how to keep track of expenses

How To Keep Track Of Expenses More Easily

Learning how to keep track of expenses is the first step to taking charge of your spending (and your financial well-being). You’ll know exactly how you’re using your money, and whether you’re getting enough value or if it’s aligned with your personal goals.

Ways To Keep Track Of Expenses

Here’s how to keep track of outgoing money, spot “’money leaks”, and how to get money for unexpected financial emergencies.

Choose A System                                                                      

Notebook, app, Excel sheet, ledger – the method of how to keep track of expenses doesn’t really matter. The most important thing is that it works for you.

For example, if you enjoy writing things down and using different colored pens, then a notebook is perfect for you. If you always have your phone with you, then an app may be more convenient and accessible. If you like being able to sort expenses or make projections, then Excel has plenty of budget templates you can use.

Set Expense Categories

List down all the general categories for your expenses: rent, utilities, food, groceries, transportation, etc.

When you’re first learning how to keep track of your expenses, it’s best to keep these categories simple so you don’t feel overwhelmed. You can always change or add to them as you become more familiar with your spending patterns.

Determine Your Budget

Under each category, set your budget. Some expenses have a fixed amount every month, like phone bills or rent. Others can vary, based on your particular purchases or even the season. For example, energy expenses may be higher in the winter, or your food expenses can go up if you eat out often.

For seasonal or variable expenses, look at areas where you can either cut down in areas where you overspend, or save for months when costs will go up.

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Make Writing Down Expenses A Habit

Just like brushing your teeth has become automatic because you’ve been doing it for years, learning how to keep track of expenses every day simply boils down to doing it all the time. Here are some tips:

  • Keep a notebook or app handy. We often forget to write down small expenses like the morning coffee or the last-minute trip to the convenience store. So, make sure you have somewhere to write down what you spend, even when you’re on the go.
  • Have a place for receipts. Keep receipts in an envelope or desk drawer. Not only is it a good way how to track your expenses, but you may also need them if you find out if you have to refund or return a product.
  • Set a time each day to review your expenses. Look at your notes at the end of each day, to see if you missed anything. This is also a chance for you to review your spending versus your budget: are you likely to overspend this week? How can you cut back, if needed?
  • Talk about expenses with your partner. If you share expenses with your partner, be sure to talk about your budget together, and make financial decisions together. Don’t wait until there’s a problem to talk about money.

Set Financial Goals

When you know how to keep track of expenses, you spend money with more purpose and clarity. You don’t overspend on things that don’t matter, and you’re able to save for the things that do.

To motivate yourself to stick to your budget, think about your short-term and long-term goals. This can be as simple as saving enough for a nice date night at a favorite restaurant, to as big as setting up your retirement fund.

If you have clear goals, then you won’t be tempted to waste money, or feel that writing down expenses is tedious and boring. You see the personal benefits of being more mindful about your spending.

Have An Emergency Plan

Emergencies can happen to anyone. Despite all your efforts to limit or track your expenses, you can find yourself short in the middle of the month. For example, your car breaks down and you’re faced with a huge bill for repairs on the same day that your rent is due.

If your savings can’t cover the expenses, you have the option to get a quick payday loan. You can borrow from $100 to $500 and get the money either the same day or the next business day, depending on when you’re approved. This can help you meet your financial needs until your next paycheck.

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How To Get A Quick Payday Loan Now

Alabama Title Loans, Inc. has one of the easiest processes for payday loans.

  • No credit score requirements. You can apply even if you have bad credit or no credit history.
  • Minimal requirements. You just need a government-issued ID, social security card, a recent 30-day bank statement from your checking account, your most recent pay stub, and a blank check from an active checking account in your name.
  • Easy application. Fill out our online inquiry form and wait for the call of a loan representative from the nearest location. He or she will call you to explain the process and answer your questions. From there, go to the nearest branch with your documents. Upon verification of the documents, someone will walk you through the final paperwork.
  • Fast payout. If you are approved, you get the money on the same day or the following business day.

Reach out to us for more information on how to apply for a payday loan.

Note: The content provided in this article is only for informational purposes, and you should contact your financial advisor about your specific financial situation.

Daniel Dewitt

Daniel Dewitt is a lifetime blogger with a finely-honed ability to break down, analyze, and interpret economic trends for the layman. He's fiercely invested in spreading financial literacy and helping everyday people gain the tools they need for their own economic success.