Dear Liz: Your column on tracking receipts was quite interesting, but it still appeared to be a lot of work.
The method that I use is to enter data from my credit card statements when they arrive, and enter information from cash receipts two or three times a week, into my Quicken personal finance software.
At tax time it is easy to create reports for my accountant. (The information can also be exported directly into TurboTax, for those masochists who want to do their own returns.)
A: Personal finance software like Quicken or Microsoft Money is indeed a huge time saver and a great way to track your finances. But most people haven’t gone to the trouble of buying and using such software, which is why it’s important to discuss other paper-handling methods.
By the way, you probably could save even more time by setting your software to download your transactions directly from your credit card companies. You could update your records as often as daily, rather than having to wait until the end of the month, and you wouldn’t have to do all that tedious typing.