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Financial Bad Habits--Managing the Checkbook

December 30th, 2006 at 09:46 pm

One thing that I really need to get better at is balancing my checkbook. I tend to go for days with a general idea of where I am in the checking account, but I don't actually sit down and do the actual math. This makes it really easy to burn through money that probably should have been spent on other things or put into savings.

So I'd really like to break that bad habit. I need to try to keep it up to date and balanced daily, and if not daily then every other day. I also need to enter it into some kind of tracking software at least once a week.

Tracking software goes hand in hand with another thing I'd like to begin. I want to start tracking all expenses. Ultimately I'd like to do it all year, every year, but I think for now I'd like to do it starting with January and try it for a month and then re-evaluate after I get through the month. I'd like to keep a little notebook in my purse so I can write down everything and then transfer it over into a spreadsheet or something like that.

If I can manage to keep a spending journal and balance my checkbook daily, I think the miscellaneous money that gets frittered away would stop frittering and things would be easier for us.

5 Responses to “Financial Bad Habits--Managing the Checkbook”

  1. boomeyers Says:

    Keeping track of your spending can be tedious. I did it for two months. Makes you want to have more no spend days!

  2. PRICEPLUS Says:

    I am told it takes about 30 some odd days to develop a habit! Make the effort to keep records and you'll find life so much easier!

    Now I just have to take the advice I just gave you!WinkBig Grin

  3. veronak Says:

    when I first got my checking accout years ago I bounced checks right and left ( I am not proud to say) any howI have buckled down and have not bounce a check in over 10 years I balance at least once a week and I use MS Money to track all transaction including the cash in my purse and love it you can try excel as well
    Good luck

  4. baselle Says:

    I have a free checkbook program, My Checkbook, on my Palm Tungsten E that I use to track my spending. I carry my Palm around constantly, so I track everything as I spend. Portability is very important for me - excel at home isn't enough.

    I even add before I add - if that makes any sense - so if I'm waiting for a bill, I'll add the estimate, or if I'm moving money to savings, I move the money out while I track it. I carve up my paycheck so I know what I spend.

    I reconcile every couple of days or so from my online account. Its my secret!

  5. Broken Arrow Says:

    I honestly do believe that the solution to tracking your expenses successfully lies in finding the method that works best for you.

    The simplest and most obvious way is to simply use different sets of cash from different physical envelopes. We all know that, and it works.

    Other methods include simply pocketing receipts and then listing it on spreadsheet or tracking software at the end of the night and let the computer do it for you.

    My method is to do all that on my PDA, and I do it on the spot, right after I leave the check-out line.

    It's just some thoughts anyway, and like PricePlus said, once we find a method that works best for us, the rest is just a matter of getting used to it as a habit. After that, it'll work pretty much on auto-pilot.

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