To this day I remember vividly a conversation my parents had when I was a teenager about the responsibility of balancing a check book. My Dad, the CPA, was trying to explain to me how to document in my check book each check I wrote, subtract from my balance, review my monthly statements, and to ALWAYS know what my true balance was. My Mother chuckled at the concept and described her method of not only balancing her check book, but also receiving a GREAT surprise at the end of the month. She explained that with every purchase she made, she would round up and add it to the check book. So if the cost of groceries was $154.28, she would document this as either $155 or if she didn't have the receipt she would over round and make it $175. At the end of the month she would be pleasantly surprised to find she had more money than she expected. Of course to my father this was shocking. This was money that could be invested and/or used to pay down any debt incurred elsewhere. But to me and my Mom, it was like a little pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
As I've gotten older, and hopefully a little wiser, I have come to the conclusion that a combination of my parent's ideas works the best. If I round up my transactions and invest the difference, my money starts making money, which makes it an even bigger pot of gold. Of course in the '80's this wouldn't have been feasible. Investing was not possible for the common person. However with tools such as Quicken, Quickbooks, online banking, Sharebuilder, and my personal favorite ING, it is easier than ever to know exactly how much money you have at any given second in multiple accounts. I could not imagine maintaining my personal account; checking, savings, stocks, etc, without my ING account, my BB&T online banking services, and my Quicken software.
In the business world I review labor very much the same way. In the '80's and '90's we utilized punch cards to monitor the labor usage of our hourly staff at the