Nine out of ten Canadians have a debit card and almost half of Canadians have three or more credit cards. Interac says that a third of us go to the bank machine at least once per week.

That is a lot of plastic, and a lot of ready cash. We have a lot of transactions in our busy lives, and keeping the running total in your head can be a challenge. How do you remember what money has been spent where?

Start with these four tips to keep more money in your jeans.

Make Notes on the ATM Receipt
Does it feel like your cash disappears right out of your wallet, so you find yourself back to the ATM? Next time, hang on to the receipt. As you spend the money you took out, make a quick note on where you spent it. Keep the receipt for at least two weeks so you can see where the money is going.

Avoid double spending
Armed with a debit card and a credit card, it is easy to double spend your money. At one store, you swipe the debit card and that money comes out of your account. When you use the credit card, you have to remember that money has been spent, and hold it back to pay the bill.

When you make a purchase on your credit card, move that money right away so you don’t spend it twice. Pay the credit card with online banking, or move the money into a holding account using a free online savings account until your bill comes in.

Keep Separate Accounts
One of the easiest ways to be on top of your spending is to separate your money into different accounts. Keep money that is needed to pay the bills in one account and your discretionary spending in another.

Even better, take the account that pays your bills off of your debit card so that you don’t spend that money before the bills are paid. Then, when you go to the bank machine or pay with debit, you won’t be spending the mortgage payment.

Put a note on it
This simple and silly strategy is highly effective at reminding yourself what you really want. Write your big goal on a sticky note and stick it on your credit card. When you go to swipe it you are reminded of your priorities and can make a different choice.

Need more ideas? Ask your friendly Financial Coach.

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Personal finance expert, Karen Collacutt is founder and CEO of Make Friends with Your Money.  Karen works with ambitious people who are making good money but are wondering where it all went at the end of the month. She helps her clients to get clear on their money life challenges and opportunities, matching their money to their goals.  They build a plan, confidence and peace of mind around their money. Certified Money Coach and Certified Financial Planner, Karen brings over 15 years of finance and business experience to her clients. Coach, speaker, author and change catalyst for those ready to create a positive and empowered money life, Karen delivers a fresh perspective on how to make friends with your money.

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