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How do you keep track of household expenses?

  • There is a great discussion going on at Busy Chef about how much we all spend on food per month and it got me wondering -- how do you keep track of what you spend? Quicken, spreadsheet, mental notes?
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 30th May 2008
  • I use Moneydance, similar to quicken but cheaper, less bloated, and easier to use. But I'm not good at keeping up with things. I balance our checkbook, and pay the bills on time but even downloading the data from the credit cards seems to be too much work. Never mind entering the receipts in one by one. So while we live withing our means, we we don't have the data to learn to live on less. I'm not sure what the answer is but I'm eager to learn what other people are doing. Or, if anyone has any ideas to share.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jenns on 30th May 2008
  • I just have a little spreadsheet where I balance my checkbook, and I breakdown my expenses there also. I have to track all of my spending weekly for my expense account, so I put all my receipts in the same folder, and do it all at the same time. It's been interesting to see where my money is going.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Niki D on 30th May 2008
  • I have MS Money but really all i do for the 'quick look' is an excel spreadsheet. Finances for me are one of those household things that i procrastinate about - unfortunatly! I need to get them in order... it's driving me nuts!!!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Kate on 2nd June 2008
  • I'm very old fashioned when it comes to this. I have a ledger notebook where I carefully budget what we spend every month. Then I make one withdrawal of cash every month, and put that money into envelopes. One for groceries, one for gas, etc. and I write checks for the bills. That's it. If there's not enough money in the envelopes that month, we don't buy it. If we're close to running out of gas, we cut out non-essential trips, etc. This system has made balancing the checkbook a snap, and I'm never worried about if we have enough money for something (I just have to check how much cash I have).
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by mamajama on 2nd June 2008
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    Flag as inappropriate Posted by rose on 6th March 2011
  • I do the same, get cash out to put in separate envelopes for groceries, spending money, etc. Some things like gas that we use the debit card for I just add up at the end of the month.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Telecommuting Mom on 7th March 2011
  • There are some great new web tools that I have recently started using to keep track of my family's expenses. The latest one is It is essentially the (a site that centralizes all of your banking accounts, bills, loan accounts etc. which I have also recently started using) of healthcare, and it centralizes all of your health care accounts and lets you see your claims in a way that is understandable. There are some great visuals that allow you to see how much you have paid towards your deductible, how much your insurance company has paid, how much each service costs etc. I think this is such a great way of keeping track of your health care expenses, which for me, used to be so confusing. You guys should definitely check out both and!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Angela on 24th March 2011
  • We have created a financial calendar. Most of our payments are organized to come out of our accounts automatically at different times during the month. To keep track we made a calendar through Microsoft publisher that we can then write down what comes in and out when and where. Very helpful.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MomMachine on 25th March 2011

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