Spending is easy. The hard part? Keeping track.


Source: Tara Siegel Bernard, N.Y.Times ( Paid Registration )

This may sound strange coming from a personal finance reporter, but I’m not a big fan of traditional budgets — I don’t think they work. I try to keep my own spending in check by taking the reverse approach. Instead of tracking every dollar, I focus on what we need to save for: retirement, college or some other goal.

Mint has been around for a while, but it is still a solid way to take stock of where all of your money is going.  Personal Capital, an investment advisory service, also has a robust free tool that tracks your spending, cash flow and retirement goals all in one place with minimal effort.

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