Do you still keep a check book register? I do……I’m old school yo! Actually, it’s part of my personality to be organized about this kind of thing. I STILLLLLL carry my check book register with the neat and tidy lines in my purse. I save ALLL my receipts and when I get back to the house (or sometimes in the car) I get it out and record my purchases…using the rounding up method I described in an early post.
That register is the central account in our house. Both Greg and I have debit cards for that account and when ever we make a purchase we save the receipt and write it in the book. You’ll often hear me ask Greg, “are you caught up in the book?” We spend what we want (with in reason) but we record it in there so that we can balance it out and ALWAYS know where we stand.
It helps to “keep it real” YO! We always know where we stand it and it keeps us on budget. PLUS, I’m a small business owner, so I’m already in the habit of saving my receipts for business purposes….I guess it just leaked into our personal life!
The weird thing is, I’m usually pretty “digital” about most things..but not this. It works for me. Yes I check my online account thru my bank to monitor that there aren no funky charges or that someone didn’t steal my identity, but the bank always shows a higher number than what my register shows. Just because the bank says my checking account has X amount of dollars doesn’t mean that it’s what I ACTUALLY have available. A check might not of cleared or a transaction might not have gone thru just yet, so by having a total in my register, I realistically know where I stand.
The act of writing it down, really makes you be intentional about your cash flow. Plus by using my checking account as the central system, I don’t spend money out of my savings accounts unless I think twice about it. We have several other savings accounts designated for travel, home improvements, etc but we don’t withdrawal or spend money out of those accounts unless it’s written in the checking register……I have to transfer the amount I want to spend into the checking account prior to the purchase (yes I do this digitally, I don’t live under a rock). I do the same with my credit card purchases. I also write those in the register so that at the end of the month, the purchases have been accounted for and I can pay them in full. I earn cash back rewards without paying interest….but that’s for a whole other post!
Although it seems complicated and that it may take a lot of time, in reality, I spend maybe 10 minutes each week on it…..and I always know where I stand! 🙂