How To Track Your Expenses

EXPENSES

Your expenses are one of the most important aspects of your budget. Keeping track of them will help you understand how and where you spend your money.

It is essential to start tracking your expenses in order to develop better spending habits.

You will start analyzing how much money you spend on each category (groceries, clothing, etc.), what are the areas that you can improve or the unnecessary things that you are spending way too much on.

Have a look at the next few steps that will show you exactly how to do this.

Record Your Expenses

You should start by categorizing all your expenses, big and small. The list below is what I use for my expenses but you can adjust it according to with your needs:

  • Housing {mortgage/rent, furniture, maintenance}
  • Childcare
  • Transportation {insurance, gas, repairs, ticket costs}
  • Food/Groceries
  • Medical {insurance, prescriptions}
  • Utilities {gas, electric, water, cable, internet, and phone}
  • Personal Care {toiletries, hair, makeup, clothes, etc}
  • Pet {insurance, food, vet’s bill}
  • Entertainment {eating out, cinema tickets}
  • Miscellaneous

Some credit or debit cards do this work for you and automatically categorize all your purchases.

Take the time each day and record everything. Go over all your categories and record every little expense that you had on that day.

Find A Way

There are lots of ways to track your expenses, all you have to do is to find the one that fits your needs.

Budgeting Apps

We live in a digital era now and there are lots of budgeting apps that you can download. Some of them will connect with all your bank accounts and send you real-time updates of all your expenses.

Pen and Paper

Plenty of people still use this traditional method and it is nothing wrong with that. All you have to do it to keep all your receipts until you get home and then start doing the math.

Spreadsheets

This is the method I have always used, and it worked for me, it is quite similar to the above method except… it does the math for you.

Envelope system

Firstly, buy a couple of envelopes, label them with the categories mentioned above. Then at the start of each month or when you get your paycheck assign the required amount of cash for each category.

EXPENSES

Create Spending Limits

At the end of every month, you should check how much you spend in each category and adjust the next month accordingly.

Make sure that your estimate expenses do not go above your income and you always have money left at the end of the month and not the other way around.

You should always remember to prioritize and paying your debts or saving money for an emergency fund should always come first.

If You Track It, You Can Improve It

As you probably noticed already, tracking your expenses has many advantages. It will allow you to always be in control of your money and become debt free.

It will also stop your impulse buying habits and help you focus on the relevant purchases.

Remember, budgeting may not seem an easy thing at the beginning but all you need is to be patient and realistic.

A budget is not restrictive, it should allow you to pay for all your needs, enjoy life, save money and also gain full control of your money.

Let me know in the comments below how you track your expenses.

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