Be aware of where your money goes.

Tracking our spending not only benefits our economy but our family and health as well.

How many times do we all just swipe our debit card or simply hand over cash, not being fully aware of how much we just spent? It is common for most of us to spend without knowing exactly where our money is going. In order to really thrive with our money, the first step is to know what we spend our hard earned money on. From there we can start to budget and save, and better plan for our financial futures.

A fairly simple way to save money is to track your expenditures and monitor where and how you spend that money. Although you probably have a good idea of your monthly expenses (bills, mortgage, insurance, etc.), the daily expenses of our lives can quickly add up without us knowing.

When we track these expenses, it becomes possible to identify some simple changes we can make to save money.

How to track your money:

Here are some steps to take to track your spending and sort out where your money is going.

  • Write down (or enter on a computer) all of your spending, and this includes cash as well. Everything, including the small purchases, needs to be counted because these small expenditures can add up.
  • Get a receipt for every purchase and save it. This way you will be able to remember what the money was spent on. In addition, review your bills and credit card statements so you can include that information with your spending tracking. For those purchases that don’t provide a receipt (such as a soda machine), keep daily track of them so you don’t forget.
  • Use a debit card for all or most of your shopping. You will be able to see every purchase and cash withdrawal on your statement.
  • Utilize expense tracking software, such as Quick Books, to monitor your spending or go online and use a personal finance website like Mint.com. These resources will help you track, categorize and budget your money.
  • Or utilize these two worksheets to track your spending and to find out where your money is going.
  • Where is your money going?
  • Where your money went….

First steps:

After every purchase, take a look at the receipt and notice how much you just spent.

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