Payday — just the sound of it kind of makes your heart swell and your fingertips tingle. That beautiful day comes and you’re probably thinking: “I need new shoes” or “my phone needs an upgrade” or “There’s this new restaurant I’ve been dying to try.” So you go on with your week, paying your dues and spending for things that make you happy, and hey, you deserve it right? But then, it’s a day or two before the next payday and you’re there sulking because you’re broke and you have no idea where your money went.
Whether you’re single or married, with kids or not, a young individual or a seasoned professional; keeping track of your spending (and your finances in general), is essential to living a fuller and better life. Want to do it but don’t know where to start? No worries. We’ve got you covered. Here are our top 3 tips for tracking your spending:
You know those little pieces of paper with numbers that often get lost in your wallet? Don’t throw them away. Carry a small notebook with you so you can write down purchases without receipts, and print out electronic receipts of online purchases. Compile all sales receipts, printed receipts, and expense notes for the month in a jar or box. Separate them into categories. Trust me on this, it’ll make your life easier.
Do a Little Math
Remember all those receipts you compiled? Well, it’s time to tally them up. If you separated them into categories, then this part should be easier for you. If not, well, you’re going to have to sort out all of the receipts anyway before you input and separate them in the computer or your notebook. Add up all of them by category, before summing up the total. This way, you get to see where most of your money is going. Are you spending more for video games than food? Have you been taking too many taxi rides around that you’re overspending on transportation?
Okay if, like me, you’re just completely and utterly hopeless with math — don’t panic. That doesn’t mean it’s game over with keeping track of your spending. The beauty of living in the 21st century is that we have technology on our side. Can’t figure out the right formulas for your weekly or monthly budget? No worries. Google Docs has loads of Personal Budget Tracker templates for your convenience. Want to do your budget tracking on-the-go? As long as you have a smartphone and an internet connection, you can use Google Docs wherever and whenever! You can even make budgeting even easier with budget tracker apps. You have a myriad to choose from available for both Apple and Android.
Remember that someone who makes a million dollars a year but ends up spending a million dollars a year is still pretty much broke by the end of the year. So be smart and keep track of where all of those dollars are going so you don’t end up like the broke millionaire by the end of the week. Good luck!