Spending Too Much Money? Instead Of A Budget Each Month, Try Doing This

track-your-expenses

For some, trying to stay on a budget is like trying to stay on a diet – you may start off okay, but eventually you fall off the wagon.

If you’re looking for ways to keep more of your money every month, then try doing this instead of a budget:


 
For one month, track EVERY PENNY of what you spend. EVERYTHING.

For the first month, don’t change anything in the way you’ve been spending your money.
Instead, just keep track of what you spend it on.

It will take some discipline during this first month to log every expenditure.
Here’s how I would do it…

You might keep a small notebook and pen in your pocket, or a piece of paper each day to write down everything that you spend. When you get dressed in the morning, put a new piece of paper for the day’s spending logs – or put your notebook in your pocket or purse.

Whenever you buy ANYTHING, write down the amount, and write down what it was.
It will only take a few seconds to log it.

Log all expenditures, be it cash or debit or credit card.

If possible, I would take it further and at the end of each day I would enter my daily expenditures into a spreadsheet for easier tracking, sorting, and adding them all up.

If you’re not into using a spreadsheet, then just keep all your daily paper notes.

At the end of one month, analyze all of your spending. Look through all of your purchases. See what they were. Add them all up. Reflect on whether or not you could have done without it.

I can tell you one thing – you will be amazed at how quickly the little purchases add up to be big money. Seriously. Try it and you’ll see.

After looking at every little (and medium and big) purchase that you’ve spent during the month, you may easily discover things that you can choose to do without – which could add up to be a substantial amount of money.

So if you’re not into strict budgeting, this method of simply tracking what you spend in a month – and choosing the things you may decide to do without, you may find it easier to keep more of your money each month.

Tip: For even more success, instead of tracking your expenditures during the first month – track them all the time. Once you get in the habit of logging it in your little notebook, it’s easy to maintain a handle on your budget situation. Every time you are about to spend money, you may think twice – knowing that the reason you’re logging everything is to find ways to keep more of your money.

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12 Comments

  1. good idea.

    I read a comment somewhere re this idea of yours above.

    For many, tracking every item is too time consuming/unexciting/not likely to get done. It was suggested that the best way to make it easier to track everything, is ——- spend less. make do with much less. bound to save money, and much easier to track. am sure it is a bit tongue in cheek, all the same, makes sense.

    1. Paying cash for everything is VERY effective in slowing down one’s spending habits! It seems more ‘real’ that way.

  2. Another way to spend less is to just stay out of the stores. We keep two whiteboards on the refrigerator door. One is for groceries, the other is for all other odds and ends. The grocery store we hit once a week with a list. Depending on what is on the other list and how important it is, we may hit the hardware store or department store about once a month. The less you go, the less likely you are to pick up impulse purchases.
    I carry no cash driving back and forth to work so I don’t get tempted to stop for a coffee at starbucks.

    1. I like the idea of whiteboards for lists – easy to erase and modify, etc. Plus, being in plain sight on a whiteboard on the wall is more in-your-face than written on a piece of paper. It enables you to see it (and think about it) more often for better organization.

      1. A quick fix for those that think they can’t or won’t copy it… Take a picture on your phone… and date the top of the white board.

  3. The way I save money is I have a “meal plan” that I make and stick to. A example would be ” pork chops with potato and gravy and peas on Monday”. I simply make a 7 day plan and go to the store and IF on sale buy up for the week. I also don’t buy foods if not on sale or on close out, I simply cannot afford to buy at regular price. I also save money buy buying larger packages of meats, separating them and using only what I need and freezing the rest for a later date. I also tend to buy store brand products as peas are peas and the label doesn’t make them better only more expensive. I also save money on gas buy buying a gift card from Walmart ” Yes I agree I hate Walmart also” I use the gift card to then buy gas at the Walmart as buy using a gift card I save 0.10 off every gallon of gas this helps alot especially at the prices of gas now.

    1. Hey Bill, Wally World has it’s faults, but at least they still sell guns/ammo. Unlike Target, started by/controlled the family of Lib. Mark Dayton Gov. of MN. Target does not allow their employees to wish anyone “Merry Christmas”, does not allow CCW’s in their stores, and is the most pc store going.
      Screw Target, I’ll shop at Walmart!

  4. When we got married, my wife and tried to record every expenditure for a few months. We found that it became easier not to spend than to maintain the records. So, it worked.

  5. What works for me is to allocate the amount I can spend or plan to spend as cash.

    If I buy anything, it has to come from the cash. Whether it is gas, food, ANYTHING, it is paid from the cash in my wallet. If I run out before next payday, well, that was all I had available.

    This does NOT include the usual bills, such as Utilities or house payment and car payment.

    Since starting this, I have managed to eliminate a lot of what I would buy on impulse. Not everything, but almost everything, since I still have a little cash in my pocket. But, I have noticed a tendency to have more and more left over at the end of each pay cycle.

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