If you’re trying to tighten your purse strings and save money, I recommend you track your spending. You can’t save money if you don’t know where your money is going, right?
Track your spending to face your spending habits
You might be thinking Isn’t there an app for that? Yes, there is. I use the Mint app right now. BUT when you’re just starting to get a handle on your spending, manually entering your purchases is a great way to face your habits.
It’s the reality check you need. Or at least it was for me.
Track your spending for a set period of time
Commit to monitoring every penny you spend for at least two weeks. If you want to get a real picture of your spending, then commit for one month.
Celebrate no spend days
As you track you expenses, take note of days you didn’t spend any money. What did you do instead to occupy your time? This can be helpful information for planning intentional no spend days.
Look for easy adjustments to save money
Another thing you should do while you track expenses is to look for quick spending adjustments. Is there anything you pay for that you’re not using? Do you have subscriptions that are not actually helpful? You can eliminate these right away before the month is even over.
Identify spending that makes you happy
When you track your spending, the goal is not to get rid of all expenditures. You should keep spending on the things you need and the things that bring you joy. The trick is finding a balance in your budget so you can afford both comfortably. For now, make a little mark next to the items that you love spending money on.
Aim for major change at the end of the month
By the end of the month, you will have collected a lot of data. You should have a pretty clear picture of your spending habits. Use this information to inspire real and possible change. If your goal is to save money or pay off debt, see what you can slash from your spending. Then follow through and put that money towards your goal.
Remember this is an exercise, not a judgment
Tracking your spending is just an exercise. It’s a step you can take that will give you clarity and eventually control over your money. If you noticed you overspend, just make a note. Don’t judge yourself. You are going to make a change and you have taken the first step! Shame can put you right back in an overspending cycle (trust me I know).