Do you know where your money goes every month? I thought we had a pretty good idea of where ours went, until I started keeping track of where we spent our money. It is a real eye opener. Today I’m going to give you some tips to make tracking your money easier. Also a FREE spreadsheet to help you get started!
I have to admit that since moving in with Sam, I have been really lazy in keeping track of the money. I used the excuse “It’s his money” which is really a bullshit excuse. If we are to be partners in this relationship, we have to be partners in everything. And that includes the finances.
Last month, our car needed new brakes. Even with a friend in the auto repair business, it was still a costly repair, and could not be put off until later. The unexpected expense made our “budget” really tight at the end of the month. When I say budget, I mean our money situation, or lack of money situation. I knew something had to change. On paper our income was sufficient to cover everything we needed, with some extra left over. So why did a repair bill almost break the bank?
I decided I would take over the money and track our spending. I wanted to see exactly where our money is going.
5 Tips to Make Tracking Your Money Easier
1. Use a spreadsheet. I made a spreadsheet to keep track of the money we spent. I can record Sam’s paychecks, and I keep track our spending in categories such as utilities, pets, food, entertainment, and vehicle. I set up the columns to do the math for me, and I can see at a glance exactly how much money we have.
2. Keep your receipts. You don’t really know exactly where you spend your money until you set down and actually look at it. It makes it easier to record exactly how much you spent each day.
3. Make a plan. We used to play this game every day where we would go to the grocery store and wander up and down the isles until something looked good for dinner. Only to get to go back and do it again the next day. When I started tracking our spending, I also started weekly meal planning. I sit down and plan what I’m going make for dinner that week. The benefit to this is it’s one trip to the store, and I don’t spend money on a bunch of “looks good” junk food.
4. Phone apps. Most banks have apps for your smart phone so you can access your account information anytime you need to. You can also use these apps to alert you every time a purchase or withdraw is made over a certain dollar amount. Or alert you when your balance is below a specific amount. It is also a great way to be reminded of automatic payments you have set up that you may have forgotten to track in the spreadsheet.
5. Be committed. I have to be honest, when I first started tracking our spending, there were a couple of times I opted for a smaller version, or even a knock off brand of something Sam was used to buying. and it was difficult for him to adjust. Tracking your money requires commitment and communication from both partners to make this successful.
I am really excited and hopeful that this will make a difference in our budget. And because I want you to be successful at tracking your money as well, I have created a tracking spreadsheet for my email subscribers. Sign up for weekly updates, and FREE Goodies!!