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Where do I start?

March 3rd, 2013 at 03:50 pm

Last week, I blogged about how I ended up with the enormous amount of consumer debt that I have. Basically, it's just because I have bad spending habits. This week, I want to focus on how I can turn those habits around and get rid of that number.

Obviously, I need to know where my money is going. The credit cards have been taken out of my wallet, so all that is left is my debit card. That's helping limit some of the spending. Plus, it makes it easy to track where I have spent my $ each week because I can download right in to Quicken. Great, but again, that's AFTER the fact.

I've decided that I need to know BEFORE I spend anything, whether or not I can afford it. That means budgeting and having that budget with me at all times. So I am going to have to either go to the Cash-Only envelope method or find some type of (preferably free) App that lets me do the same thing with my debit card.

My personal preference would be to have an App for a couple of reasons. I hate carrying cash. Many years ago I had my locker broken in to at school and my wallet stolen. At the time, losing that $30.00 was a huge deal. We never did recover my wallet or find out who did it. Another reason I have touched on already is that I like the convenience of having my spending download to my financial software automatically. I always have my smart phone with me, so being able to enter things right away is ideal.

The newest version of Quicken appears to have an associated App that would let me track my budget on the fly, so that's one possibility. Can anyone recommend any other software/apps?

5 Responses to “Where do I start?”

  1. sarah Says:

    Try an excel spreadsheet. I've found out it works better than any app I've seen

  2. Carolina Girl Says:

    I started using the cash only in January and have mostly been able to stick with this. I track my cash through Quicken along with my checking account. I know they have an app but I haven't utilized that yet.

  3. JulieA Says:

    You don't have to carry the cash with you but I think you do have to carry your budget and how much money you have left with you. You can use a software/apps like YNAB (You Need a Budget), you can use the envelope system, or you can just keep a stack of 3 x 5 notecards that track your spending in each category. Whatever works best for you is what you should use.

    I have nothing against Quicken or other software but the problem with downloading your transactions is at that point ... you've already spent the money. It is a history of what you've already spent.

    You need to make your "Do I have Enough Money Left to Buy This?" check before you spend the money. That is why the Apps and Spreadsheets and other methods that you carry in your pocket and consult before you head to the cash register are so effective.

  4. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    How about if you take NO money and NO means of spending with you when you're out sometimes? Is your every trip out meant for buying something?

  5. Bingo Says:

    I keep my budget on an excel spreadsheet and usually open it to check once a day. Thankfully I have a job I can count on and have projected out bills and additional payments to reduce debt. I make adjustments immediately if something changes so I understand the consequences. I hate the idea of budgeting down to the penny for misc. expenses so instead I allot a certain dollar amount for household expenses. This is not where the problem lies, it's all charge expenses for me, so making myself write them down and pay the bill in full if I overspend really keeps those choices real to me. I also cancelled all misc. charge cards so as not to nickel and dime my budget anymore. Good luck!

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