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Budgets help us plan where our money should be going, but it’s really important to track where our money actually goes. Getting a handle on how our money comes in and goes out is the next step to sorting our finances and getting ahead.

Is ours a leaky bath?

Keeping a spending diary

Find it hard to keep track of where the money goes? A helpful trick is to carry 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. You can also find spending diaries online to do on your computer. 

Little things like ice creams and parking money really add up, so we’ll need to make sure and include them.

Tracking money online

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.

Most banks offer apps that link automatically with your online banking. Another local tool is Pocketsmith

Case study: Rick and Heather Mawby

The Mawby family makes sure their money goes a long way.