Thursday, January 17, 2008

Frugal Friday - Tracking Daily Expenses

Have you ever gone on a shopping receipt hunt? You know how it is. You get home and found out that the thing-a-ma-jig you bought doesn't fit/look right/match - whatever. You need the receipt to return it and it's nowhere to be found. Or you are about to enter your weekly expenses into your spreadsheet or budget software - and you can't remember how much you paid for groceries that week.

You check inside the bag. You check your purse...inside your wallet and all the purse pockets. Then you check your pant's pocket, your jacket pocket. Most times you are lucky and it's found - other times you're not. And so now you are stuck with an ill-fitting thing-a-ma-jig...or a "hole" in your spreadsheet.

Well I recently found the perfect solution.

I bought the cutest little plastic, purple, pocket/expanding file case. It is small enough to fit inside a purse and it only cost $1 at Target. Yes I know an ordinary envelope would work and it's cheaper - but this has 7 pockets (one for each day of the week) and it's plastic. Paper envelopes tear and things fall out of it. They also get rumpled up and "hidden" amongst all your other pursely goods.

Keep it right next to your wallet in your purse, so that you remember to take it out each time – and put the receipt in the folder. Then at the end of the week you have all your receipts in one place, and separated by days of the week.

No more missing receipts due to shoving them in your pocket, the bottom of your purse or the grocery bag. No more missing receipts when you need to return something to the store.

It’s also big enough to keep a pen and a small notepad or piece of paper, inside…that way if you don’t get a receipt you can write it down before it gets forgotten.

If you don't have a budget for yourself right now and you don't even know where to begin - you can begin by tracking every single penny you spend for a week.

It's unbelievable how much money slips through the cracks...$2 for coffee, $6 for lunch, $3 for a magazine, .50 for a pack of gum, .50 for a newspaper...$1.07 for a slurpee :)

It's hard to decide that you are going to allocate a certain dollar amount to a budget line item - if you don't even know how much you are spending on that line item presently.

For more Frugal Friday tips - please visit Crystal over at Biblical Womanhood.


Stephanie @ said...

This is a GREAT idea!

Mom2fur said...

You are so right about those little expenses. We just don't notice them, and then at the end of the paycheck period, we wonder where it all went.
I like your idea to use a little expanding file case. I think I'm going to do that, if only to see where my money goes in a week's time!