I used to ignore my finances, especially when I was in school, because I hated to see that I had little money and a lot of debt. In hindsight, I would have done a lot better if I had a plan to follow and an easy way review my finances.
The plan I recommend is Dave Ramsey’s plan (affiliate link), it is awesome, it works, and we got out of debt by following it; but this post is not about that.
I was nerding it up a few years ago and built some spreadsheets to track our finances. They worked, but were very cumbersome and not user friendly. About a year ago a friend introduced me to Mint.com (owned by Quicken). It is a totally free web based tool to track all of your finances.
There are several reasons I love it:
After entering all of my loans, bills, my car value, retirement funds, and bank accounts it keeps track of my net worth daily.
I am able to see all of the transactions for all of my accounts in one place to identify where I am spending my money.
I can see where I am spending all of my money by category (i.e. restaurants, utilities, groceries, etc.)
I can create budget goals to keep me from spending too much money in one area.
I can create saving goals and it tells me if I am ahead or behind.
If I really want to be a nerd, I can review my spending trends over the lifetime of my Mint.com account and compare my spending to the average in the U.S.
I recommend you sign up for Mint.com and get in control of your finances.