When starting your debt-free journey, the first step you want to take is to find out where your money is going. This step is very crucial because it helps you understand your spending habit and determine if you need to cut unnecessary spending or bills that are not a necessity. There are a couple of ways to track your spending, and in this post, I’m going to go over the best monthly spending trackers.
We will discuss:
- What is a Monthly Spending Tracker?
- Old Fashion Monthly Spending Tracker
- Use Money Management Websites and Apps To Track Your Spending
What is a Monthly Spending Tracker?
A monthly spending tracker is a tracker you use to understand where your money is going, helps you stay within your budget, and, more importantly, helps you meet your financial goals. If you want to get started now, I would recommend tracking your spending of the last 30 days and then continue to track your spending monthly to stay on track of your spending. I’m going to share with you a couple of ways to track your spending so you can pick a method that fits you.
Old Fashion Monthly Spending Tracker
You can manually track your spending the old fashion way by writing down your expenses in a notebook every time you make a purchase. With this method, you would want to record the date of the transaction, what was the purchase and the amount spent. Once you get home, you can transfer what you recorded on paper to an excel spreadsheet to have a backup method in place.
The good thing about the old fashion method is that unlike the debit card where your transactions are not tracked immediately, by writing it down, it helps you remember what you purchased before you make another purchase for that day.
If you would like a free template of a monthly spending tracker, you can use the one that I created by clicking here. If you are looking for an expense tracker notebook that you can put in your purse or leave in the glove department of your car, click here.
Money Management Softwares To Track Your Spending
An easy way to track your spending is by using money management softwares. The softwares give you reports on how much money you have coming and going out, how much you are spending which are separated in categories, help you develop better spending habits, help you stay on track with your budget and achieve your money goals. Below I’m going to give you a small review of my top recommended money management softwares to help you track your spending.
Mint is a money management software that helps you create a budget, keep track of all your bank accounts in one place, track spending from each account, and offer tips and advice on how to save and invest your money. Mint breaks your spending down in categories such as gas, shopping, food, bills, etc. to help you see what percentage of your money is going to each category. Mint stays up to date with your spending as it happens automatically, which saves you time in having to write each transaction down.
You can also use mint to alert you of a low balance or when bills are due to help you stay on track with your budget. The best way to get alerted is by downloading their app in which they offer for iPhone and Android users. Mint is free to join and to learn more information, you can click here.
- You Need A Budget (YNAB)
YNAB is a money management software that teaches you how to create a budget, break your bad spending habits by providing tutorials, helps you tackle your debt, and achieve your financial goals. You can track all your spending from all your accounts, and YNAB will provide you with reports on your spending and how to improve if you are overspending in certain areas.
YNAB gives you a 34-day free trial to test the software and see if it’s a good fit for you. After the trial, there is a monthly fee of $11.99 or $84 annually. YNAB has an app for both iPhone and Android, and they send you alerts on your apple watch as well. To learn more information about YNAB, you can click here.
EveryDollar is a money management software that teaches you how to create a zero-based budget and how to tell your money where to go. It also tracks your spending when you link your bank account and assigning categories to breakdown your spending. EveryDollar uses the debt snowball method to help you pay your debt off faster.
EveryDollar has two sign up options. They offer the free version called EveryDollar, which includes creating your zero-based budget and tracking your spending by creating transactions to add to your budget. The paid version is called EveryDollar Plus, and you can try it for free for 15 days, and then its $129 annually. The paid version includes everything in the free version, your able to connect your bank account to track your spending automatically and create a debt plan to help pay off debt.
EveryDollar has an app for both iPhone and Android, and you can learn more information about EveryDollar by clicking here.
Each of these methods mentioned above can help you keep track of your money. I wanted to offer free and paid options because everyone’s situation and personality is different when managing money. I track my spending by using an excel spreadsheet and manually entering my transactions, but your preferred method may be different.
The important thing to do is find a method that works well for you to stay up to date with your spending. Understanding your spending habit will help you determine what you need to improve in your spending, cut unnecessary spending or bills, and help you develop your budget.
If you have any questions about any of these monthly spending trackers, please reach out to me below or by my contact page here. I look forward to talking to you.