The Frugal Musician’s Financial Software or The Stubby Pencil Method



Recently Jason over at conducted a survey about the merits of new financial software. I couldn’t help but respond with my own take on ‘financial software’ or something I like to call The Stubby Pencil Method.

For fifteen years, this is how I have kept track of finances. Please understand I am a simple girl. My IRA is MIA, I have no 401(k) or any sort of thing like that. What I do have is enough financial savvy to save and pay my bills when they’re due. That is not to say I don’t have a good amount of debt, but I am working diligently to knock that down, having already established an emergency fund.

My financial software? A green (incoming money) spiral bound notebook to post invoices, payments and expenses. My check register requires a red pen for deposits and a black pen for expenses and bill pay. I also use an old recipe box and 12 small folders for each month’s receipts.  The picture on the front is of a butterfly my younger son drew when he was 8. He’s 22 now. The calculator is from the dollar store. The tall glass vase is my collection of change which really comes in handy. The red folder (outgoing money) contains bills that need to be paid (arranged by pay by date) or financial stuff that needs to be dealt with. 

And that is it. Like I said, I’m a simple girl. If you’re confused by computerized financial stuff, try the Stubby Pencil Method. I highly advocate it.

*The Stubby Pencil Method was introduced and implemented by my great boss who later turned out to be my great friend, Betty Schroeder.


One response »

  1. Hey Tammy-
    My system is similar to yours, except I don’t even have a notebook dedicated to it. I just fill in my check register, which apparently most people don’t do anymore. Then I save all my receipts in one folder, and at tax time I just look at what I spent on my register and divide the receipts into categories. I only use one credit card so it’s easy to track that as well. Prepping for our taxes only takes me a couple of hours and I’m amazed when people take weeks doing it.
    Maybe all this fancy tax software is trying to sell us more stuff we don’t need. I don’t understand it.

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