What to do First?
I recommend everyone starts by tracking your spending. This is how I started. It can be one of the hardest things to do. I don’t say that to discourage you. I want you to know that this will take time to grab hold of.
Tracking your expenses can be as simple as looking at your bank account and writing down what all you spent money on. You can track as you go thought a budget approach. I use the app called Everydollar. This app shows a simple budget layout that I was able to customize to my preferences. The app will also automatically regenerate every month. There is a pay version that allows you to link up your bank accounts so that your purchases will automatically show up on the app. I prefer the free version. This makes me manually put in my expenses making it a little more effective. There is another app called Mint. I haven’t done much with this app yet, but plan to dive into it. I understand that this app is totally free including being able to link up your accounts. However this app does not have a basic budget spreadsheet to start with. You have to create everything.
Tracking your spending through budgeting or simply looking through a bank statement can tell a lot about your expenses. You could easily find ways to save money by creating a budget. It could be a subscription you no longer use, over spending on groceries, eating out, extra clothing, or even cable TV. These are all things that my wife and I have found to be spending issues for us. In fact a few months ago we slashed our cable bill by going to basic channels and internet access. This was something we both felt we could do. A budget doesn’t have to be restrictive. It doesn’t tell you what you can’t spend. A budget tells your money where to go and how to behave.
How We Track Our Spending?
We budget by using the Everydollar app. We have it set up monthly and use our checking account for the budget expenses. We have categories like income, giving, monthly bills, food, debt, and everyday living. In these categories we also have line items. Now I could make a line item for everything, but my wife prefers it more simplified. So, we compromised and do some line items for bigger things and a simple miscellaneous section for basic everyday essentials that come up. So, as we spend the money, it goes into the budget and we get to see as the end of the month approaches how well we do. Now we don’t hit the target every time. But we get very close to it most of the time and under other times. When we have a troubled area we have gone so far as to use the “envelope system.” This is just as it sounds. We get an envelope out and place as much money as we are willing to spend into it. We did this for eating out. So we placed money into the envelope. When we ran out we no longer ate out. Taking this step can help you gain control of your finances in a way you may have never thought was possible or even considered. You’ll learn a lot about what you value by simply keeping track of it for a few months.
Benefits of tracking your spending
- Creating and Keeping a Budget
- Paying Bills
- Better Spending Habits
- Financial Awareness and Goals
- Allows You to be in charge of Your Money.
There’s a few things to keep in mind as you’re doing a budget. It’s going to take you a few months to get it going. The first month you’ll be all over the place as your learning to write stuff in and how much money to have in each category. But, by month 3, you’ll be pretty good at it. It takes time to find your groove. As you continue to learn your budget will evolve and become what you want it to be.
Email me if you have any questions!. I’m available to help and coach you!.
Thanks for reading!