Track Spending With A Moleskine Notebook

One of the first steps to take in getting a handle on your budget is to start tracking your spending, and for those who like to do it analog, moleskine small ruled notebooks ($10.50) are awesome.

They fit in your pocket. They have a nice hard cover with a bit of pliancy. There’s a folder in the back where you can hold receipts. There’s a built in ribbon as a bookmark. An elastic strap keeps the whole book bound shut. It feels very legit and professional, yet personal.

Ok, so what’s the point of all this fetishization? Won’t a regular notebook or piece of paper do? Certainly.

But if you have trouble committing to the anal record keeping required to track your spending habits, the psychological heft of putting it into a nice notebook may be just the trick you need. They’re also easy to mod out with all sorts of tabs, too. — BEN POPKEN

Moleskine [Amazon]

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  1. Lacclolith says:

    I simply don’t “get” these things. What makes this any different from a 10¢ ruled notepad from the dollar store and a rubber band?

    I guess I’m just not hip enough or something.

  2. DAK says:

    Did they at least pay you for the ad?

  3. tonkyhonk says:

    What’s next? A story titled, “Write On Paper With a Pen”? Perhaps, “Turn Book Pages With Your Finger”?

  4. spanky says:

    They really are sexy. The paper is smooth and takes ink perfectly, and the covers are exactly the right weight and texture. They just feel good. I really like the little pocket sized ones with the graph paper rule.

    That said, I can’t bring myself to use them much, just because they’re so expensive, and I can’t think of anything important enough to write in such a pricey notebook. I do buy them for my mom, though. And I don’t tell her what they cost because she probably wouldn’t use them either if she knew.

    Oh, and I highly recommend instructables’ famous Montblanc ink-Pilot pen mashup for maximum writing pleasure.

  5. faust1200 says:

    What did those little moles ever do to you !!

  6. Crazytree says:

    moleskin is something you put on foot blisters.

    moleskinE is a brand of writing pads.

  7. Crazytree says:
  8. jeblis says:

    Hey while I’m checking in on everything I’ve missed, please don’t pick up Gizmodo’s new format.

    Readability of was one of the best before their redesign.

  9. Edge101 says:

    I’ve been using these notebooks for years and they are quality. Spanky notes they are relatively expensive, but you can find them cheaper than the Amazon link provided — I’ve been getting this size Moleskine at [www.revdesign.biz]

    Or try eBay.

  10. iMike says:

    If you decide to buy one of these, Amazon has pretty good prices.

  11. olegna says:

    >> I simply don’t “get” these things. What makes this any different from a 10¢ ruled notepad from the dollar store and a rubber band?

    I’ve always felt that way about iPods: recast above quote as:

    >> I simply don’t “get” these things. What makes this any different from a ($35 MP3 player) from (Amazon) and a (AAA battery)?

    That said, I’m a stationary junkie. My mini steno pads are great (smaller than the Moleskine, fits even in small pockets), but the tiny ones (11cms X 7.5cms) are hard to find and the pages tend to tear from the spiral spine after a while.

  12. GitEmSteveDave says:

    I have a problem remembering things, so I tried carrying around a spiral notepad from OfficeDepot. Well, after using it for a few days, the spiral part got flattened, and it just looked ugly. I tried finding a nice in-expensive pad with a cover, but no luck. I had some old jeans laying around, and after some measurements and some trimming, I glued the denim to two pieces of lexan. I now have a durable notepad cover that is semi flexible, not too heavy, and almost goes with any outfit. I now need too make one out of Khaki for when I’m in the office.

  13. Snakeophelia says:

    I’m a complete sucker for stationery. I’ve been using Moleskines for years. Did you know they make dailer planners? For work notes, though, I use the Clairfontaine notebooks, which come in large sizes and have amazing paper. They were also easy to get until the Penn bookstore decided to stop selling them. Now I’ll have to order them from Pendemoniom or some such store and pay S&H. That’s what I get for getting addicted to something as unglamorous as a notebook, I suppose.

  14. I’m in New York for a memorial service for my grandfather.

    When going through his things, we found a ledger that tracks every single dollar he has ever spent–since 1976.

    Interesting, to say the least.

  15. TWinter says:

    One of the first steps to take in getting a handle on your budget is to start tracking your spending, and for those who like to do it analog, moleskine small ruled notebooks ($10.50) are awesome.

    Shouldn’t one of the first steps in getting a handle on your budget be learning not to buy things that are overpriced? Moleskines are very nice notebooks, but they cost way too much for what they are.

  16. FLConsumer says:

    I just keep track of my spending by paying for almost everything on my credit card. Everything gets automatically downloaded into Quicken and I get pretty graphs showing me where I’m pissing away my money. Simple, easy, requires little effort on my part, oh, and it didn’t cost me $11 to use.

  17. blitzcat says:

    Track it better and for free with Yodlee.

    I’ve used it for 3 months, zeroed my credit cards and started saving for retirement.

    Free

  18. tadiera says:

    The primary reason to suggest something like a Moleskine, I imagine, is that they hold up to wear and tear.

    When I carry a small notebook, it goes in my back pocket. I’ve used moleskines and they survive that abuse. The past week, due to my moleskines either being full or lost, I’ve been using a tiny, spiral-bound one that was about a dollar from the drug store.

    After only a week, it’s falling apart and barely usable. It took months of such abuse before you even noticed wear and tear on the moleskine.

    That said- they are a bit expensive. However, if you feel you’d be more likely to stick to it with the moleskine, then go for it. $10 and a future budget or $1 and a notebook that goes untouched?

    Now… the one thing I’d like is a pen that could buddy up to them. The one Pro to a spiral notebook versus a moleskine is the ability to take a small pencil and tuck it into the coil.

  19. spanky says:

    @tadiera:
    There are tons of Moleskine mods on instructables. Here is one for a pen/pencil holder.

  20. FLConsumer says:

    Yodlee doesn’t give me a breakdown on individual transactions, nor does it automatically classify transactions. Fine for checking balances, but that’s about it. No way to tell what you’re actually pissing money away on there.

  21. GetFightted says:

    I hate to butt in… But this is the 21st century. I use Burn(Mac) to track my expenses. My Moleskine is for my novel writing.

  22. Rahnee says:

    Moleskine notebooks are awesome. And yes a bit pricey. But if you like a good notebook they are worth it. Other writing materials that are good:

    Dixon Ticonderoga pencils, oldest pencil company in America

    Mecanorma technical pens, imported from France

    Pink Pearl erasers, classic found at dollar stores

    Seems like I remember reading somewhere that Davinci used moleskine notebooks. O’well, its way off topic but food for thought.

  23. JohnMc says:

    Why even use a paper book to track expenses? Create a separate Google Calendar for yourself specifically for expenses. Then share that calendar with yourself in your main calendar. Colorize it as an expense.

    Bam! Your expense tracker in one spot. Electronic. I leave whether you are squeamish about having Google holding it up to personal preference.

  24. kc-guy says:

    I don’t even own a wallet because they don’t fit in my pockets, (damn genetics left me stuck shopping in the kid section.) Guess I’m sticking to the credit-card/rubberband method.

    But yeah, they look pretty cool.

  25. monolithic says:

    Why not just use a cell phone note page? That’s what I typically do. I take down what I spend during the day and put them into an open office custom spread sheet. If anyone wants a template lemme know, it’s pretty sweet.

  26. wakela says:

    What happens when you drop one in the washing machine? That’s why I stopped carrying little notebooks.