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Alternative Money Tracking Systems: Three Tools for the Non-Traditional Budgeter

Alternative Money Tracking Systems: Three Tools for the Non-Traditional Budgeter

Are you a non-traditional budgeter? If you are strapped with high quantities of debt, formal budgets may not have worked for you in the past. You could benefit from alternative money tracking system that can help you identify how you spend your income. Here are a few methods that can help you manage your input and output:

The Envelope Method

The envelope method is a technique that allows you to distribute money according to your needs. You pay for everything in cash, utilizing funds set aside in labeled envelopes. At the beginning of the month, pre-mark envelopes with each of your financial responsibilities: rent or mortgage, loans, food, transportation, clothing and savings. Take last month’s income, in cash, and allocate it as needed in toward each envelope. Throughout the month, you spend the money in each envelope toward your different needs. Only using cash allows you to make the direct connection between your income and allocated spending.

Write Down Your Spending

Although some people benefit from digital budgeting tools, many people prefer pen and paper. Pop into your local bookstore and buy a small, light notebook you can keep in a pocket or a purse. At the top of each page, write the date. As you go through your day, write down exactly what you spend and where you spend it. When you buy groceries at the store, document the specific items and their corresponding costs rather than the whole purchase. This kind of tracking builds awareness and helps you to identify easy ways to minimize your spending.

Debit Card Spending

If you prefer not to pay with cash or track expenses by hand, try to adopt a single card method. Use your debit card for all purchases. You can log into your account on a daily or weekly basis and track your spending through your bank’s website. Utilizing a debit card rather than a credit card ensures that you spend money you have rather than money you don’t have. If you do need to make a small purchase at a cash-only establishment, don’t use any emergency money in your wallet. Instead, go to your bank’s ATM and only take out the specific amount you need for that particular purchase. The transaction on your online account will show an ATM withdrawal, but you can make a mental note of the item you bought.

These three methods offer you alternatives to mainstream money tracking techniques. Are there any alternative systems that have helped you to build awareness of your spending? If so, share in the comments below!

Image source: Flickr

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