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Elevate CUJan 8, 2023 11:00:00 AM1 min read

How To Track Your Spending

How to track your spending

Tracking your spending is the first step toward greater financial awareness and overall financial health. But mastering this skill is easier said than done. How can you track every dollar you spend when making multiple daily purchases? We’ve outlined how to track your spending in 3 easy steps. 

1. Choose your tools

Tracing every dollar’s journey isn’t easy, but you can make it quick and straightforward with the right tools. First, choose from one of the following money-tracking techniques: 

  • Budgeting apps. If your life happens on your phone, download a budgeting app like YNAB or Mint to help track your spending. Both apps allow you to allocate a specific monthly amount of money for each spending category and enable you to track your spending with just a few clicks. 
  • Spreadsheet. A spreadsheet might be a good choice if you like to see everything spelled out clearly. You’ll need to record every transaction, but if you prepare the sheet with all the spending categories you think you’ll need, it shouldn’t take long. 
  • The envelope system. If you’re a big cash spender, consider withdrawing the cash you think you’ll spend in a month and keeping it in an envelope for each category. When you need to make a purchase, use the money from the envelope. 
  • Receipts. Hold onto every receipt from the purchases you make this month to help you track your spending.
  • Pencil and paper. Recording each purchase in an old-fashioned way can help you make more mindful money choices throughout the day.

 

2. Review your checking account and credit card statements carefully

Along with one of the tools listed above, you can track the purchases you make with plastic by reviewing your monthly checking account and credit card statements. You can access these online by logging into your account and downloading. 

3. Review and categorize your purchases

At the end of the month, use your chosen tool to review all the purchases you’ve made. Don’t forget to include any automated payments you rarely think about, such as subscription fees and insurance premiums, when completing this step.

Use the tips outlined here to master the skill of tracking your spending successfully. We will help you get your finances in shape. Look for more steps to come on our MoneySmart Tips.