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From the Sharpie of Carl Richards: A Slow-Tech Approach to Tracking Spending

While there’s a growing popularity for using various websites, apps and services, Carl writes that there’s still something said for going old school to help you track your spending.

“The budgeting process is simply more effective when I take the time to manually enter every transaction myself. It’s not really about the numbers, but about the intent behind the numbers.

With a bit of practice, it will take an hour a week at most to do. (There’s also the side benefit that I find myself making fewer transactions because it means less for me to enter.) What I’ve learned is we’re doing a good job of sticking with our budget, but it has helped me simplify a few things, like using fewer accounts for purchases because it makes reconciling easier.


I know many of you swear by your favorite app, but for one month, sit down once a week and look at your receipts and enter the numbers in your budget by hand. Then, at the end of the month, see if anything has changed. Do you think about your spending differently? Did you make an adjustment to your budget? Will you go back to automating?

I’m much more mindful about my money and how I’ve spent it when I look at each purchase. It makes a big difference in my financial life, and I believe it has the power to do the same for you.”

For the complete New York Times blog post, click here.


About the Artist

Carl Richards, Director of Investor Education The BAM ALLIANCE

Carl Richards is the director of investor education for the BAM ALLIANCE. He advises on best practices, marketing efforts and social media.

Carl is the author of The Behavior Gap and a regular contributor to The New York Times. Known for his simple sketches that capture complex investor behavior, Carl’s work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Financial Planning and at His work originally appeared on

Carl holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Utah.


The opinions expressed by featured authors are their own and may not accurately reflect those of JDH Wealth Management. This article is for general information only and is not intended to serve as specific financial, accounting or tax advice. Information regarding references to third-party sites: Referenced third-party sites are not under our control, and we are not responsible for the contents of any linked site or any link contained in a linked site, or any changes or updates to such sites. Any link provided to you is only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply our endorsement of the site.

© 2014, JDH Wealth Management


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