We’ve talked before about how one of the first steps in taking control of your finances is tracking your money coming in and going out. With the various ways we spend our incomes, that can get a little trickier than you might think, though. Here are 10 tips for keeping track of your expenses.
List How You Spend Money
Do you have a few credit cards? Debit cards linked to different accounts? Cash you keep on hand? Write it all down.
Request Your Statements
For most people, this is probably just going to mean going online and downloading your credit card and checking account statements.
Determine a Useful Time Frame
It’s tough to get an accurate picture of your personal finances if you’re looking at a month that’s still in progress or has a particularly high number of extra expenses.
Whether you use “fixed” vs “flexible” or more specific categories, these can help you figure out how to move forward with your money.
Identify Recurring Costs
These are things like subscriptions and monthly charges. They’re also a smart place to start cutting if you need to save more money.
Work with the Flow
However your brain works best, go with it. If that means pencil and paper, whip them out. If an app is more your style, get to downloading.
If you want to identify spending trends you might need to look beyond a single month’s worth of expenses.
This one may sound boring, but if you spend cash anywhere you’ll need to be keeping receipts.
Grab a Buddy
Struggling to sit down and figure these out? Get a friend or family member to sit down and do it with you.
You’ve worked hard pulling this information together, now use it!