Learn How To Track Your Spending

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

You have just realized that you need to start living within a budget. You sit down and begin to prepare to setup a budget but have not quite figured out how to completely track your spending. Since getting an accurate budget is critical to solving your debt issues and possibly your credit problems, learning how to track your spending is the first logical step in the process. If you know exactly where every dime is going, and then working on your budget will become easy. But if you guess and don't accurately plan your spending, your budget will be a guess and probably not an accurate assessment in solving your credit issues. Here are some tips to help you get the accurate information that you need.
1. First start by writing down what your beginning balance is going to be. This may be what you are planning on spending each day or it may be what you hope not to spend more than. Keeping this number written down and "unreachable" will be the most important start to the process.
2. Get receipts for everything including the dime that you spent on gum at the local drugstore. Receipts will not allow you to cheat your numbers. Store the receipts all together in a case or pockets that will you will not be able to lose them. If you use a credit card or a debit card, then it will be easier to track that information online.
 3. Keep track of errands that you run to see if they add additional expenditures while you are out. For example, if you run to the store do you make a stop at other places that you would not normally stop at? Getting fuel for the car, do you stop and get a coffee and/or a donut as well? These extra stops often become habit and are not really part of the errand that you need to run.
4. Most people will spend less if they use cash only. If you pay your bills by check or credit card and everything else is in cash, soon you will find yourself spending less since you don't want to spend cash. This really works, try it. Additionally, if you teach yourself that when the money is spent there is no more, you will find that your cash goes much further.
 5. There are many software programs out there to assist you in tracking your spending. Spreadsheets are generally the least expensive way to gather that information but there are more detailed programs like Microsoft Money or Quicken to help with the day to day spending. Keep track of your spending very accurately for the first 30 days or so. This will help you to understand where your money is going on a daily basis. By tracking your spending you will be able to realize that controlling your spending is very important.
6. Honesty is your best friend. If you want the information and benefits to be good, then putting good information into the system is the best way to see good results. Remember garbage in, garbage out. Once you have done this for several months (I personally recommend no less than 90 days to get an accurate picture). You can then work to resolve any problems or issues you have with your budget. Setting a budget and following it will help you resolve any money issues you may have. Then once you have control of your spending and are following a budget, you can start working on any credit problems that you have. Credit Repair is best begun when you have control of your spending and are following a budget. Bad credit is a result of someone who has no control over their spending or following their budget.

Author: Mel Jensen


  1. Hello! I discovered your blog from the FFF group on Mom Bloggers Club! From one frugal mom to another...great job!

  2. Thank you for the nice comment- I will have to go for a visit over to your site-


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