Help me keep track of my money when I'm on the go.
September 3, 2008 9:45 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to keep track of expenditures while you're on the go? I use my debit card a lot but I don't carry a checkbook. I have a Samsung Flipshot phone (Verizon). Is there a secure mobile site where I can log in and enter my $50 gas purchase?
posted by desjardins to Work & Money (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you thought about the low-tech solution? Carry and pen and sheet of paper, and just write it all down. Yes, it will require a certain amount of discipline, but so will any solution.

This certainly seems more practical (quicker, easier, more portable) and reliable (fewer dependencies) than using a web-site on your phone.
posted by rjt at 9:54 AM on September 3, 2008

I suggest looking into Mint and seeing if their way of tracking expenses fits well with what you're looking for. Once you've linked your checking account, it'll do all of the work for you, and even sort your purchases into groups if you need that feature as well.
posted by sabira at 10:13 AM on September 3, 2008

Not exactly what you asked for, but I use JabpLite for this. No need to have Internet/Cell Phone Signal you just enter your expenses and later sync it with your PC and if needed export to whatever financial software you want to use.
posted by fjom at 10:31 AM on September 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

It's the cash transactions you should be keeping track of. Bank of America logs each debit transaction almost instantly and in addition offers free budgeting tools on their online banking website. I use my debit card 98% of the time, and most transactions are categorized automatically, the others you can go in later and categorize yourself. This info is then plugged into various budgeting tools. I'm certain that any major bank would offer these tools online.
posted by limited slip at 10:37 AM on September 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm not really interested in how much I spend on restaurants or gas or clothing. What I need to know is if I'm out and about and I spend $50 here, then $30 there and $100 there, can I write so-and-so a check or is it going to bounce? My bank doesn't have a mobile site and their automated phone system has a delay, so it's really hard to know what my current balance is if I'm not sitting at a computer. If I've got cash, I know it's not in the account, so that's not a problem I'm trying to address.
posted by desjardins at 10:48 AM on September 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Basically I'm looking for an electronic version of exactly the purpose a checkbook used to serve. If used religiously and accurately, people always knew how much they had.
posted by desjardins at 10:50 AM on September 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

I promise I have nothing to do with the guys that write Jabp but it seems to me that it is perfect for you. In fact when I started using it it was exactly as an electronic checkbook.
posted by fjom at 11:00 AM on September 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

I carry a small notepad in my bag and log transactions. I use the calculator on my cell phone, because I suck at arithmetic. Not an electronic solution.

I tried to keep this in a memo on my cell phone for awhile, but I found that just writing it down was easier.
posted by desuetude at 1:42 PM on September 3, 2008

I basically email myself when I have a cash transaction. I have a script running on the mail server that puts these specific emails into a file, and then I just enter them into Quicken when the mood strikes me.

The text is basically along the lines of:

Wal-Mart $10

Restaurant A: $30

And so on. It's kind of a low tech solution, a bit above a piece of paper, but I have my phone with me, and not necessarily a piece of paper. And there's no need for specialized apps, like Pocket Quicken, which I used to run on my Palm, but not anymore.

If you don't have email on your phone, you can SMS, say, a special Twitter account and look at it when you get home with your RSS reader.
posted by chengjih at 3:44 PM on September 3, 2008

My cell phone has a "notepad" feature, which works the same as writing a text. If your phone doesn't have one, I'd just create a text and save it in the phone, and just keep adding to it. Simple enough, although my problem is being too lazy to even do that after each purchase.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 9:58 PM on September 3, 2008

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