Ease money record-keeping burdens

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

My assistant burst into my office this morning, wild-eyed. Had I seen the $200 she had in the pocket of her trench coat three days ago? Nope. She decided to dig through her purse – oversize albeit exploding with receipts – yet another time. True, struggling to keep track of your money can be frustrating at best, nerve wrecking at worst. Fortunately, technology is your friend and it is here to help you. 

Most banks today offer free online banking, where you can not only view your account balance and transaction history, but also pay bills and keep track of billing and payment history. Add to this the fact that as good as every place where you can spend money in the US (and other Western countries) accepts debit and credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Every transition you make with these cards can be viewed conveniently (and free of charge) online, which takes me to my first suggestion: limit your use of cash as much as you can.

If your life is complex, divide it into segments, and give each segment its own credit card. Use one card for your business expenses, one for your personal expenses, and one for everything pertaining to your children. This way, you can view each aspect of your finances as a separate entity – no paperwork required.

If you’re stressing out about money record-keeping, keep this in mind first and foremost: we live in the age of technology. The practice of balancing checkbooks has become as obsolete as typewriters, and you no longer need to keep every receipt people throw at you. The banks have worked hard at making you life paperless. Enjoy!

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