The first desktop computer I bought myself was a Sony Vaio. It came in this really hideous color with a large CRT monitor and tower.
It ran Windows ’98. Like all store bought computers, it had its fair share of bloatware—which is pre-installed software you don’t ask for.
One software in particular that I took the time to figure out, though, made my financial life so much easier: Quicken–a personal finance and budgeting software.
That was years ago and I still use Quicken to track my finances to this very day. I use it to keep track of income, expenses, investments, payments, net-worth, and budgets. I also use it to reconcile my bank and credit card statements every month.
Basically, anytime I buy something, I ask for a receipt and enter the information it into Quicken like a check register.
At the end of the month, I compare my information in Quicken to my monthly bank statements. You also have the option to download transactions directly into the program from your bank.
Quicken has a large set of pre-filled spending categories, or you can customize it to fit for tracking and reporting. I have a lot of flexibility to run reports on just about anything, and use visual reports.
For me, honestly, the program pays for itself… I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve disputed erroneous credit card charges and overcharges. Overcharges and errors happen more often than not, and they really add up.
Additionally, in terms of security, all your data is stored on your computer which I like.
It’s an amazing feeling knowing I’m in complete control of my personal finances, and that’s really the best part.
My accounts and balances are all in one place. I know what goes in, what goes out. Banking, investing, property, debt, fees, all of it.
Financial management programs like Quicken (or whatever you decide to use) can help you keep better score and stay on track in your pursuit of Financial Independence.
Bottom line: It really doesn’t matter what program or software you use. Make the commitment. Get organized and keep better track of your money. No one else will do it for you, better than you.
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