My friend, Mark, likes to joke that he and his wife are “hemorrhaging” money. That’s his way of saying that no matter how much money he brings in, when you’ve got kids, a dog and a house, it feels like it’s never enough.

So true: After I’m done paying the bills each month, I often wonder how we managed to stretch our dollars enough to pay for it all.

Whenever I feel this way, I’m always glad I track every cent we spend. You can do this in a sophisticated computer program, like Quicken or Microsoft Money, or you can buy a 60 cent notebook at your local drug store. You’ve just got to be diligent about keeping track of the pennies as well as the dollars.

My friends are really divided on how useful an exercise this is. Most don’t want to take the time to track their cash. Maybe it’s just what I do for a living, but I like knowing exactly where my money goes.

With practical, informative consumer advice, I’m Ilyce Glink, News-Talk 750 WSB