Simple Expenditure Tracking System
The first step in taking control of your spending is understanding where you spend your money today.
At the bottom of this post is a link to a simple spreadsheet that is designed to make it easy for you to do just that.
As I’m fond of arguing, there are a lot of behaviors and habits that we don’t completely control. We’re aware that we spend money every day on a sandwich at lunch, a coffee in the morning or a quick drink with friends in the evening, but we aren’t good at measuring the overall consequence of those habits.
To take control of this spending, we need to measure it first so that we know what the starting point is, and where we have scope to shrink what we spend with a few small changes.
The first step on this journey is therefore a detailed examination of our spending habits.
The only way to do this is by recording everything we spend. Every single transaction. My guidelines for this are detailed in a separate article, but can be summarized as:
- Pick the categories you will sort your spending into (rent, entertainment, snacks, travel, etc)
- Take a pen and paper with you everywhere and record every single time you spend any money
- Don’t record money taken from ATMs as cash, instead record the moments when you spend that cash on goods
- Regularly transcribe your written notes into a spreadsheet (see below)
- After 30 days, examine your spreadsheet to see where that money is being spent.
The full details of this will appear in the Spending Diagnosis Toolkit, a complete program to examine your spending as a first step towards taking control of your finances.
To measure your spending, you can use the spreadsheet which you can access on Google Docs.
Simple Expenses Tracker by Nick @ The Penny Ninja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.