If you’re like me, and come to the end of the week having no idea where your money has gone, then it’s time to take action.
Tracking your spend for at least one week is a great way of getting an idea of where your money is going and whether there are any money sucks that need to be addressed.
Here are some of the top methods for tracking your spend:
1. Use an app
We are in the digital age, so of course there are plenty of apps specifically designed for the purpose of tracking your spend. One of the more popular ones created by Money Smart even has the name – TrackMySPEND.
It’s pretty easy to use, as all you need to do every time you make a purchase or pay a bill is tap the “add a new expense” button and punch in the expense name and amount. You can also choose which category the expense falls under. For instance, this morning I spent $3.20 on my bus ticket and put it under “Transport & auto”. Once I got to work I also bought a $3 coffee, which went under “Entertainment & eating out”.
The best part is, the app crunches the numbers for you and tells you how much you have spent. So in my scenario I could quickly see that I’d already spent $6.20 and it wasn’t even lunch time!
2. Pay via card
Another easy way to track your spend is by avoiding cash purchases and paying for everything via your credit or debit card. That way when the end of the week rolls around, you can simply hop online and sign into your internet banking to see how much you spent over the week. It’s also wise while reviewing your bank statement to look out for any automatic payments you don’t use like membership fees and put a plug in these money sucks by cancelling them.
3. Withdraw a set amount of cash
Alternatively, you could use the opposite tactic and instead withdraw an allocated amount of cash at the beginning of the week and put it in an envelope. Each time you make a purchase, simply ask the merchant to give you a copy of the receipt and add it to the envelope.
The best part of paying with cash is it allows you to track your spend, whilst avoiding splashing out like with a credit card as you have a set budget.
At the end of the week, all you need to do is see how much cash you have left in the envelope to work out how much you have spent. Say you took out $300 at the beginning of the week and have $47 left, that would mean you spent $253 over the week and stayed within your budget. And if you wanted to see if there were any areas you could cut back, all you would need to do is go through the receipts.
Want more tips for helping your hip pocket? Then read our save $1,000 by Christmas blog.