Saturday, September 24, 2016

Finance Basics - Lesson 3

I will start by saying I'm not an expert in Finance.  Get a qualified CPA or Financial Planner to provide professional assistance.

Lesson 3 is probably going to be a short one to read, however a long one to actually do.

Lesson 3 is on tracking on what you spend.

This can be done two ways, however given that we are in back to school mode/ upcoming holidays mode, this can be a great time to truly track how much you spend.  These will not be normal spending months, but it does give you an idea as to where you are spending your money during seasonal times that you will need to make space in your spending plan (aka budget) to save up for during those months when the seasonal spending isn't needed.

In other words, this will tell you how much you are spending for back to school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Hanukkah, Kwanzai, or any other special time you are celebrating between September 1 - December 31.  Understanding how much you are spending during this time period will allow you to save during the rest of the year for this time period.

Tracking what you spend can be done three ways:  either with a notebook and pen or pencil, or accessing your account online each month to write down on paper and see where you're money is going.  The third way is the techie way:  Use Quicken.  I've used Quicken since the 1990's when it first came out and I highly recommend it.  If you have a computer and access to the internet, a less expensive alternative is Mint.

If you do not have a bank account due to low finances, create a filing system with envelopes and cash.  Write on the back of the envelope where the money went and then copy it onto a notebook.

Another resource is on

Once you have seen how much you are spending, look for ways to earn additional income to handle any shortfalls or increase any savings.

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