Keeping track of your personal finances sounds simple enough, but with such busy lives, and in a world where you now literally tap your card on a reader and it instantly debits your account, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of what you are spending. Once upon a time, it was simple, you would be paid in cash and then you would spend this cash throughout the week or month – meaning you always knew what you had left.
Perhaps, you would have a piggy bank, or a savings jar; money was a very physical and tangible resource that was easy to keep track of… today, it’s more a case of digits and data. Indeed, if we look back at the notion of robbing a bank – people would have to break into a vault and haul out the physical resource of cash; whereas today, it’s simply a matter of hacking into a secure system and transferring digits of data.
CHECK YOUR BALANCE
Whilst this sounds obvious, it’s amazing how many people choose to avoid looking at their balance – due to the stress and anxiety of fearing the worst – they live in a cloud somewhere between denial and blissful ignorance. The challenge is that, no matter what the situation is, or isn’t, burying your head in the sand won’t help. If your balance is positive then you’re worrying over nothing, and potentially having sleepless nights, when in actuality, everything is fine… and if your balance is negative, you need to be aware so that you can stop it snowballing and spiralling out of control.
CREATE A SYSTEM TO KEEP TRACK OF INCOMINGS AND OUTGOINGS
You need to create a system to track of your finances on a consistent basis. There are many ways to do this, from finance based apps to more traditional spreadsheets, or even writing down your incomings and outgoings in a notepad. The key components to include are the date, amount spent or gained, and the category (e.g. fuel, salary, or groceries).
Technology can be very helpful when it comes to keeping track of your personal finances, and a lot of the technology is simple and quick to learn. Indeed, there are plenty of courses that can teach you how to create a spreadsheet, such as Training Connection Microsoft Excel classes, and this training can be very useful because Excel spreadsheets automate the calculations you need to make, meaning you can simply input the figures, sit back, and get the result within a couple of seconds; saving you lots of time.
DON’T RELY SOLELY ON CARDS
Yes, cards are convenient – but if you are wanting to keep track of what you spend, particularly when shopping for christmas presents, or going on a night out, leave your credit cards at home, and take cash. It’s all too easy to keep swiping your Visa card, as you are detached from the fact money is literally leaving your account each time you get your card out; whereas, with a reserve of cash that goes down each time you get your wallet out, you become more aware and associated with the dwindling resource that is your personal cash.
So, the basic points are keep an eye on your bank balance (particularly easy to do via mobile banking apps – and you can even set an alert to text you if your balance falls below a specified threshold)… create a system to keep track of your weekly/monthly spending… and try to leave you credit cards at home (particularly when going on a shopping spree or night out).
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