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Financial Tracking not working..need suggestions

October 14th, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I feel like I am trying to make this overly complicated. I started writing everything in a little book. Then I created a spreadsheet...but now I don't know what to do. So, I need suggestions.

I need a way to track my spending that I do through debit card/checks/ach and a way to track my cash. For my variable expenses, I use cash. Sooo....What is the best way to track this? Should I do a spreadsheet for my non cash spending and maybe have a log for each "jar" of cash spending? I think I have thought about this so much I am not sure what kind of spreadsheet to use for my non cash spending. I would really love some help/ suggestions/ words of wisdom/ etc. Or some screen shots of what yall do? And then what you do with it. Add up categories at the end of the month and compare it to what you budgeted? I've lost my financial brain apparently.

7 Responses to “Financial Tracking not working..need suggestions”

  1. TashaC. Says:

    I use a spreadsheet on my computer. I try to make it as painless as possible, at some point that day or first thing in the morning I put in the date/ description of item/purchase price.

    At the end of the month I sigh. Then I force myself to sit down and separate each purchase into my categories like "food", "gas", "clothes". That's the time consuming part, so I do it in one sit down and afterward feel like I just completed a light bulb project (something really productive that I'm glad I did.)

    But doing the write downs daily is a pain too. But if I slack off a day or two then I forget my expenses, and its EVEN MORE OF A PAIN to log in to my CC statement and enter my spending in through the statement.

    If you skip a few days, forget a few expenses, don't give up- keep going. A partial picture is better than nothing. And each month you'll get better/ more habitual about doing it.

    Good luck!

  2. MonkeyMama Says:

    I think it's better just to have one spreadsheet for all spending. I can see that maybe you want to keep track of each kind of spending differently (maybe separate sheets that subtotal to a primary sheet?).

    I prefer software and automation. BUT, when we are on vacation (just were last week) I revert to a simple pen and paper method. Then I entered the totals into a spreadsheet (later) so that it did all the addition for me. If you look at my post on last Wednesday or Thursday you can see the final product. In the interim, I just had a piece of paper. Columns were for "type of expense" and rows were for "date/day of the week." Then I made a daily "total spending" subtotal, but just because that helped on the vacation side. Weekly or monthly subtotals might be useful for spending tracking and budget. I didn't total each spending category until we got home - I knew by keeping track of daily spending that we didn't spend too much.

    You could also set up a spreadsheet that works the same way, for keeping track. But just keep a smaller notebook for jotting down expenses. Just to say for vacation I was lugging around a full-sized notebook, but it's probably more practical to have a small notebook you can just jot notes in - and then translate into a more elaborate, or at the least a larger, spreadsheet.

    I don't know if that helps at all. ?? I can share a screen shot later if that helps.

    The most useful thing is probably to get into the habit of writing it all down so that you have good information. From there, then it will be organizing and making the information useful.

  3. Petunia 100 Says:

    I use my own simple spreadsheet. I don't spend much cash, and don't track it. It's my "allowance", and I can spend it however I choose. Spending is mostly done on rewards credit cards. I update my spreadsheet once per week or so.

    Each budget item in my spreadsheet has an "actual" column. In those cells, I have formulas. So as I record my transactions, I am updating the forumla. If I spend $50 on gas, I will enter "=50" in the cell. When I spend another $45 on gas, I edit the formulat so that it reads "=50+45", and so on. Off to the side, I keep notes of how far I have gotten. For example, "AmEx: $45 gas on 10/10". The next time I update, I know where I am.

    It works for me. Smile

  4. beawealthywarrior Says:

    I use YNAB(You Need A Budget) software and love! Check it out at www.youneedabudget.com, they even have tutorials for u to watch if needed.

  5. Kiki Says:

    my budget is in Excel. Each worksheet is a new year. I even have multi year forecasting with playing around with number for future years.

    I have used my budget categories for more than ten years to the amounts don't change. I do not track my "fun" money allotment. If I use it up, it's gone. If there are left overs it goes in the coin jar. I could tell you within 95% where I have used the money e.g. car repairs 2010 I saved $1500 and used $634 but my fun money is the only money not tracked. I get a set allotment and that is it.

  6. PatientSaver Says:

    Spending is spending, regardless of what method you use to pay for it.

    I track all my expenses on a single form that I've developed myself using Word. I record each and every expense, whether I pay for it in cash, check or credit card. It's the expense you want to record; method of payment is secondary.

    If you wanted to see my form, I'd be happy to email it to you, just need your address.

  7. ceejay74 Says:

    I do "future" tracking; basically I don't care what I spent my money on in the past, I just need to see where my money is going in the future, to make sure I have enough to cover things.

    I do track my spending in that when I make a grocery purchase, I add that amount to the line item that will be my CC payment, and I subtract the amount from the line item that's for groceries. But once everything balances out, I throw the receipts away and basically have no record of the past.

    Anyway, here's a post I wrote on my other blog about the tools I use: http://www.ordinarysavers.com/grab-a-copy-of-my-homemade-budgeting-tools/

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