In the days before credit cards, a lot of us used personal checks to pay for big expenses. And we were diligent about keeping track of every transaction in our checkbook ledgers.
Today, far fewer checks are written and more people are using debit and credit cards for daily purchases at retail outlets. If that describes you, what are you doing to keep track of your spending?
Start with a receipt
The convenience of being able to swipe a card through a reader to purchase gas, groceries or even a cup of coffee is a time saver. But don’t walk away without a receipt. It is the only evidence you have of the transaction occurring.
Once you have that piece of paper, keep a log of what you spend. Then compare your records against your bank statement to confirm that all transactions listed on the statement match.
If you are using a credit card, maintain a log (on paper or on your computer) and then check it against your monthly statement. Again, it is a way to make certain that all charges on your statement are legitimate.
Check your spending
One of the best ways to keep records of your debit and credit card purchases is to create a spreadsheet on your home computer. Keeping a running tally of how much you are spending using your cards each month can help you avoid overspending, which is easy to do with the convenience of plastic.
Renée A. Hanson, CFP®, CEP®, CDFA™, CFS, is a private wealth advisor with Hanson, Ayala & Associates, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Her passion is in helping women achieve their dreams and financial goals, regardless of life’s many obstacles. Renée is licensed/registered to do business with U.S. residents only in the states of AZ, CA, CO, GA, IA, IL, MI, MN, MT, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, PA, SC, TX, VA, WA, WI. Please visit: www.reneehanson.com to learn more.
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