How to keep track of your finances



keeptrackoffinances

Part of being organized in my opinion is to know what your household income and expenses are. It is important to know where you are standing. What are your assets, how much is your debt? What bills need to be paid?  How much money did I spend this month? There are many ways to keep track of your finances.

I am using an old version of Quicken Home & Business which does everything I need and provides a great overview of our current net worth. You can also compare your spending to the previous month or year. The only downside for me is that it is an older version and not longer supports the download of your bank transactions, which means every transaction has to be entered manually. As you can see I am very far behind entering the receipts, but at least I kept them all. This will be a weekend task for me. Maybe with a nice cup of coffee and a movie playing.

 

receipts1

Another great option are spreadsheets. If you know the basics and are able to create simply formulas this can be an inexpensive way to manage your finances. You can create your spreadsheet the way it works best for you.  I will create a separate step-by-step post on how to create spreadsheet to keep tracking of everything.

Some people though find it easier to write everything down manually. This can be done in a simple notebook or with awesome templates that can be found online. I am planning on creating my own household binder that will include important information for our household and my husband is able to look at the information as well.

We decided that I am in charge of our family finances as I work in the accounting field and I believe it is important for my husband to be able to see where the money goes. I am pretty sure most times he does not know how much money is in the account or how much the bills are. I think a lot of times he does not want to be bothered with it but he should know as well.

Keeping track of your finances will help you achieve your savings goals, pay down your debt and show you how much you are spending on things. I was  shocked to see how much we were actually spending on groceries and fast food every month. You would not know otherwise. We get groceries once a week but I found myself stopping at the grocery store after work to pick up some extra things. These extra things added up to an extra $100 each week on top of my grocery bill. Fast food was a big expense as well. $20 here, 30$ there, couple of coffees, maybe some lunch…..crazy!

I suggest the first step is to write down all your income and expenses for one month. Separate the expenses into different categories. This can be just a few categories or as many as you want (e.g Vehicle expense vs. Car insurance, maintenance, gasoline). After the first month, have a look and see where your money goes. For the next month try to adjust your spending. Set limits and try to stay within budget. The extra money that’s saved move it to savings account or emergency fund.

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