In Ideas for Staying out of Debt I plan to cover my ideas/plans on how to stay out of debt.
If you often spend money and by the end of the month your asking yourself “what did I spend my money on?” then this is for you. You got to make sure that your tracking your Expenses vs. Income. When I first tried this I would often just give up for months at a time. It was hard to make sure I entered every transaction into GnuCash and one year I just completely stopped, since I was becoming lazy.
Here’s what you need to do in order to keep track of your money
- record purchases as soon as you buy an item
- keep all receipts until you enter them
- if no receipt, then make note, for me I use my cell phone
- sit down once a week to do all your bills
- every so often reconcile with your bank’s online banking
- make sure you plan for big purchases
The first three are all related, make sure that when you purchase even a meal that you sit down and record the purchases. I was/am horrible about this and I would often forget to and ended up forgetting what I even bough. Now I try my best to record it within a day or two.
You need to set a day aside each week to pay all your bills. This way you can open the checkbook once and be done. Plus you can start to get a better view of your finances. I know when I do that I end up thinking is it really worth the cost I paying.
This is one thing I do every couple of days. I just give my bank’s online banking a quick visit and ensure that nothing unusual is going on. I will also make sure that the purchases match up and wasn’t over charged.
Finally, make sure to plan for big purchases. Case in point I knew I’ld be building a computer and for three months I prepared for it. Now in my case I started to buy individual parts for it bits at a time, but I could have just the same saved back the money. Just a little bit here and their can go far. Often times a big purchase I want I spend a long time planning before I actually make the final decision to buy.