Updated: Jun 26, 2021
Dear Friend, are you in control of your money or does it control you? The answer to this can set you up for success or failure. If you do not know where your money is going, how can you possibly be financially secure? Tracking your spending can be a great tool for you to not only budget but to actually see where your money is going each week & every month.
The good news? I've got some simple tips to track expenses & other spending.
To really see where your money is going, you have to be consistent. You can’t do it one day and not do it the next, or you won’t get a true picture. For many of us, we don’t even know where our money goes, so how can we even begin making changes to make us more financially secure? You need to mentally go into tracking expenses and spending with a time period in mind that you are going to be consistent. A month is a great starting place to get a true picture. Start today and begin keeping track of what you spend. At the end of the period you have chosen, you can review and see what you need to improve on for next month.
Create a Budget
This is an ugly word for those of us who do not have control of our finances, but it is the framework for finding financial security. You have fixed expenses – everyone does, so that is where you are going to start. Write down your fixed expenses (bills) and your income each month. This includes any utilities, credit card or loan payments, auto or mortgage payments, or anything else you pay on a monthly basis. Use a calendar or use one of the many programs available online to set up a budget to see where you stand.
Use Tools You Like
The number of budgeting apps and budgeting templates are numerous online. The key is to find the one that fits your style and your needs. For example, if you are a more pen and paper type of person, you may want to print out a budgeting template to use or purchase a budgeting planner. Alternatively, if you are a technology-driven person, an app may feel more natural to you. If you prefer spreadsheets, there’s a tool for you too! Some of the options I recommend include the EveryDollar app, Microsoft Excel, monthly budget planner (Amazon purchase), etc.
Spending and expense tracking is the first step to learning where your money is going and will truly illuminate those areas where changes can be made. Once you know where your money is going, it is time to creat