How to Track Your Expenses Like a Boss

 

Budgeting is an important tool in taking control of your finances. There are many reasons to budget.

An essential step in creating a budget is to determine your expenses. Without knowing where your money goes, you can’t put your money to work for you.
 


Keep reading to learn the step-by-step breakdown of how to track your expenses.
 

 
An essential step in creating a budget is to determine your expenses. Without knowing where your money goes, you can’t put your money to work for you. Learn the step-by-step breakdown of how to track your expenses like a boss!
 
 

Step 1 - Determine Your Monthly Expenses

The first step is to think of all the expenses that you pay on a monthly basis. To get you started, here’s a list of typical monthly expenses:

 
An essential step in creating a budget is to determine your expenses. Without knowing where your money goes, you can’t put your money to work for you. Learn the step-by-step breakdown of how to track your expenses like a boss!
 

Step 2- Determine Your Irregular Expenses

The next step is to brainstorm all the expenses that you pay only periodically. Some may occur only a couple times a year, while others only occur once in a blue moon. Because they don’t happen every month, you’re more likely to forget to include these in your budget.

To help you create your list, here’s a list of typical irregular expenses:
 

 
An essential step in creating a budget is to determine your expenses. Without knowing where your money goes, you can’t put your money to work for you. Learn the step-by-step breakdown of how to track your expenses like a boss!
 

Step 3 - Create an Expense Tracker

The next step is to use an Expense Tracker to list all your expenses and how much you’re spending on each expense.

Tracking Monthly Expenses

Because monthly expenses occur every month, they are much easier to track. For these monthly expenses, you’ll write down the expense type, the amount due, and the due date (if applicable). Remember to include expenses for all family members. And don’t forget to include those where you use cash (such as parking meters).

Here's an example tracker so you can get an idea of how to fill it out:
 

An essential step in creating a budget is to determine your expenses. Without knowing where your money goes, you can’t put your money to work for you. Learn the step-by-step breakdown of how to track your expenses like a boss!


If you don’t want to make your own, I’ve created both a printable and online Expense Tracker for you to use. You can download your own copy of both below!
 


If you’re not sure how much you spend on a particular expense each month, you’ll need to look at receipts and statements for the last 30 days.  

[Note: There may be times when you buy multiple types of expenses on the same receipt. For example, one receipt might include groceries, toiletries, and cat food. For these transactions, add up the amount spent (including tax) on each type of expense. Then, include it with the total for that particular category.]

Then, add up the amount you spent on each expense throughout the month. For example, if you went grocery shopping seven times during the month, add them all up to get your total grocery spending for the month. This should give you a pretty good idea of how much you spend each month on each expense.

Here's an example based on the monthly expense tracker example above:
 

An essential step in creating a budget is to determine your expenses. Without knowing where your money goes, you can’t put your money to work for you. Learn the step-by-step breakdown of how to track your expenses like a boss!


Tracking Irregular Expenses

As I mentioned above, a lot of our expenses don’t occur on a monthly basis. For these irregular expenses, you’ll write down the expense type, the amount due (at each instance), frequency (if applicable), and due date (if applicable).

Here's an example tracker so you can get an idea of how to fill it out:
 

An essential step in creating a budget is to determine your expenses. Without knowing where your money goes, you can’t put your money to work for you. Learn the step-by-step breakdown of how to track your expenses like a boss!


For these, you may need to look back through your records to get the information you need. You’ll want to look at old receipts, bills, credit card statements, and bank statements. If you don’t have records, just make an estimate.

You'll use the numbers you enter on your monthly totals tracker and your irregular expense tracker when you create your budget. So keeps these numbers in a safe place cause you'll be referring back to them.

Final Thoughts

By now, you should have a pretty thorough listing of your expenses and how much you spend on each expense. Don’t worry if you forgot an expense or an amount isn’t exact. Your budget is flexible and you can adjust it as needed.

Now that you have your lists of your expenses, the next step will be to start creating your budget!

Your Turn

Were you surprised by how much you spent on any of your expenses?