I’ve had a crazy on-again, off-again relationship with tracking my finances.

I’ve owned various editions of Quicken for about 10 years, and I go through spurts of using it diligently, interspersed with long periods of piling things up to enter into Quicken someday and frequent times when I completely forget that such a thing exists.


This is silly. From the time I was 16 until the dawn of my personal Quicken Era, I balanced my checkbook with pen and paper – religiously. I tracked down every last cent. Far be it from any bank to mess up any transaction by so much as a nickel! But then Quicken came along, and somehow, in the ease of having a computer take care of my money for me, I got lazy. It seemed like something that could be done so quickly that I could get to it whenever I had a few free minutes. But in that oh-so-familiar way, things can become so easy in theory that they never quite happen in practice.

Until now.

You see, for the last three days, I have been sleeping at a proper time and forbidding myself from collapsing into bed before 9:30 pm. This new stricture – combined with my new rule about only being able to use electronics on the main floor – has caused a newfound interest in personal computing as a way to pass the time. I sat down before my laptop the other night and thought, “Hey! Quicken! I remember that!” Of course, starting up again was no piece of cake, thanks to the dastardly way I was forced to upgrade to Quicken 2016 if I wanted to keep downloading transactions. But I persevered and I’m up and running again. If you want to know how many times I’ve eaten at Wendy’s in the last 10 years, I could now tell you.

(I could, but I never will. There is reason to fear that the number would reflect no credit on me.)