If you want to be sure you are paying your bills on time and you want to save some money at the same time, track your spending. Yes, this is the best method of knowing where your money is going, where it should be going, and how you may be able to save a little bit of money each week or month. How can you track your spending?
The Manual Method
This is the easiest method for most people. It doesn’t involve any technical know how, except possibly the ability to use a calculator to check your figures. You simply take a notebook and write down each time you make a purchase, pay a bill, and the amount. You may also want to take a section of the notebook and mark down each time a bill is due to help make sure you pay your bills on time.
This method will work, if you keep your receipts. You can tally them daily. You can place the receipts into the notebook and tally them every couple of days. However, for the system to work, you can’t allow too many days to pass before you tally the amounts to see how much you are spending.
The Software Method
There are a variety of software programs that will help you track every purchase and bill you pay. There are also programs that will track when your bills are due and send you reminders. These programs can be linked to various devices you own. Some programs you may want to consider are the popular ones such as Excel or Quicken.
Websites and Apps
Thanks to this age of technology we are living in today we have many choices are both free websites and apps that can help us track every dime we spend. The key is remembering to input all the data. However, this can be easier by using the mobile versions that can be linked to our phones and tablets. Some of the free choices some people like include Mint, Buxfer or Budget Pulse. Remember even though you may be using a free site and you are inputting financial information, you aren’t actually inputting information that can be accessed. Plus, you can always use codes that represents certain bills. For instance, you don’t have to put the name of the bank that is securing your car or house loan. You can simply write car or house in the space for that loan.
Once you have chosen your method, you will begin to notice where you are spending the most money and where you can save money. This can help you evaluate your own spending habits.
What can you do to help curb those spending habits since you know where you’re bad habits are now? You can think of something you would rather spend that money on instead. For instance, if you notice that you are spending too much money on take out each month, you can evaluate your needs. Do you need to eat out as much as you do or do you need a vacation more? If you choose a vacation, give yourself some visual aides to help you. Place a picture of the place you want to go on your refrigerator, on your desk at work, and in your work. The pictures may inspire you to cook and save more money for that vacation.