Managing your spending? You’ve seen it everywhere… Track Your Spending… and it sounds like a good idea but how do you do it where it doesn’t take all day? Here are some tips on managing your spending that will help you understand the process that will only take 10 minutes a day to help you get out of debt.
First thing you have to do is understand you have a problem; if you don’t admit to having a spending problem (which means you don’t know where your money is going) then you won’t be successful in using this process and will find it much harder to get out of debt.
Which also likely means you won’t get out of debt, you will continue to spiral deeper and deeper into debt until you have no recourse but to file bankruptcy.
Tracking your spending isn’t as hard as it sounds; and certainly doesn’t take more than 10 minutes a day to do it properly.
The How To Of Managing Your Spending
You can use one of several different ways to track everything such as:
- 1. Keep a small 3×5 notebook with you to write in each time you spend
- 2. Get a receipt each time you spend & log them into a tracking sheet each day
- 3. Use a budgeting system like envelope budgeting
- 4. Use budget software.
Managing Your Spending With A Notebook
The 3×5 Notebook is a very inexpensive and easy to do way of writing expenses; the problem with it is you still have to sort through all your notes in order to categorize and total your spending on a monthly basis. You can minimize this by setting up a series of pages in your notebook by category. This will help keep your notes organized and easier to calculate.
Managing Your Spending With Receipts
Getting a receipt each time you spend money isn’t that hard; making sure you don’t lose them is something else however. Just be sure and keep them in one place (perhaps a small envelope in your wallet or purse). This is what I do all the time; have for several years now and it works great for me. I’ve even trained hubby and the kids to get receipts for everything they spend as well! Each evening I enter the receipts into my tracking spreadsheet and know exactly where our money is going and how much is left.
I recently lost my job at a plastic cup factory when the company lost their Wal-Mart contract. It was immediate and scary. I applied for food stamps and began living on a tight budget as I looked for work.
I cut out all luxury items including snacks like cookies and candy. I never shopped at convenience stores.
When I needed to stock up on groceries I clipped coupons, read supermarket flyers, and began shopping only when I was not hungry. Studies say you spend more on groceries when you are hungry.
I have found I actually have more food now as I work within these disciplined parameters.
You will find free basic Spending Tracker and Monthly Summary printable worksheets here. You can download the file, open with Adobe Reader (get Adobe Reader here if you don’t already have it), and print these budget helper worksheets for your own personal use. I’m sure you will find them very easy to follow. Get a 3-ring binder, or folder, to keep your worksheets in so you don’t lose them.
I’ve set these Debt Guide Worksheets up with basic categories to keep tracking simple. The categories are:
- Housing (Rent or mortgage, utilities, maintenance, house/rental insurance, etc.)
- Transportation (Bus, subway, or cab fare; car payment, car insurance, gas, maintenance, etc.)
- Medical (Health insurance as well as any medical related expenses)
- Personal Care & Allowances (Clothing, haircuts, child care, allowances, etc.)
- Groceries & Sundries (Over the counter products, food, cleaning supplies, etc.)
- Entertainment (Going out; renting videos, vacations, etc.)
- Debt Payments (All other debt payments not included above)
- Other (Anything not fitting in a category above)
Keep in mind, debt relief takes a little time and effort, but you can do it!
Other Recommended Ways of Managing Your Spending
If you love spreadsheets, you will love the budget spreadsheets offered by Vertex 42. Some are even free and all of them are easy to download!