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I know that as a family I have struggled with both budgeting and figuring out the best way to manage money. I have always been frugal, but being frugal and know what to do with money are two different things in my perspective. I have read books, and I have tried numerous methods, many times to no avail.
I have been lucky though that my family and I have never gotten into financial trouble in the past. We have good credit scores and we stay on top of things. I think we do this by limiting what we do and being frugal with what we must have. This does not mean that we don’t have debt, far from it. Actually, we have college debt, car loans, etc, that we will be paying off for some time to come. What I am saying is that we have never gotten to the point where we have felt so lost that we didn’t know what to do, though there have been a few times where it has felt close.
Lately what I have been doing to try and keep track of expenses is that I track my receipts based on the budget that I set. I know that this sounds extreme to some but I find it lets me see where we are overspending and where we have saved money. In some of the books that I have read they recommend that you cash out your ceck and live off cash. We do not do this (though for those that do, I hear it is very eye-opening), but we slowly but surely have started to be able to do the things that we want to do, and not just the things that we need to do (if you know what I mean).
Managing your money is never easy and it takes time and discipline, but it can be done.
I am really interested to hear the tricks that all of you use to manage your finances? What has worked, and what hasn’t?
Look forward to your thoughts!