5 simple ideas to help you keep track of your personal finances
Your personal finances are ever-evolving, so you need a reliable way of tracking your income vs expenses. Here are some money tracking tips to help you stay on track with your financial goals.
Take thorough inventory of all your finances
Before you can figure out where you would like your money to go, you need to find out where it’s currently going. That means diving at least three months back into your financial history and checking your bank and credit card statements. Also, it’s important to list all your income sources and monthly expenses to get a better sense of your net worth and money habits.
For instance, you can list your salary and other extra dollars you make under income. Your expenses can range anywhere from utility bills and insurance premiums to car payments and rent. Once you have every dollar accounted for, you’ll now be ready to restructure your budget, so it aligns with your financial goals.
Refine your budget
Refining your budget should be a continuous process if you want to effectively keep track of your personal finances. A budget that worked for you last year might not be ideal this year. Therefore, reviewing your budget periodically helps you keep up with the financial ups and downs of life.
For instance, if there’s suddenly less room in your budget, you may find out it’s because of a one-time expense that happened because of an emergency. In that case, you might figure out it’s best to have an emergency fund for that sort of thing.
Similarly, you may suddenly find yourself with a surplus after receiving a bonus at work. You can then decide to allocate it towards savings instead of spending it on non-essentials. Overall, you’re more likely to make wiser decisions with your money if you review your budget regularly.
Capture and categorize all expenses
Your budget probably caters to a wide range of expenses, whether fixed or variable, and keeping track of it all can be a hassle. However, capturing your expenses on the go and categorizing everything can help simplify matters.
To begin with, recording your expenses in real-time ensures you don’t overlook those small expenses that quickly add up – like your morning coffee. This may involve saving receipts or getting notifications to your phone every time you make your purchase. Additionally, grouping expenses makes it easier to run over everything when determining if you’re staying on track with your budget.
Use a personal finance app
You can find free budgeting software and personal finance apps designed to help you track your money. Some paid apps may even be worth the cost if they help you save time, effort, and money. Depending on your needs, you can settle for an app that does the following:
- Syncs transactions directly from your bank account
- Creates a personalized budget
- Categorizes your spending automatically
- Provides alerts for going over-budget
- Tracks your monthly bills
- Provides tools such as a budgeting calculator
Keep things simple
While tracking your personal finances is beneficial, it’s also important to realize that it doesn’t have to consume a big chunk of your time. For instance, if logging all your expenses into an app daily is not your thing, you can still stay on track with a simple spreadsheet that you only update once a week. The important thing is to remain consistent and disciplined, and your money-tracking efforts will pay off sooner or later.
As you can see, tracking your money and eliminating bad money habits isn’t rocket science. But, be sure to combine these helpful tips with action to ensure the financial progress you want to achieve.
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