Keeping track of your expenses can be a pain in the neck but ignoring where your cash is flowing is not only foolish, it’s downright dangerous. How can you know if your tendency to indulge
in some retail therapy every month is duly justified or actually inching you towards debt? Are you certain your two-coffees-a-day-at-Starbucks habit is not burning a hole in your pocket? Think you’re saving enough for a rainy day or wish you could tell how long it’ll be before you can afford that dream vacation?
The answer is really simple: you need to start tracking your finances and keeping an account of what goes in and what goes out of your pocket on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Sounds exhausting? Not if you do it with our simple tips and tricks.
Ready to take charge of your dough? Let’s get started:
1. Document Meticulously:
The first step towards any kind of self-improvement
is to know yourself. And the way to start this monitoring is to start collecting data that contains this information.
2. Employ All Available Tools:
- Make it a practice to gather your receipts, charge slips, bills, credit card statements, then don’t just stash it, but arrange it date wise and start to log your expenses on your computer.
- If that sounds tedious, just take pics or you can also employ apps like Scanner Pro for iOS and CamScanner for Android to take scans of these things. The images can be made into editable PDFs that are easy to save, print or share with others.
Whether you access them on your computer, your smartphone, or a notebook, try and employ helpful devices to get your finances in order.
- Mint and Level are two handy websites that help you to track, plan and save money. They’re both comprehensive but try them and see which one works for you.
- At least try to use your own banking or credit card-specific apps or activate your net banking service. All of these have the ability to generate frequent reports, some let you pre-set limits so you don’t overspend, and yet others can even map investments.
- If you hate all of these because you find it too confusing, and still want to keep track of your expenses, just use programs like Excel spreadsheets or even good old fashioned pen and paper. No excuse is good enough to avoid taking charge of your money.
3. Gather Information:
There’s no such thing as too much knowledge. While some of us have a keen sense of number crunching, there are those of us who find it confounding. Being confronted with spreadsheets and pie charts is enough to shake up anyone
, so don’t hesitate to ask for help.
- Consult an accountant for a weekly or monthly session where they coach you for your specific needs.
- Buy a money-savvy pal lunch in exchange for some simple advice with real-life suggestions that he or she actually follows.
- Even your personal banker can be cajoled into giving you a free and detailed outline of the services and tools that you can use to get smarter with tracking your income and expenses.
Managing your money will give you the confidence and boost your self-esteem more than any retail therapy ever could. Try it once and you’ll see the difference.