Are you looking to take charge of your finances? One of the ways you can do this is by keeping a close eye on your expenses, but how can you effectively do this? There are a number of different tactics for tracking expenses, so to help you out, we’ve listed a few.
Use an expense spreadsheet
Probably the go-to expense tracking method that many would have heard of or used before would be setting up an electronic spreadsheet. It’s easy enough to do, you can even find expense tracking templates online that are often free1. Not to mention they’re simple to keep maintained and current. Although, you need to be accountable of actively taking time out of your day to consistently revisit and update your spreadsheet to ensure it accurately depicts your expenses1. This could prove challenging if you’re someone who struggles to find free time for these types of activities. That said, perhaps it’s just what you need to keep on top of tracking your expenses.
Try budgeting or expense tracking apps
If you’re a bit more tech savvy, you might like to consider downloading an expense tracking app. There are plenty of options to choose from that are specifically designed to make expense tracking as simple as possible2. Keep in mind though that you may be required to pay for some apps2. If you like having access to your budget and being able to manage your expenses on the go, this could be the method for you2. A variety of customisable options are generally also possible with apps so you can cater your expense tracking to your personal needs2.
Try basic expense tracking using paper
Another simpler method to try, tracking your expenses using paper means you can put your list somewhere obvious that you’ll see every day to remind you to stay on budget1. Plus, you can take your expense tracker with you while you shop, allowing you to keep on top of it and ensure you accurately note down your expenses1. However, unlike digital expense trackers, paper can be tricky to maintain and you have a greater chance of misplacing your list1. If you’re confident you can keep on top of it though, you may not have anything to worry about.
Track your expenses by category or store
If your budget is divided into different expense categories, you may also like to track your expenses according to these categories2. This would give you some insight into your spending habits and alert you to whether you’re spending more money than budgeted in some categories2. Or perhaps you want to really narrow down your expense tracking into categories of stores you regularly visit. Whatever works best for you, be as specific as possible with your categories and ensure you keep them updated as your spending habits change2.
Revisit your expenses each month
Keeping track of your expenses as the days go by might seem tricky, especially finding the time to accurately record your expenses. If that’s the case for you, revisiting your expenses at the end of the month and planning for the next one might be a better option2. You could easily do this by reviewing all of your transactions recorded on your bank account and adding totals to each category of your expenses2. From there, you’d be able to tell whether you overspent in some areas and need to cut down or whether you could budget for more money in certain areas2.
Try a budgeting tool
You may even like to try a new method altogether by using a budgeting tool, such as Queensland Country Bank’s SmartBudget account, which can help you manage payment of your bills and expenses more effectively.
Terms and conditions of Queensland Country Bank’s SmartBudget account apply. View the relevant TMD available at queenslandcountry.bank. Normal lending criteria, terms, conditions and fees apply and are available on request.
General Advice Warning: This information is intended to be general in nature and is not personal financial advice. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information in this article, you should consider the appropriateness of the information provided. In particular, you should seek independent financial advice.
1Ramsey Solutions, 2023, How to track your expenses, https://www.ramseysolutions.com/budgeting/how-to-track-expenses
2Kelley Long, 2017, 6 ways to track your spending, Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/financialfinesse/2017/08/17/6-ways-to-track-your-spending/?sh=4705ad234650