I use microsoft Money and I find it really helpful to keep a watch on how expenditure is going.
It's set up a bit like a bank statement really so you put in your opening balance and then at the start of each month I put in what's going in and what's going out and then everytime I spend something I add it to the statement. It automatically adds and takes away so you can always see what your real balance is taking into account everything you need to pay for.
I have got my current account set up on there and also my credit card. I pay the credit card off each month so it's handy to have a running total of what I've spent on it so I can see if it's getting too high and I need to start being more careful or whether I've got a bit of leeway.
I couldn't live without it as I like to know exactly where I am up to with my money!
Gobbledigook, that sounds like exactly what I need, thanks! Next stupid question; is this an application I have to buy? Might it be somewhere on my computer already, lying unloved and unused? I have excel and outlook already.
MS Money does come pre-installed on some PCs, I have XP and under Home Affairs there it is. Alternatively, you can buy MS Money or Quicken (an alternative product) on eBay pretty cheaply I think. Quicken is less popular nowadays because you have to buy a yearly subscription to it, sort of like Norton Anti-Virus.
Obviously you can set the same thing up in Excel, although Money has a lot of built-in features for reporting, and being able to import files so that if you do online banking, you can download your recent transactions. You can import these into Excel but not quite so easily!
Money and Quicken also let you track your spend against budget as well, so there's lots of good features.
Start->All Programs->Home Affairs. That's where it is on my PC. The other thing in there is the copy of Word which came with XP (i.e. the PC didn't come with Office XP installed it but MS chuck in Word as separate application).
You may not have it, of course, but hope you can find it!
Nutty - even if you haven't got a computer you could get a little notebook and set up the same thing (but obviously you'll need a calculator to work it out yourself) - that's what I did when I was a student and I was seriously skint. Made a note of what was going in, what was going out, worked out what I had left to spend over a certain time and kept a close eye on it. Used to try and get by on nothing for first part of month so I could splurge a bit later.
Not as convenient in a notebook but you can do it.
If you open My Computer, right click on the C drive, and do a search for the file called msmoney.exe, that will tell you for definite whether you have it installed. Equally, if you go into My Computer, double click on the C drive, open the folder Program Files (if your computer will let you, by default it hides this from you so you don't mess things up!), see if there is a folder called Microsoft Money.
If you find the file msmoney.exe, double-click to run it. If you don't find it, I think it's pretty likely you don't have MS Money installed.
As mentioned before, you can set this up in Excel as well, basically you just need a column that keeps a running total of the balance of your account.