How to track your money to make a budget that works

It helps to know where your money is going to build a budget that works

Once we've set our goals, getting a handle on how our money comes in and goes out is the next step to sorting our finances and getting ahead.

We often hear that once people can actually see where their money is going, they feel empowered to make changes. This allows them to send their money where they want it to go, rather than speaking leaks draining their funds and making it hard to get ahead.

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 add up, make sure you 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.

The next step is a budget that works!

Tracking your spending is the groundwork for a spending plan that works. Now you'll be able to set up a spending plan based on your actual numbers. 

With your numbers handy, now it's time to plan your spending with a budget.

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Don’t know where to start?

Check out our 6 steps Get Sorted programme to get you on track.

Head to the 6 steps