Bringing awareness to how and where you spend money is an important step in becoming in control of your money. Tracking your expenses for at least a week will show you where your money goes and may uncover habits that you can change to save more money.
Tracking your expenses can also help you build an accurate budget. When creating a budget, especially for the first time, we may think we know how much we spend on eating out on a monthly basis. Often what we think we spend on a particular category and what we actually spend are two different amounts!
How do I track my expenses?
Use our expense tracker. Print it out and carry it around with you for a week. Write down every purchase you make throughout the week. At the end of the week add up all of your spending. Take a look and ask yourself the following questions:
Am I surprised at where my money went?
Did writing down my spending uncover or confirm any bad money habits?
What can I do to reduce spending in a particular area?
Yes, there are other ways to track your expenses! Use a small notebook and write down each expense. Or use a notes app on your phone. While we love and recommend apps that track your expenses automatically such as Mint.com there is tremendous value in going “old school” for awhile to bring awareness and consciousness to your spending habits.