exercise (could include gym membership, dance or yoga classes, personal training)

Checkbook Balancing

Virtually every checking account comes with a register to help you keep track of your money with pencil and paper by recording your your checking account balance and outstanding transactions.

But are you also recording what you're spending on the debit card attached to the account? If you're not, this can cause a major case of overdraft drama and fees. For example, you may swipe your debit card at the gas pump and assume you have enough money in the account to cover the charge.

However, it is all too easy to later on forget that the transaction happened. This is when learning how to keep track of your money with pencil and paper can really come in handy.

Debit Card Considerations

If you rely on the bank to manage your debit card transactions on your behalf, you should pay special attention to this section.

Just because the bank approves the transaction doesn't mean you have money in the account. Some checking accounts offer overdraft protection. Your debit card acceptance-if you're not mindfully tracking your money-doesn't mean much of anything. Sometimes it takes days for the actual transaction to go through; other times a restaurant transaction authorized for $20 may go through as $24 because you added a tip.

If you're not keeping track of your checks and debit card purchases to the penny and often live from paycheck to paycheck, learning how to keep track of your money with pencil and paper can save you a lot of money in unnecessary overdraft fees. This money could be used to create a better savings plan. Also, not bouncing checks and overdrawing checking accounts will keep you out of bad check writing databases such as ChexSystems.