Have you ever looked at your monthly bank statement and found yourself surprised by what you spent your money on? Are you unsure of where your money is really going and find yourself struggling to pay your bills and set aside savings?
Using a spending tracker can help you make decisions that can help meet your goals and give you clarity around your spending habits. Once you’ve got a clear idea of how you spend your money, you’ll be ready to start building a budget .
Budget tool: Spending tracker
Fill out this spending tracker for one week. After that week, take a look at your spending and consider:
- What expenses surprised you?
- Are there areas where you spent unnecessarily?
- Are you paying for services or subscriptions that you’re not really using?
- Are you paying service fees on your credit card, subscription service, or other financial service that you could eliminate?
- How does your weekday spending differ from what you spend on weekends?
It’s important to take a look at your obligations and wants to set priorities when it comes to your budget. Obligations typically include things like rent and utilities, as well as any payments like spousal or child support.
Wants may be a little more difficult to identify. A want may be something like a gym membership, cable, or going out for coffee each morning rather than making it at home.
Once you’ve broken down your spending habits, you can analyze them more carefully. Knowing what you owe on a monthly basis, and knowing where you actually spend your money, can help you prioritize so you can pay your bills on time, get control of your debt, and start saving for the future.
Take control of your finances
The Get a Handle on Debt series gives you tools to manage your debt by budgeting smarter, paying your bills on time, tracking your spending, paying down existing debts, and earning extra income. You can also get money management strategies sent directly to your inbox by signing up for our Get a Handle on Debt boot camp.