Frugal Friday: Do Bookkeeping Often

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Regular bookkeeping can help you locate bank errors and fraud in a timely manner, reminds you not to overspend, and gives you a sense of security or accomplishment if you’re right where you’re supposed to be.

I spent all of my Tuesday working on bookkeeping. All day. I was spent when I lifted my weary body from the chair and my bleary eyes from the computer screen.

It’s not that we have such vast resources that bookkeeping is regularly a daylong project.

No, I’m blessed with laziness, instead. I had 7 months of receipts and statements to look over and file, 7 months of transactions to categorize in Quicken, 7 months of paperwork to weed through, and more than one uncleared check to hunt down. It was a mess!

Now, yes, I had kept up on deposits and bill paying. Since I use online banking, paying bills really only takes a few minutes each month. We weren’t late or overdrawn. But, I really hadn’t kept up on things like I should. And I was paying for it — in time and frustration.

When I sat down that morning, I estimated that I’d need only a couple hours to get it all sorted. I was wrong. I’m really thankful that it wasn’t tax time! That would have really stressed me out.

Instead, I learned a valuable lesson — with math, even.

7 hours of work รท 7 months = 1 hour per month

If I had kept up with my paperwork, the chore really wouldn’t have been a chore. Taking the math lesson a little further, I see that I really only need to spend an extra 15 minutes each week to keep all the books shipshape. A 7 hour chunk of time is hard to find, but I can easily find an extra 15 minutes in my schedule.

And as they say, time is money.

If anything, regular bookkeeping can help you locate bank errors and fraud in a timely manner. It also reminds you not to pay a stupid tax every month due to overspending. It can also give you a sense of security or accomplishment if you’re right where you’re supposed to be.

Do your bookkeeping often so that you’re not a crazy lady come tax time!

Todayโ€™s Frugal Friday!

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  1. I try to sit down every Friday and do our household accounting, once and a while the chore gets skipped but not often. It usually takes me about an hour each week. But that includes bill paying, budgeting, taking out cash for the week and figuring out and paying the kids what I owe them for chores.

  2. Ha! That makes me feel a whole lot better!

    And it’s a good reminder. I’ve got bookkeeping on my to do list today. Thanks.

    As a reward for all that hard work, you deserve a free book! LOL You can get millions of them, as outlined in the post I linked up.

    1. That’s what I’m here for. Wanna see a picture of my laundry pile? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. I was pretty well caught up until March when baby no. 2 came… this month I’m trying to get back on top of it a little bit here and there (just balancing the checkbook, everything else I do fairly regularly).

  4. Been there, done that. The worst is after coming back from a road trip to visit parents and grandparents. There are inevitably a ton of small purchases here and there to enter into our spreadsheet. I try to handle the bookkeeping at least once a week to keep it from becoming a major chore.

    1. I found an authorized charge from the previous weekend. I’m so glad that I didn’t wait a month longer! LOL

  5. Hmmm…I try to keep up on this, but with work being crazy, I have fallen behind as well (with the book keeping, not the bill paying). Thanks for the reminder (and pray that I don’t have to spend 7 hours tomorrow playing catch up!). ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I hope it was easy, peasy for you. That’s exactly why I let it slide. There was just too much going on.

  6. Great advice! I try to put “bill paying” on my calender twice a month as a “to do.” I always pick a Tuesday to keep it consistent (the second and fourth usually). While I’m paying the bills, I’ll go through receipts, balance accounts, etc. Never takes me more than 1/2 an hour – and being consistent means nothing gets paid late or gets missed!

    1. I keep saying that I need to make it a weekly thing, but now I’m thinking if I make it a daily goal, then I might actually get closer to doing it once a week. LOL!

  7. Have you heard of or tried YNAB (You Need A Budget)? I used Quicken for years, but hated having to re-buy it every three years to have the ability to download account information. It is SO intuitive and works TONS better than Quicken (I my opinion.) Plus you never have to rebuy it. And it has a phone app so you can always see what your budget is. I LOVE it. they have a full version free trial for 34 days so you can see how it works for a month.

    I really enjoy your blog and am a very regular reader. I don’t blog (except a private family blog). So this is my contribution to Frugal Friday. YNAB has saved me sanity as well as money!

    1. Oh, I am such a creature of habit. I’ve been using Quicken since 1997. It’s not the best, I’m sure. I type everything manually (I know, crazy) so I don’t worry about syncing or buying updates. I finally bought the 2011 version, but I can’t remember why. It took me forever to get used to it.

  8. This summer we splurged and I got an iPhone. I use the mint app on my phone and I can categorize everything right on there. I have been using for a couple years but having the app means I have a running total of my monthly budget with me wherever I go. As soon as a transaction posts to my bank I can categorize it. I love it! Those 5 minutes when I’m waiting in my car for my son to walk out of school I can be bookkeeping. I also use my banks mobile app for bill paying. Having it with me has really allowed me to keep up so much better. Both apps are password protected too.

    1. Well, that’s interesting. Did you know mint is owned by Quicken? Or they’re linked somehow. I’m not sure what the connection is, but Mint can be found via the Quicken site.

  9. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. I am reminded that it’s not “bad” to get behind on record-keeping, it’s just behind.

    1. Well, I suppose it could be bad if you aren’t paying your bills! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. I swear we lead parallel lives. I have a huge 7 month pile of bookkeeping screaming my name from my office as I type this. Sigh.

  11. I used to be really good about updating Quicken once a week, entering receipts, etc. Now I’m worse than what you wrote about! I have 8 months-or close to it. What’s worse, I can’t recall if I started a new section for 2012 receipts, so they might be mixed in with 2011 and it’ll be hard to remember of those are ones I really need to keep or if they can be tossed. I was actually just now updating Quicken so I could calculate tithe due tomorrow!

    1. I had the receipt problem, too. I split up the tasks. I did the receipts one night, putting every month into its own envelope. I did the Quicken stuff another day.