Track spending? Who wants to track spending? It takes time and effort and just isn’t any fun. It’s just more fun to be able to spend money and not worry about what happens later.
Does that sound like you?
We certainly hope not.
How to track spending?
Actually, it’s not as hard to track spending as you might think. There are a number of ways you can do this, either the old-fashioned way or with one of the new online programs available.
If you don’t have easy access to a computer, you might elect to track spending the old-fashioned way. All you will need is a notebook and a pen or pencil. Just write down everything you spend money on. It’s important to be totally honest. If you spent $18 having beers with the boys or $12 for that special shampoo, you need to write it down even though you may not feel real good about having spent the money on beers or a shampoo.
At the end of the month, you can then compile your expenses to see exactly where your money went. Many people who go through this exercise find it to be very eye opening. In other words, they discover they’re spending a lot more money on a lot of different things than they would have ever imagined.
How to track spending electronically
If you do have a computer, you can easily track spending electronically. For example, there is a program called Buddi for both Mac and PC users that will track spending and help you budget. You say you’re on a Windows® based computer? Then you might get the very popular program You Need A Budget (YNAB). It offers a number of features and will even teach you how to live within your means.
It may not be fun but it’s essential
It’s not very much fun to track spending. You have to be careful and make notes about everything you spend and for what. However, you really can’t get control of your finances until you develop a budget. And you can’t develop a budget until you know how much you’re spending and on what. It’s the first step in smart money management and as irritating as it might be, it’s just imperative that you track spending.