When I was growing up, my dad had this yellow legal pad that sat right by the door. When he walked in at night, he wrote down numbers and codes.
JCF – $12
JSM – $42
CCCl – $37
I didn’t understand at the time, but the numbers were daily expenses (rounded up to the nearest dollar), and the codes were tags for which member of the family he was spending on, and the type of spending he was doing. Try as he might to teach me the way of the budget code, I just can’t get in the habit. But you know what I’m in the habit of doing every day (no matter how grudgingly)?
And that’s exactly what expense-tracking webapp The Birdy is banking on.
TheBirdy sends you an email a day, to which you reply with a list of your daily expenses with tags (#lunch, #clothes, #date, etc.) and it does the rest for you. All your spending is tracked and recorded, and most importantly, organized for you.
The service is also integrated with text messaging if email grates away at your will to live like it does me.
The only issue is having to remember your purchases. Obviously, offerings like Mint take care of that for you by doing everything automatically, but not everyone is comfortable letting a third-party into the back-end of their financial services.
A free membership will get you expense tracking and recording, along with fancy graphs. $5/month or $39.95/year gets you budgets, income tracking, and recurring events.