Lets Keep track of our Money (TIPPY TUESDAY #6)

DateItemPriceNeedWant (Shopping)Gift
Jan 4thWal-Mart (Basic Necessities)$17.19  $       5.00  $                 12.19
Jan 5thH & M - jacket$77.00  $                 77.00
Jan 4thSuperstore - Grocery$58.00  $    58.00
Jan 6thBus Pass$86.00  $     86.00
Jan 6thWal-Mart (Grocery)$22.97
Jan 6thDollarama$7.42  $                  7.42
Jan 7thCar Gas$44.00  $     44.00
Jan 23rdShopping $82.00  $                 82.00
Jan 26thN. Birthday Gift$44.00  $     44.00
TOTAL$438.58  $193.00  $            178.61  $  44.00

Happy Wednesday everyone! It means Tippy Tuesday (a day late -sorry!) and Today I am sharing with you a tool I developed in Excel a while ago to keep track of my spending (a.k.a. Financial Tip).

If you have made it reading this far, great job! Because I know many people who hear budget and they run as far and as fast as possible.

At first I started just a simple tracking sheet - where and on what have I spent my money but over the years I have been wanting to tracking where does most of my money go. So I decided to track some %'s how much is need, want, gift for others. Like in the above chart, I know that through all my spending, I have spent 44% on need, 41% on want (ususally called shopping), and 10% on gift for others. I can see month to month where I tend to spent most and where I could possibly cut back.

Above is a real snapshot of how much money I had spent in Jan 2011 as a sample. If you know how to work with excel, it is really easy to make and go ahead with tracking your spending.

Caution: It was a little inconvenient at first trying to track everything on where I spent my money. Some days I did not want to do it. But then I felt like I had no control of my finances. Then doing this exercise might make you feel guilty on how much we consume. Thats why I put the sheet into percentages so we only target one category at one time. Sometimes, instead of keeping tabs everyday, I sit on the weekend and take out all my receipts and started tallying. or if you are a keener like me, what I do is input what I purchased as soon as I get home after my trips.  It has led me to make more mindful decisions about when and where I spent my money.

Let me give you how this tool has benefited me:

During my first year of school, I used to buy breakfast everyday (thats 7$ everyday - over a month that is $210 and over a year it is about $ 2500). Crazy right? and I didnt even realize or even feel guilty when purchasing breakfast because in my mind I had justified it as a need so it was ok to spend that money. Well guess what I started getting up half an hour early everyday to have breakfast and save $2500. I still do go out sometimes to grab breakfast still but as a treat, not necessity.

We all want to acheive many goals in our life and many of us have dreams such as saving for a down payment for my future house, family vacations, wedding, funds for a rainy day, saving money for some major projects in life - I have made many tools like this one, if you are interested, leave me a note below and I would love to share more tools like getting the most out of our income, acheiving financial goals with a financial plan.

As a side note, I am a fanatic when it comes to financial planning. I love to read, write about the tools I have learned over the years. But I am no expert! I am only sharing what I know, what I have learned and decided to pass it on my readers!

If you are interested e-mail me at: ngaraha@ualberta.ca and I can send you the template by e-mail. I hope you enjoyed this Tippy Tuesday episode. Please leave me comments below to give me feedback. I love to read comments, feedbcak and questions. Thank you for stopping by and have a great day! =)

Stay Tuned for a very special Financial Planning book review I will be doing soon!!!

How do you track your spending?

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