Track it

So here is how you can really find out what you do with your precious, hard earned dollars.

Step 1. Find out what you really reach into your wallet for. Track what you spend. 

You have some options here. You can use one of 3 ways:

1. Techy-Gismo way: This method requires you to do the least work. And you can use some very cool computer programs to do this. Or you can use them in their new forms, as Apps on your smartphone. I will list the computer programs. The Apps have similar names. Here are a few :

    • Mint.com or
    • Wesabe.com
    • Money.Strands.com
    • JustThrive.com
As with anything on-line or through an APP, please check to make sure that these sites are secure. Hot Flash Financial and our staff can not vouch for them or promise that they will guard your information carefully once you put it “out there” on the web, or allow these sites to coordinate information from your checking account, credit cards etc. Many people use them. It is your choice what method you use. We just want you to understand the options you have in the 21st century.
2. Lazy way — Try the method developed by Motley Fool. Go on their site and use Budgeting for lazy people.
3. No-tech way. This is the old fashioned, pencil, paper and calculator way. It is very labor intensive. I spell it out in detail in the book.  You collect every receipt you have for at least a month, preferably 2 or 3. Also every check you write and every payment you make on line.  Every time you reach into your wallet. make a note of it (for newspaper, bus fare, gum, etc. List every expense by categories -such as rent, or mortgage or groceries or restaurants, utilities, car and transportation costs, clothing, bars, entertainment (see the book for all of them). It will take some time. But it will give you  a clear picture . You will know where your hard earned money goes.
Step 2. Add up how much you spent in each category–housing, food, hair care, beauty products, massages, medical care, etc. (The Apps and computer programs will probably do this for you automatically.) What you need if you are doing it a more old fashioned way is to get the grand totals for each category for a month, preferably 2 or 3 months.
Now click on the next menu button for the next step: Track and Decide.