I’ve been tracking my spending for over a year now (with some gaps and blips) and while I’m not perfect (occassionally I will look at my bank balance and wonder where it all went) I think I’ve gotten a good routine down.
Here’s what I do.
1) Set up my weekly tracking report blog post. Right after the prior week’s goes live, the next one gets started.
2) Several times per week, I go through my online banking statements and add any transactions onto this report that I made using debit or credit.
3) For cash purchases and any shopping trips where I buy different categories of items (i.e. bought personal care items at the grocery store), I keep the receipts, I keep these in a separate place in my wallet and toss them (other than important ones) when I’ve put them on the report.
4) For small cash purchases (or times I just forget to get a reciept, oops!) I put this amount in a notepad I have on my phone. This is the trickiest one, sometimes its hard to remember everything you’ve bought. This is the part that takes the most effort and practice, so try your best to get reciepts for everything when you first start!
5) I try and reconcile what I’ve spent with what I have in my wallet and online (not always easy) if I’m off my a few bucks I usually let it go. If I’m off by a lot I do a bit more investigation (usually its cash transferred between me and T).
I try to make as many of my purchases using debit (and when necessary credit) as I can so that tracking is easy. T sometimes gets frustrated with me because I often ask him for a dollar for milk or to pay for something and I’ll pay him back
Another problem we encounter is when we go shopping at Wally Mart for instance and we end up buying groceries, PC items, and maybe a DVD or something. Since we don’t have a joint account for anything but bills T will usually pay for the items and I transfer the funds to him when I get paid (I’m charged $1.50 per email transfer) or we transfer cash between each other. Sometimes we forget and it can reak havoc on the budget! (i.e. T paid for season 3 of Game of Thrones on Blue-Ray in March but we forgot about my half until last pay, oops!) But when I do my monthly budgets and quarterly/yearly spending reports, I’m usually not off by much (last quarter report was off my $38) so I usually add it to food as that’s most likely where it ended up and call it a day
I know that using Mint or an app or something like that is the easier way to go and maybe one day when I feel like I can let go a little I’ll do that instead, but for right now this keeps me looking at my money (almost) every day and posting my spending to this blog helps keep me accountable.
Do you track your spending? If so, how do you track yours?
Until next time,