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After nearly 10 years of testing tools and apps to track my money, I keep coming back to an old-school system for 3 reasons

After nearly 10 years of testing tools and apps to track my money, I keep coming back to an old-school system for 3 reasons
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After nearly 10 years of writing about money, Cheryl Lock has tested all kinds of tools and apps to track her finances.




No matter what, though, she finds a simple Excel spreadsheet fits her needs best for three reasons: It keeps her honest, it allows her to track multiple systems, and it allows for flexibility.




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My days start and end with the most basic money management tool you’ll find — an Excel spreadsheet.
I’ve been a personal finance writer for about a decade now, and I’ve tested many fancy online tools and apps and resources. Still, despite all the latest helpful technology, I keep coming back to my trusty Excel document. Here’s why.

1. It keeps me honest


Although it’s tedious, as soon as I can after every purchase, I physically log it into my Excel document to keep a running total of my monthly credit card purchases against my overall budget. I categorize things with color blocks — yellow for purchases that will be paid out of my husband’s and my joint checking account, white for those I’ll cover out of my own funds, purple for my health insurance payment and other health-related items — and so on and so forth.
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