Tracking Your Spending

A great habit to cultivate early in life is tracking your spending. By knowing exactly where your money is going on a monthly basis, you’ll be able to budget more effectively, set financial goals and meet them. Having a handle on your spending patterns also helps you avoid financial crisis. Most expenses are predictable. Building those into your budget will help you fully understand what you can afford. Not tracking your spending can lead to overspending on a credit card and not having enough money at the end of the month to pay the bill.

People used to track their spending on paper, which is still an option, but today there are an unlimited number of dynamic tools available online and on your phone. You can review your checking account and credit card account online to review purchases and up-to-the minute balance information. There are also a number of online budget programs that help you gather all of your account information on one screen and measure your actual spending against pre-defined budgets. These programs can even send you a text message or email to let you know if you’ve exceeded your budget in any one category.