Know Where Your Money Goes With An Expense Tracker

Expense TrackingAn expense tracker is a money management tool that helps you track where your money goes. After budgeting, if you don’t track where every cent goes or you have no idea of where your money was spent on, then you will not be able to stay on budget.

Creating a budget gives a grip on your money. Staying on budget gives you control over it. So, to stay on budget, you need to know where your money goes. We throw away money when we don't have good visibility. Tracking your expenses helps you get that visibility and will make your money management efforts worthwhile.

There are several types of expense tracking systems you can use. Here are some examples:

1. Pen and Paper

This is one of the commonest ways of tracking your money (daily expenditures). What happens is,

First, you can create a table containing your budget items and the days of the week. See table below.

WEEK 1: 2nd – 8th August, 2010 expense tracker

Second, you record your daily expenditures on a piece of paper, note book, writing pad or any other portable writing material. Later in the evening you transfer the expenditures you captured into their respective budget item cells in the table above.

You can later transfer that information into a monthly expense tracker shown below, if you so wish:

Month: August, 2010monthly expense tracker

2. Excel Spreadsheets

If you have a PC or Laptop with a spreadsheet application, then you can do the above using spreadsheets. But that will depend if you are good with the spreadsheet application.

I have created a monthly budget and cashflow statement spreadsheet that you can use for free.

With excel spreadsheets; you can program them to automatically do calculations leaving you with the task of keying in the expenses data.

3. Expense Tracking and Budgeting Software

There are many expense tracking and budgeting software that you can use to organise and manage your income and expenses effectively. Here are a few that I have tried.

Personal Finances - Personal Finances is a smart and easy to use personal finance application for managing personal and family finances. With this application, you can track your income, spending and even see how much money you’ll have at a future date.

The application is portable and can be installed and run from the USB flash drive.

Budget Advisor - with budget advisor, you will:

  • Manage your money well
  • Keep control of your spending
  • See where your money goes and
  • Budget your money effectively

Home Bookkeeping - this is another wonderful application you can try. With it you can:

  • Do your budget planning
  • Track your expenses with easy
  • Record you Income
  • Monitor your debt repayment
  • Set up debt reminders, e.t.c.

These expense tracking and budgeting software have a 30 day free trial. After 30 days you will not be able to use them unless you purchase them.

4. Smartphone Expense Trackers

There are also other tracking tools you can use with your Smartphone. Check-out these:

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