Track Your Spending

A lot of people consider skimming their credit card statements or their Mint account as “tracking their spending”.  I assure you, it’s not quite the same as actually typing out every item you buy and how much it cost.  Yes, there are a lot of websites and programs out there that do it for you and even let you group your charges into customized categories like “food”, “entertainment”, “utilities”, etc.  But until you track your spending manually, you won’t get the full effect of knowing where your money is going.  Plus, when programs do it for you, you can go weeks or months and in some cases, years without having to face your spending habits.  But if you type out everything you buy and keep that list updated once a week (or at least once a month), you’ll have a better chance at adjusting your spending before too much damage is done.

Action Item:  Start tracking your spending using your credit card statements and receipts to help you.  You don’t have to use a complicated system.  I use Excel and only have 3 columns: Date, Vendor/Item and Cost.

7 thoughts on “Track Your Spending

  1. I do this thanks to you since our college roomie days!!! Great post… typing out every transaction is tedious but you do get on top of your spending habits.

    • I still remember the day I gave you the spreadsheet :). I’m so glad you still use it and continue to find it helpful! I think it’s catching on because Sam is starting to track her spending too!

  2. omg- ive been wanting to do this for YEARS… i love the simple example you gave regarding excel… do you still keep track on your 3 columned sheet?

    do you also have an excel that helps tell you exactly where you are regarding finances… not just spending, but also earnings? im sure that would be a more complicated excel format, hm?

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