Tracking Your Finances With an Expense Book

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I don’t know why I am so amped up about our finances this year but since I’m feeling euphoric I’m gonna go ahead and roll with it.

Finances are one thing I really don’t get tired of talking about. When we were super overwhelmed with debt, I would crunch numbers and want to talk about solutions for hours with my husband.

Now that we are getting closer to being debt free, the desire only increases.

I read a lot from the financial experts such as Dave Ramsey about budgets and tracking expenses. While Dave has plenty of worksheets and software I have found that it just works best for to keep it simple.

A simple way to track expenses is with a sturdy ledger or notebook.

I have been tracking expenses since 2004 and have used Quicken, MSMoney and Dave Ramsey’s budget tools. Each time my husband was ready to have a finance meeting I’d have to log in, print off or tally up the information hew needed. It just wasn’t convenient especially if he wanted answers instantly.

In 2006 my husband suggested that I write the expenses in a notebook. I began doing this but didn’t initially abandon my sophisticated software.
It really wasn’t until early last year that I gave up gadgets, apps and programs for money management and downgraded to good’ol paper and pen.

What Do We Track?

Emergency Fund Deposit
Life Insurance
Cell phones
Electric & GasCar Insurance
Gym Membership


How We Track It.

We have 7 columns in our bill book that track the following information:

Company name
Amount Due
Date Due
Amount Paid
Payment Method

Many of our bills stay relatively the same from month to month such as our mortgage, life insurance, YMCA membership, cable, cell phones and internet.  They are drafted as well so it’s just a matter of filling in the details. That makes tracking those easy. As the other bills come in we just fill in those details as well.

Keeping it simple allows us to include our children in the process. My 8 and 10 year olds often get the task of drawing the columns, while my 17 year old is sometimes asked to write in the bills owed.

As each bill is paid, it’s either trashed or filed.

What type of system do you use to keep up with your monthly expenses?


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