Then I started buying gift cards through the TRIP program at the school I work for. And I made a new year's resolution to start keeping track again. But the gift cards made things tricky. Would I record when I bought the cards, or when I used them to purchase things, or both? How would that filter through my nifty Excel formulas to tell me how we spent our money? So the tracking stayed on the backburner.
Well today I got inspired. I don't like not knowing where our money is going. If every dollar has a name, I'm less likely to spend it somewhere else under another name. So I made a brand new spreadsheet:
I totaled up the gift cards I have, ones I've bought from TRIP and ones we've gotten as gifts over the years... holy cow we've got a lot of $$ in gift cards waiting to be used! That's encouraging! So we'll see how things go. If I just force myself to take the time to do this, it WILL happen. We WILL find extra money to save for Abby or finish the basement. We WILL pay off our house early. I just need to put my organizing-perfectionist-beaver-type personality into it!
What about you? Do you live on a budget? How do you track where your money goes?