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How do you keep track of money throughout the month

(47 Posts)
Jemster Sat 26-Apr-14 16:09:29

My dh and I are not great at finances and have just 'got by' month to month up until now.
He will keep an eye on things online but I am terrible at being organised when it comes to money. Thankfully most of our bills are set up and paid by dd. It's what's left over that I find hard to budget with.
I do have a spreadsheet on excel with all our finances on but I don't look at it nearly as often as I need to to manage things properly. I was wondering if anyone uses anything on an ipad or phone as these are so much quicker than waiting for our ancient laptop to fire up!

I would be very grateful for any tips on how you manage the money you have left after all bills are paid throughout the month. At the moment me & dh just both dip in to it whenever we fancy and often the last week before payday is a struggle.

WipsGlitter Sat 26-Apr-14 16:15:38


What's left to spend - record all expenditure and cash withdrawals

coffeewithcreamm Sat 26-Apr-14 16:18:55

I swear by my iPad app called 'Accounts' - it's changed the way I look after my money, I enter everything into it, down to the last penny. It's the one with the graph. Think it's by graham Halley

HecatePropylaea Sat 26-Apr-14 16:25:33

I check my budget every day (excel spreadsheet, massive cashflow forecast) and I stick to it.

when I was single, I would take out my wages in cash, apart from what went into my pension and my tessa, and pay all my bills on payday, do my shopping, get what needed to be got then I would split the remaining cash into the number of weeks until my next payday and put it in envelopes. Then I knew what was in the envelope was what I had to spend that week and when it was gone it was gone.
it was effective but as with all money management strategies, it relies entirely on self discipline. If you dont have that, then no budget is going to work.

Davinaaddict Sat 26-Apr-14 16:44:48

We did a spreadsheet for all outgoings, decided how much spending money was a reasonable amount each and then made sure any left overs went to savings at payday.

I draw out cash for my spending money so I know exactly how much I have for the month. Once it's gone, it's gone. Hard but it works for us.

SignoraStronza Sat 26-Apr-14 16:48:26

My bank (First Direct) sends me a mini statement by text every morning. Most of my DDs go out on the same day (just after dh transfers money in) and this system let's me know exactly where I am.
Also try not too use the cheque book for things either.

HecatePropylaea Sat 26-Apr-14 16:56:40

blush that reads snotty and superior. It honestly wat meant to. I just meant that has to be the basis of it. I dont think that sounds much better. Sorry. Hope you know what I am trying to say.

Pinkandpurplehairedlady Sat 26-Apr-14 17:00:45

I calculate how much I need to leave in my account every month for direct debits and savings (I have several accounts for different things like car tax, insurance, holidays etc) and then withdraw the rest in cash. I pay cash for all the shopping and bits and bobs I buy over the month.

Dancealot Sat 26-Apr-14 17:09:38

I calculate at the start of each month how much I have left after all bills. I then just use onenote on my phone to keep a running total of my spending.

NickNackNooToYou Sat 26-Apr-14 17:09:51

Sit down and work out all your income and outgoings, boring but really necessary.

Then a spreadsheet of all monthly direct debits and I keep a daily spending diary. It's amazing how much I used to fritter away on shite bits and bobs. The daily diary really focuses my mind smile

I also have separate savings accounts which I have monthly direct debits going into e.g separate accounts for holiday/days out, car, childrens needs, birthday/christmas presents etc.

Good luck smile

Squeegle Sat 26-Apr-14 17:58:36

First direct daily text has changed my life. The best thing about it is that if you go overdrawn you have until midnight to move money so you don't get stung with charges. Can highly recommend

Jemster Sat 26-Apr-14 18:44:14

Thank you all for your ideas. I love the sound of the first direct statement by text. I have several accounts with Barclays, I wonder if they do anything like that.

Hecate, you didn't sound superior, I know what you're saying. I do need more self discipline as my money is not going to manage itself. It's just something that doesn't come easy to me but I want to change if I can.

How often do people generally check their bank balances? I see some of you do it every day which I admire for being so efficient.

I think one thing I find tricky is me & dh dipping in and buying things from our joint account whenever we fancy and sometimes the other is a bit surprised at what they've spent.
Really we need a bit of our own money but after we've paid all bills and bought 'family' things there's not a lot left so it's never seemed worth splitting it!

I work part time and do miss having my own bit of money to do what I choose with. It all just goes in to the joint pot which is fine but sonetimes it can feel like you have to justify what you' ve spent.

lavenderhoney Sat 26-Apr-14 18:48:01

I have a cashflow with budget and actual columns. I reconcile it every week, and it really helps with planning and shock value.

If there is something like that I can use as an app on iPad I'd love it!

Housemum Sat 26-Apr-14 19:10:55

I'm a bit sad and still use pencil and paper! On payday, I check the accounts online and reconcile the accounts to my book, then in my book I write all the direct debits/standing orders due out in the month, make any payments to Guides/school clubs/school dinner money account/pay off credit card/etc - that leaves me with the "real" balance for the month. I check it all off in my book against online banking once a week, in the mean time I have a note of the "real" balance on the kitchen notice board and any time I've taken out of the account by card or cash I reduce it accordingly.

Jemster Sat 26-Apr-14 19:25:35

Housemum I rather like the sound of your pen & paper system. How do those of you who log everything so precisely keep a track of what your dh/dp is spending on cards or cash?

HecatePropylaea Sat 26-Apr-14 20:09:09

I check everything online every morning while the kids are having breakfast. It is my morning routine. Check the bank accounts, check the credit cards. We have a petty cash budget which we split so we each know what we have. Proper purchases are discussed beforehand. . But little personal bits and bobs come out of our £20 . Or tenner if its a lean week. Or nothing if it's very tight.
you have to ... to channel my grandmother ... cut your coat according to your cloth. And if you cant afford to spend it - you cant spend it. But you both need to be on the same page or it's never going to work.

ProcrastinatorExtraordindaire Sat 26-Apr-14 20:20:10

YNAB (You need a budget) is the friend you haven't met yet if you want to get a handle on your finances.

It has really changed the way I manage my money. I knew I wanted to do things using the YNAB method for a long time,, but didnt know the software existed.

Basically you budget the money you have. And allocate to categories, eg mortgage/rent, groceries etc. Then allocate more for the yearly stuff such as christmas, mot, holiday etc. Its brilliant because even now, I know that by the time August comes and dd will be starting secondary school, I will have the money needed to buy her new uniform. It does need a change in mindset about how you budget the there is a forum and there is also a really helpful support thread on mn.
It does cost to buy it but you can get it on offer sometimes on a software site, whose name escapes me right now. Or you can win a copy if you do one of their teaching seminars. Either way the money it would cost will be saved in the firat month of use I reckon. There is a free 34 day trial so you can try it and not lose a penny.

For me the biggest change is that before I would look at my account balance and not really be sure if I could afford x because ab and c were due soon. Now I look at the category balance and spend guilt free.

I love it!

Davinaaddict Sun 27-Apr-14 09:28:53

DH's spending was one of the reasons we split the left overs, as it was impossible to keep track of. He didn't spend a lot, but sod's law was that we would both overspend during the same month.

Splitting the spare amount (however much it was - think we started at £60 pm as we were a bit skint then), was the easiest way to make sure we didn't overspend at all. Or if there was something that we needed that would be an overspend, meant we had a conversation about it, as everything else was going on bills or to the savings account already, so there wasn't a pot to dip into.

JessicaMary Sun 27-Apr-14 10:05:15

Money isn't tight here but I do go on my on-line banking with my bank 2 or 3 times every day of the year to see what is happening in there.

I allocate to what money is needed for - first X of each month goes into a separate account for things like my tax and VAT bill.

Mum4Fergus Sun 27-Apr-14 10:08:53

Excel spreadsheet for longer term on day/week on week I use an envelopes app on phoneSpreadsheet sets my budget which I input to the app to track against.

Join us on the debt support thread (now #3) for lots more hints and tips...

Jemster Sun 27-Apr-14 11:01:43


Jemster Sun 27-Apr-14 11:03:22

Thank you for your ideas. Had a look but can't see the debt support thread, can you tell me where to find it please?

QuiteQuietly Sun 27-Apr-14 11:11:44

I find it much easier to have separate bank accounts. We have a joint one that mortgage, household bill DDs, activity subs etc come out of. We never use a debit card/cheque book or withdraw cash from this account because it leads to pain and confusion. Then we each transfer a proportion of the remainder into our own accounts as pocket money. We can do what we like with this, and I get extra because I am out more with the children (coffee/ice creams/soft play of doom etc.). Grocery shopping, childrens clothes, household spending (eg pillows, buckets etc.) all go on a joint credit card which we clear from the joint account at month end. We get a mini statement by email once a week, which helps us keep tabs on the card, but it is mostly the weekly grocery shop and occasional present buying.

We just found it hard to really know what the balance on the joint account was when we both used it because of not knowing how much the other person had withdrawn in cash/what transactions had yet to clear etc. Separating the day to day cash withdrawals/debit card transactions into our own accounts has stopped us going inadvertantly overdrawn and means we don't have to justify what we have spent.

anniepanniepears Sun 27-Apr-14 11:37:03

when my wages and husband's go into bank account I work out all bills and x amount each week for shopping and how much I want to save that month
lift out what is left and spens and stick to it

Mum4Fergus Sun 27-Apr-14 12:10:17

In the 'Money' section, sorry can't do links...

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