I Hate my Spending Journal


I hate the spending journal, hate it!  Gail says you can't move forward in the process until you nail this - it takes discipline... I still hate it.

I hate remembering to ask for receipts, and then trying not to lose them.  I hate that my notebook gets lost.

Enough of that...I need a bit of advice.

For those of you that use a spending journal, how do you build it into your daily habit?  Right now, ours is sitting on the kitchen island, with a pen next to it.  I try to remember, but when I walk in the door the first thing I'm doing is taking care of the dogs, loading/unloading the dishwasher, and setting up our lunches for the following day along with getting dinner started. The other part I'm struggling with is getting Jordan on board with using it too.  He's really good at asking for receipts, but then he just hands them to me to deal with.

Okay - so I haven't actually asked him to do it himself, and normally the money management piece is all mine.  So I should do that.  Hah! Maybe he'll just read it here.

The other real question I have, is how to do you manage the journal when you're making a purchase from planned spending savings accounts.  We bought some camping gear b/c we had saved some money for it, but it's not part of or normal day-to-day spending cash flow.  Do I make and additional and then a subtraction?  Same applies for using our vehicle/emergency fund.  We had a few hiccups this past week and I'm not sure how to add and delete the same funds effectively.  It seems silly.

We're not giving up, don't worry!  Just need to start again.  My march spending update is going to be mostly from a reconciliation of our day-to-day chequing account and credit cards - but that will be supplemented by the receipts we did keep.


  1. I try to make as many purchases using debit as possible so I already have a journal of spending - when I log into my bank acct online. For cash purchases, the best thing to do is get and keep receipts, put them near your book when you get home and log them when you have time (probably not right when you get home, maybe after dinner or right before bed?). I use my blog as my spending journal - I have my spending posts ready ahead of time (1 week in draft along with current week) and update that with receipts each day. Its a habit that doesn't come naturally at first, it takes practice. Good luck!

    1. We rarely use cash - debit most of the time - so that's in sync. I think you're right about setting up the routine and then sticking to it. Like around dinner or bed - that's a great idea! Thanks for the suggestions.

  2. What if you used an app? There are a TON of apps out there for tracking daily expenses - just google.

  3. Carla at My 1/2 Dozen Daily has been using an app for her weekly posts. Just expanding on eemusings idea.

  4. Thanks guys! I really appreciate the ideas and support. You can tell I was super frustrated when I wrote that post. I'm going to look into the Apps you suggested and see what else we can come up with.

  5. I was just talking about this with a friend the other day. She recommended YNAB to me - it's only free for the first month I think and then it cost her something like 40 (not sure if it was euro or dollars) but she reckons it's the best investment she's made in her financial health for a long time. It's an app that basically, if I understood it properly, works like an envelope system - I think it might work well for me (once I'm debt free in a couple of months and can save to get a smartphone) as I'll almost always have my phone with me so it'll be no hassle to make a note in the appropriate place. Of course, I could just take notes on my phone and that is actually something that I do currently sometimes. I don't always track spending in detail, even though I know I spend less when I do and should be more conscientious about it. My memory is not great so I often find myself wondering what I have done with my money, even just a couple of hours after having spent it. One way I deal with it is by putting my change into a piggybank every day so that I only have notes, i.e. even amounts in my purse - that makes it easier to figure out at the end of the day what I've spent and once I have that amount, I can work back to where I spent what. While I'm out and about I try to note things down in my diary within a few minutes of buying something. If I don't have my diary on me, I write it in a txt message on my phone and save it. Once I'm home I have to enter all of my notes into my budget spreadsheet - I have it set up so that there's a separate section at the bottom with each day of that month listed and my selection of categories going across the page. Then a daily and cumulative total. If I don't do that every day, I really struggle to remember.


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