5 Simple Tips to Make Tracking Your Money Easier

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!

Tracking Your Money

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!!

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About Becky

While control is an illusion, organization helps to manage the chaos of our lives. Becky was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2007. She has found that when her life and home are organized her bipolar mind is less manic. She shares her attempts at managing the chaos of living with her fiance and tweenage step-daughter, while trying to be a good parent to her mostly grown children who live 2 hours away.

19 comments to 5 Simple Tips to Make Tracking Your Money Easier

  • This is great!!!! My husband has taught me the importance of keeping receipts- he would love this post- Ill have to show him 🙂 Glad I found you and your blog! Have a wonderful week!

    • Becky

      Hi and welcome I’m glad you came by!!! It is very much an eye opener when you pay attention to where you spend your money. And it makes you much more mindful when you are out shopping.

  • My husband loves tracking our money, and I keep an eye on it too. We use mint.com and have for years. It’s easy because it links up all of our accounts in one place and lets us set and track goals and budgets.

    • Becky

      Thank you for the suggestion!! I am sure there are apps/websites that can help with the planning for the future that I can’t do on my own. I will definitely be checking it out.

  • tiffanyatouchofgrace

    Great tips! We track our budget on a bi-weekly basis and it’s been great for us. It’s amazing to see where your money really goes when you actually sit down to look.

    • Becky

      Sam gets paid every week and it was just easy to spend it because “Friday we’ll get paid again!” except that it wasn’t working for us. Keeping track of every purchase no matter how small makes you so much more mindful of what you spend and where, and why. I’ve seen a huge difference in just the 2 weeks we’ve been doing this.

  • Great tips. I completely agree with using a spreadsheet! I always enjoy using a good spreadsheet. 🙂

    • Becky

      Oh good I’m not the only one!!! I love excel and usually people just look at me like I’m speaking Portuguese, but you can do so much with a well created spreadsheet.

  • What great tips. I wish that I had seen this earlier. I am trying to cut down on my grocery bill. I think that I am spending less but it would have been good if I had tracked my spending before compared to now.

    • Becky

      Thank you!!!!
      I have nothing prior to March 1st to compare to, beyond the fact that it always felt like we never had enough money. As I said, I was willfully ignorant to how the money was being spent until I stepped up and took over. We are only 2 weeks into this month, so we will see how we finish out the month. And then if we can do it again next month. But I would say it’s never too late to start keeping track and being mindful of where the money goes.

  • Sarah @ Foxy's Domestic Side

    So funny, when I got married, my husband HATE receipts, I was a receipt girl, through and through, but he would not keep a receipt to save his life. Even when we would get food, and you needed your receipt with your order number, he would even throw those out before we even got our food! Now we follow the Dave Ramsey method, have been doing it for almost 6 years now. And we only use our debit card, so that alleviates having to keep receipts.

    • Becky

      I have heard great things about the Dave Ramsey method and I will be checking into it. This are still so many more things I can do to improve our situation. But doing nothing was no longer an option. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Great tips! My husband was recently laid off so we have been keeping a tight budget. Thanks for the tips.

    • Becky

      I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s job. This will definitely help keep track of things. It has really made me mindful of the money we do spend and I often ask myself.. do we really need soda every single day? Good Luck!!

  • I have NO idea where my money goes. Nada. No tracking, no receipts. Sigh. Thanks for the kick in the butt!!

    • Becky

      Until I started tracking our spending, I didn’t either. All I knew was there never seemed to be enough. It’s a real eye opener when you see it all on a spreadsheet in front of you.

  • […] Tracking your spending gives you a clear picture of where your money goes every month.  Once you know where your money is being spent, it is then easier to decide where you can make changes in order to spend less and save more.  Our easiest thing to cut spending on was food.  Below is a list of effective ways I have saved money on groceries. […]