How to Keep Track of Household Finances

by Jackie Lohrey ; Updated April 19, 2017
Spending reports in personal finance management programs make tracking both easier and more accurate.

Every household needs a budget, a savings plan and a system for keeping household finances organized. While there are plenty of personal finance software programs available to purchase, there are just as many free options. In fact, all you really need to get started is an Internet connection or a spreadsheet program, an inexpensive organizer and a few file folders.

Adopt a Filing System

Set up a filing system that makes sense for your finances and situation. Although a month-by-month system is a good choice for most people, you might prefer to file monthly bills and credit statements by subject or category. For a monthly system, use a plastic tote and filing folders, or create and save an electronic filing cabinet consisting of a master “bills” folder and 12 subfolders -- one for each month -- in a convenient location on your computer. As monthly bill notifications arrive, download and save each one in the appropriate folder. Use a scanner or the scan option on your printer to upload documents that only come in paper form.

Choose a Tracking System

The easiest way to track household finances is with a desktop or online personal finance management program. PC magazine recommends Mint.com, a free online program that not only automates most money-management tasks but also provides options for connecting to most banks and credit card companies. These features reduce data entry errors and enable you to see exactly how and where you are spending money. As an alternative, use a spreadsheet to track household finances. Most programs have a variety of checkbook register, household budget and financial tracking templates to choose from, so you won’t need to create one from scratch.

Set Up Billing Accounts

Billing accounts eliminate the need to search for a creditor's contact information on bill-paying day. A financial management software program such as Mint.com will prompt you to create billing accounts as part of the getting-started process. As an alternative, create a master account list on paper. Identify each household biller or creditor, including the biller’s name, contact information, telephone number and website address. Include the account number only if you’re using the account set-up feature in an online financial management program. Otherwise, keep account numbers and website login information in a separate location. Set up billing reminders to alert you a few days in advance when a bill is coming due. Use the reminder feature in a software program or write payment dates on a scheduling calendar.

Establish a Weekly Routine

Set aside time each week to pay bills and track your spending, as even the most well-developed budget and tracking system won’t work if you don’t monitor spending. A regular schedule allows you to see whether you are keeping to your budget, and if not, helps you identify areas where you are overspending. A benefit to using an online program is the option to create spending reports, freeing you from having to make manual calculations. After considering the alternatives, either adjust spending in the offending area or adjust your budget.

Video of the Day

Brought to you by

References

About the Author

Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.

Photo Credits

  • Jcomp/iStock/Getty Images
Cite this Article | raiffeisen-cards.ru A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

Related pages


how to invest in penny stocks for dummiesconverting euros to dollars formulacapital one auto finance repossession departmentbuying foreclosed homes auctionwww.visionprepaid.comfour key financial statementshow to find old immunization recordschase bank cash withdrawal limitkohls charge cardspension lump sum payout taxesmass ebt cardfile taxes with last pay stubnc medicaid requirementshow to purchase savings bonds for grandchildrenmoneygram to bank accountjoint tenants with right of survivorship floridadefinition of gross margin profitair force administrative dischargeusps poster tubewalmart charity donationsdeferred revenue journal entry examplecost of prkhow to negotiate debt settlement on your owninitial deposit for escrow accountwww moneygram com trackingmassage envy cancel membershipwhat does ach debit meansynonym for withholdingmedical deductions on income tax returnhow long are travellers cheques valid forrestricted stock legenditax filingwells fargo lost card cancelpending charges on debit cardach tracking numberat&t worldwide prepaid cardscholarships for elementary students in private schoolwhat is a fannie mae homepath propertyhow to track a money order uspsfha debt to income ratio calculatorwhat is a judgement on a credit reportgics vs mutual fundsnondiscriminatory assessmentdental insurance that covers oral surgeryhow bad does a foreclosure hurt creditaverage salary of cosmetologistcar insurance check made out to me and lienholderslrpcalculating capexwhat does it mean to claim exempt on w4which secured credit cards convert to unsecuredtutoring low income studentscharges for cancelling car insurancebeneficiary of 401kvanilla reload netspendnormal balance for expensehow to calculate interest expense on bondscodebtorwhat is the minimum balance for wells fargo checking accountcost of podiatristplpd car insurancembs trackingtexas inspection sticker expiredfha amendatory clause and real estate certificationcanadian healthcare system pros and consmassage therapy grantswhat is the difference between eft and wire transfersolicitation letter sample for donationhow to check at&t gophone balancehow to reduce property tax in njsalary makeup artistwhat is hmo dental insurancecalifornia property tax exemption for seniorshow to pay off a vehicle loan fastergrifols card balancethinkorswim tutorialshow to calculate payroll deductionsreadydebitgold comhow do i check my ez pass balance