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Friday, September 12, 2008

How to Keep Track of Daily Expenses - EASILY!

I have used trial and error to keep track of my daily spending. I tried to use a computer spreadsheet and an accounting book. I have also tried cash only and in this day and age it doesn't seem practical for me anymore.
The problem is that I was trying to tackle the entire months worth of spending and I was getting overwhelmed. I finally honed in on my spending and figured out a VERY EASY way to keep track of daily spending habits and stay within budget.
Step # 1
Keep track of your money on a weekly basis instead of monthly. If you keep on budget during each week you will be on budget if not under at the end of the month.
First calculate your monthly budget and split it into 4 weeks or 5 in some months. What I have done to make this even easier is separate my bills from the budget because they are usually fixed expenses. I only keep track of my daily spending including groceries, gas, and other misc spending.
Step # 2
Create a Daily Spending Log: Once you know how much you can budget to spend for the week pull out a blank piece of paper and fold it in 8ths and open up. At the top of each folded square put the days of the weeks and the date. I always start with Monday and go through Sunday. On the last square you can put your budgeted amount for the week.
Step # 3
Your Daily Spending Log for the week can be easily folded up to put in the back of your pocket, your purse, or wallet. Probably easiest to put near your debit card or money. Each and every time you spend quickly jot it on your log for that day. At the end of the day subtract your budgeted amount for the daily spent and put the balance at the bottom of your daily square for that particular day. This will keep you on track and you will know EXACTLY how much you have for the rest of the week.
Step # 4
I did this for a month and realized that every week I usually spent the same amount on the same items. This will help you eliminate unnecessary spending. I noticed that I eat out every Thursday night because we're so tired from working during the week. So I started planning in advance and prepared a crock pot dinner on Thursday mornings. I just cut about $20.00 of unnecessary spending.
Step # 5
If you want at the end of the week you could set up a spreadsheet on the computer or paper and put your spending into categories so you can really see how much you are spending on each and think of ways to cut back that way.
Hope this helps you keep track of your daily spending easier!! Let me know where you figured out ways to cut back. Thanks for reading my blog!
Misti