You’ve seen it everywhere … Track Your Spending … and it sounds like a good idea but how do you do it where it doesn’t take all day?
Here are some tips on managing your spending that will help you understand the process that will only take 10 minutes a day to help you get out of debt.
First thing you have to do is understand you have a problem; if you don’t admit to having a spending problem (which means you don’t know where your money is going) then you won’t be successful in using this process to get out of debt. Which also likely means you won’t get out of debt, you will continue to spiral deeper and deeper into debt until you have no recourse but to file bankruptcy.
Tracking your spending isn’t as hard as it sounds; and certainly doesn’t take more than 10 minutes a day to do it properly.
The How To Of Managing Your Spending
You can use one of several different ways to track everything such as:
1. Keep a small 3×5 notebook with you to write in each time you spend
2. Get a receipt each time you spend & log them into a tracking sheet each day
3. Use a special budget register to keep track of all spending & carry it with you
4. Use a software program to track your expenses
Managing Your Spending With A Notebook
The 3×5 Notebook is a very inexpensive and easy to do way of writing expenses; the problem with it is you still have to sort through all your notes in order to categorize and total your spending on a monthly basis. You can minimize this by setting up a series of pages in your notebook by category. This will help keep your notes organized and easier to calculate.
Managing Your Spending With Receipts
Getting a receipt each time you spend money isn’t that hard; making sure you don’t lose them is something else however. Just be sure and keep them in one place (perhaps a small envelope in your wallet or purse). This is what I do all the time; have for several years now and it works great for me. I’ve even trained hubby and the kids to get receipts for everything they spend as well! Each evening I enter the receipts into my tracking spreadsheet and know exactly where our money is going and how much is left.
I’ve set these worksheets up with basic categories to keep tracking simple. The categories are:
Housing (Rent or mortgage, utilities, maintenance, house/rental insurance, etc.)
Transportation (Bus, subway, or cab fare; car payment, car insurance, gas, maintenance, etc.)
Medical (Health insurance as well as any medical related expenses)
Personal Care & Allowances (Clothing, haircuts, child care, allowances, etc.)
Groceries & Sundries (Over the counter products, food, cleaning supplies, etc.)
Entertainment (Going out; renting videos, vacations, etc.)
Debt Payments (All other debt payments not included above)
Other (Anything not fitting in a category above)
Recommended Ways of Managing Your Spending
If you prefer something that is easier to carry with you, I recommend Budgetmap. It is a check register that will replace your regular checking account register. It opens up into a spreadsheet with columns you can use to track your cash, checking and other balances, as well as spread your expenses to the proper category. This particular tool can go a long way in helping you stay organized and on track in your goal to get out of debt.
Now, if you are more into software that does the calculations for you after you make a few entries, then you just have to try Mvelopes. This online tool will help you set up your budget, track your spending, compare your spending with your budget, and also download your bank account activity so you don’t have to make the entries yourself. Definitely try it out, as it makes budgeting and tracking absolutely simple!