With the financial landscape always changing it can be difficult to manage your money, with so many different bank accounts, sources of income and financial products – making it complicated and time-consuming. Thanks to stagnant or falling wages and rising living costs, many people are in the same boat. But most people don’t make the effort to track their spending. Here’s why it’s important and the best way to go about it.
Why should you track your spending?
Tracking your spending habits would help you discover how much money you’re spending – which might be wildly different from the amount you think you’re spending. By giving you a clear picture of your finances, it can help you make better choices each month.
How long should I track my spending?
Closely tracking where your money goes for a few weeks to a month, can be incredibly helpful. If you haven’t done this before, chances are good that you’ll find a few shockers in your collected data. Knowing how much you spend can help you avoid spending beyond your income. But it can also help you see where you’re spending money on items or services that you don’t really care about, at the expense of other things that you’d rather have and do.
How to Track It?
One of the easiest way to start monitoring your transactions is with expense tracking app, as your phone is most likely with you all the time.
Homebudget with Sync
This app is actually multi-platform making it even easier for anyone to use this regardless of your mobile (Android/iOS/iPad) and desktop versions (Windows/Mac OS). A solid budgeting and expense management app with a fantastic family sharing feature that allows users to easily set a budget and then sync income and expenses between multiple devices. Users can create a budget, manage income amounts and easily log and categorise expenses over time, learning about their spending habits with charts and infographics
Spendee features a flat, brightly coloured and easily navigable interface. Expenses are quickly logged into categories, with the option to photograph receipts for easy storage. The Overview mode offers useful inforgraphics on your spending over time, as well as a breakdown of what items and categories you’re spending your money on. A simple and sweet solution to tracking your expenses.
This app is beautifully designed and very easy to use, making it easy to track expenses and set a budget. Users can set recurring transactions and view their spending by date, making any manual inputs quick and easy. There are a few downsides such as the lack of password protect and its inability to sync a budget between devices. With no options to share the budget with another device, regardless of the platform it means that a budget created on a user’s iPhone stays on that user’s iPhone.
This personal finance app aims to bring all the financial information you need into an easy view. Users can set a savings target, spending budget and income. Great little features also include social and location tools for your expenses, allowing you to not only record how much you spend, but where and with whom, as well as detailed infographics of your spending. Recently a beta version was rolled out to Android but is not as slick as the iOS version.
However if you don’t own a smartphone or that it is just not a major part of your life then don’t worry there are other money management online, just make sure that you ask your bank first if they provide such service. Many service providers earn money by charging you to use their services. Where “free” providers earn money by essentially selling your data, as you grant them access to your personal financial data. Or more precisely, a licence to monetise your data as they see fit.
Of course, if you are still not sold by apps or by various online tracking software then resorting to old-school methods is absolutely fine. Gather all your bank and credit card statements from recent months, along with every receipt you also have generated along the way, and enter the information into a notebook or spreadsheet.
Regardless of the method you use, you’ll want to keep a running note listing all your cash transactions that aren’t posted elsewhere.