By: Revanche

Bringing the notebook back

October 12, 2010

For the longest time, I’ve been converted to a wholly electronic tracking system for all my transactions and cashflow monitoring.  It seemed to be the best option for my highly mobile life, but of late, I’ve neglected the Excel sheets so shamefully that I have whole two-week chunks missing from my financial life.

In terms of my spending, that’s bad enough, but as payments due to me slow to a crawl, they’re likely to be forgotten and fall off the radar.  We can’t have that happening now!

I’ve dusted off the trusty old notebook and started scrawling notes of every transaction for which I expect payment so that I can follow up again. And again. And again.

[Yes, this was in part motivated by the horrified fascination of watching money flow out on recent travels.]

I often find that I revert to pen and paper is like the mac and cheese of my finances, the favorite blanky a kid snuggles in. It’s comforting stuff, pen and paper financials.  

10 Responses to “Bringing the notebook back”

  1. Jenna says:

    Hope the notebook helps you out! Nothing like being able to write everything out.

  2. I like the low-tech combo of little notebook and sticky notes.

  3. Yes. I understand this completely. Office supplies are just like a blankee. I’m with you 100%.

  4. chew on it says:

    Hey, have you tried mint.com? I think you might find their online platform suitable for your mobile life. Automatic updates for all my accounts makes budgeting and tracking a breeze.
    I use it along with Quicken since it’s still be a little buggy, but for the most part does a decent job.

  5. I just ask for a receipt for everything. I need to keep it for my business anyway…

  6. Patti_v says:

    I live in the most tech-advanced household (husband is an IT guru). However, I STILL write down all my/his/our bill in a notebook. It helps me visualize. He gives me looks – mostly mocking – but it works. Side note: at the beginning of this year I found what I wrote down 4 years ago – it felt good knowing how much had been paid off!

  7. Karen says:

    I prefer making handwritten notes. I do use my phone and/or online calendar for timely notifications.
    Personally, I feel there’s more of a mental connection if I write something vs typing it.

  8. Shelley says:

    I’ve just reverted to pen and paper since discovering some sort of glitch in my Word programme. Very frustrating, losing documents I rely on!

  9. Revanche says:

    @Jenna: It’s pretty therapeutic, goes back to having a long commute and not enough technology to keep me busy.

    @FS: I still use an old fashioned planner w/sticky notes for calendering, too!

    @Dogfood Provider: 🙂 You understand me!

    @chew on it: I have tried it, but like Yodlee, it’s just not 100% there so it kind of just annoys me. I suppose I didn’t give it enough of a chance back when it first launched.

    @FB: I do still keep all my receipts, at least there’s that.

    @Patti_v: ah-HA! That’s why you guys are so techy! I’m pretty tech lame but of the two of us, I’m “IT” in the “fam” so that explains why we’re not savvy.

    I think it’s much more viscerally satisfying to see the results of your progress when it’s handwritten.

    @Karen: I think you remember more when you handwrite it- I sure don’t recall things that well even if I write better typing, as is obvious whenever the computer or program dies when I’ve written something. I can’t reproduce it! Of course, I guess you never really have that problem with pen/paper.

    @Shelley: Oh dear, sorry to hear you’ve got program problems. That drives me up the wall!

  10. LOL! The problem with digital record-keeping is that you have to be in front of your computer to enter stuff in Excel.

    I recently figured out that it’s not only easier, it’s faster and more efficient to enter my students’ grades on (hang onto your hat…) 3 x 5 notecards and then transfer the grades into Blackboard. Not only does it save endless clicking and toggling, it creates a concrete back-up that does not exist anywhere in little glowing characters on a screen.

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