How to Record Finances in a Book or on a Computer

by Alisa Hewitt ; Updated July 27, 2017
Track finances by hand on paper or electronically using computer software.

Personal finance record-keeping is one of the ways to identify your spending and savings habits, and is the first step to gaining control of your financial situation. Whether you are looking to save more money, pay off debt, or contribute to your retirement account, you must first understand how you currently spend and save. Options available to record your finances include tracking your accounts by hand using a paper accounting ledger, or using financial management websites. Both approaches provide opportunities to review your habits in detail and identify where to make changes to meet your financial goals.

Step 1

Collect bank statements and credit card statements for each account you wish to track. Use the most current statements available to ensure accurate information to begin tracking your finances. Organize these statements into piles for investment accounts, credit card accounts, and savings or checking accounts.

Step 2

Enter account information from all banks, investment companies and credit card companies into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Create separate tabs for each type of account and, using two columns, enter deposits or other credits to your account in one column, and expenses and other withdrawals in a second column. Use the calculation features in Excel to automatically calculate the balance in checking, savings and investment accounts, or to calculate total expenses in credit card accounts (See Reference 1).

Step 3

Manage your finances with automatic account imports using Inuit’s Mint Online website. The free website provides bookkeeping services to track all income, expense and investment accounts, and generates reports to personalize savings and expense plans. Enter banking, credit card and investment account information when you set up your secure account to begin tracking your finances (See Reference 2).

Step 4

Record your personal and business finances by using the Budget Tracker website. This no-fee websites allows a user to track personal checking and savings accounts, investments, credit cards and even PayPal accounts. Create your account and then sync transactions with your banking and investment companies, or enter each transaction manually to create a comprehensive overview of your finances (See Reference 3).

Step 5

Enter your financial information by hand on an accounting ledger or blank journal or notebook. Using a basic accounting ledger, available at office supply stores, you can create pages for each account type and track deposits, expenses and withdrawals. For each account you wish to track, write in the deposit or expense and add or subtract that amount from the previous balance, based on the type of transaction, to see your current balance.

Tips

  • When recording your finances by hand on paper or in a book or ledger, be sure to always double-check your math to be sure that you have not made an error.

Warnings

  • Be sure to check with your bank or credit card company before using a website that automatically downloads transactions, because the bank may charge a fee for this service, even if the website does not.

About the Author

Virginia-based Alisa Hewitt began writing instructional and training materials in 2005. Hewitt, a franchisee of Jazzercise, Inc., opened a Jazzercise Fitness Center in 2013. Hewitt holds a Master of Business Administration degree from University of Maryland University College and a Bachelor of Arts in public relations from Virginia Tech.

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