I’m often asked how I keep track of my spending.  My personal thinking style rebels against the structure of a budget and tracking pennies – and the time it takes.  So I use a tool called 22Seven.  Although independently run, it’s backed by one of the largest financial services organisation, so I believe in the rigour of its security.  There are many similar tools such as Yodlee, Mint, and other account and credit card aggregators.

What does it do?

In summary, it pulls in all of John and my transactional accounts and allows me to categorise the transactions.  Once that’s done it remembers those categories – so repeat buys the next month such as Woolies and Exclusive Books are automatically categorised.  So for about 5 minutes a month, I can see exactly what I’ve spent by budget category.  That’s time saved, which means I’m more likely to do it.

What’s even more, we get a family view without me needing full access to John’s accounts.  When you’re partnering on your finances, it’s crucial to see the whole picture.

How does that help your spending?

Well, less hassle means I’m more likely to track my budget, and I can visually see in graphs and click through tables where my money is going – making me more conscious of my spending.  Because it’s easy, I do it.  So I schedule the 5 minutes each month to update it.  And the more conscious you are of where you’re spending your money, the more likely you are to stick to your budget