It is more challenging to track your spending when you make either most or all of your purchases on a credit card. I find my purchases don’t show up on my credit card statement until at least 3 days later. By then I’ve forgotten what the breakdown of my purchases are. I like to break my purchases down into different categories. For example, if I make a purchase at the superstore I may break it down into categories of food (for groceries), clothes (for my new shoes), house (for the new drapes), and entertainment or miscellaneous (for the DVD). I track these break downs before I forget so I can live within my budget and avoid overspending every month and creating a large debt on my credit card which has a high-interest rate.
I use CalendarBudget to track my credit card spending. I usually put a .purchase in CalendarBudget before I make it (planning for it) to know when I can pay for it before it collects interest or schedule the purchase for a later date when I can make the purchase without collecting interest. For those occasions when I can’t pay it all off and I do carry a balance over, I track the interest gained by making a separate entry in my CalendarBudget Credit Card account (accounts are just another tab in CalendarBudget) for the amount of interest shown on my credit card bill. This way I can still see the trends of my spending and can also use a category for interest in my credit card account and track and see reports indicating how much I am paying on interest as time goes on. I’d rather keep the money in my pocket so it’s been in my favor to track my credit card spending and schedule it to be paid off before interest would start accumulating on my credit purchases. Also, CalendarBudget’s remind me feature sends me an email so I don’t forget to pay off the credit card before that nasty interest gets me.
What helps you to keep on top of your credit card payments and avoid interest?