If you’re reading the Kaiku Blog, you’re probably looking for tips to save money with a prepaid card. Signing up for a Kaiku Card is a great first step for saving money because reloadable prepaid cards like Kaiku can be used as an “envelope system” and force you to stay on budget. But if you still find yourself overspending, try one of our favorite finance hacks: the Money Journal.

Save Extra Cash with a Money Journal

We’ve all been there. You go shopping for some essentials and a cool t-shirt catches your eye, so you treat yourself and go $10 over budget. Or you open your wallet and realize all your cash is gone because you bought some snacks at the gas station without thinking about it.

Even when you use the Kaiku Mobile App to review your transactions and monitor your budget, it’s easy to succumb to impulse buys.

That’s where a Money Journal comes in. A Money Journal is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a pocket notepad you keep right next to your wallet and whenever you go out and buy something, you take a minute to jot down the details of your purchase.

Then, at the end of each week, you review your spending. Did you buy things you actually needed? Or did you spend an extra $50 on frivolous, spur-of-the-moment purchases? You might be surprised by what you learn.

Of course you can always review your spending in the transaction history of your Kaiku account or bank account, but the act of keeping a Money Journal promotes “mindful spending.” By taking the time to write down your purchases each time you buy something, a Money Journal forces you to really stop and think about where your money goes.

Keep in mind that a Money Journal isn’t about judgment. Don’t feel guilty for buying something silly or “unnecessary” — after all, sometimes it’s important to treat yourself to a new shirt or a book or chocolate chip pancakes at 2 AM. Just be aware of how you spend your hard-earned dollars.

You might decide those late night pancakes are totally worth it, or you might realize you already have ice cream at home and you don’t have to spend anything. A Money Journal can teach you to think twice before you open your wallet. It’s also a great idea for teaching kids responsible money habits.

Try keeping a Money Journal as an experiment for one week or one month. See what happens and let us know what you think on Facebook or Twitter.