Budgets help us plan where our money should be going, but it’s also important to track where our money actually goes. Getting a handle on how our money comes in and goes out is really the next step to getting our finances sorted and getting ahead.
Little things like ice creams and parking money really add up, so we’ll need to make sure and include them.
Find it hard to keep track of where the money goes? Try carrying around a notebook for a month or two. Write down every purchase paid for with cash (parking, coffee, lunch etc). And add in any receipts for bill payments, etc to get the full spending picture. When it comes to tracking money, the key is to capture all expenses.
Another way to do this is to download a smartphone app that does the job – there are several designed to help us track our spending on the go, such as Wally, Spending Tracker or Spend Today. Or if you prefer to keep track on a computer, search online for ‘spending diary’ – this will turn up lots of links to resources and tips.
There are lots of online money tracking tools we can use to see whether we’re spending more than we earn pay-to-pay, week-to-week or month-to-month – or if we have money left over that can be put to good use.
Some banks offer a tool that links automatically with online banking, including ASB.
Another local tool is Pocketsmith.