This financial coach tells clients to use pen and paper: ‘They're actually able to stick with their budget'

Financial coach Alaina Fingal tells her clients to track their day-to-day expenses in a notebook. She says it tends to rein in impulse spending.

This financial coach tells clients to use pen and paper: ‘They're actually able to stick with their budget'

The latest financial technology makes it easier to manage your finances. Artificial intelligence algorithms automatically remove credit card and utility bill payments from your account.

How to invest?

Dashboards online provide an overview of your total net worth.

Alaina Fiingal, founder and financial coach of Financial Coaches, suggests that if you want to keep your budget in check, it may be best to stick with analog.

Organized Money


She says that her main tool, paper planning, is used to teach people how they can save money, budget, and build wealth.

She says that writing down things helps Fingal’s clients retain more financial data and keeps their money priorities in the forefront of their minds. When they can write down their numbers in real-time -- budget on paper, actually -- it resonates a bit more with them. They're able to stick to their budget."

Fingal explains why the pen is more powerful than the smartphone when it comes time to get your finances in order.

A notebook creates 'friction' against impulse spending

Fingal does not expect you to manage your financial affairs with just a pen. She loves automatic bill payment, credit card rewards, and yes, even digital budgets.

Fingal advises clients to plan their spending for the upcoming pay days. She also suggests setting aside a certain amount of money each month.

Apart from that,

Cash envelopes for specific spending and saving categories

If clients are prone to overspending.

Fingal advises that once you get a good idea of your monthly expenses, it's a good idea to carry a notebook.

When it comes to their day-today lives, most people do not walk around with their spreadsheets. She says that's when she tells them to switch to manual systems. Take little notes on what happens throughout the day. This will give you something to compare your budget to at the end.

Fingal suggests that you make a note of your budget for food before you go to the store, and then subtract it when you pay.

This simple ritual has two effects. Fingal explains that "we don't usually keep track of every swipe we make." You can keep track of the actual number.

You can also reduce the amount of money you spend on impulse purchases or convenience that derail your budget.

It allows you to interact with it emotionally. Fingal says that it causes an additional friction, which is why we often need to stop our impulse buying. Just writing it down causes us to stop and think, "Oh, wait. I'm close to my budget number. "Do I really need to use this Uber now?"

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