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Monthly Finance Tracking

October 2, 2011

One way that I keep track of my spending, is by creating an excel chart that documents all of my expenses for the month. I categorize each purchase, then I add up the totals for each category. After doing this it is easy for me to see where my money has gone that month and find areas where I can improve my habits such as eating out too much, going to Starbucks too often, etc in order to be able to move as much money into savings as possible.

The categories I use are:

  • Food (further broken down into restaurants and grocery stores)
  • Fun (this includes drinks at bars, getting frozen yogurt, etc.)
  • ATM (I do not keep track of cash purchases, but I do keep track of how much I take out of the ATM on a monthly basis)
  • Miscellaneous (this includes places like Target, CVS, Starbucks and things like hair cuts, doctor’s appointments, etc)
  • Shopping (self explanatory)
  • Rent/ Utilities
  • Income

Once I finish filling in the chart with every purchase on bank and credit card statements, I calculate the total amount of money I spent during the month. I then do a separate calculation of how much I spent NOT including rent and utilities. Then, of course, I find out the difference of the money I earned and the total amount spent to determine how much to move over to my savings account.

I also try to make not of any out of the ordinary expenses I may have had that month – plane tickets, surgery, etc.

I had an expensive summer with moving costs, minor surgery, plane tickets for weddings and trips, paying double rent in June, astronomical utility bills, etc. so I have to say that I am very pleased with my monetary outcome for the month of September. It seems like things are finally settling down and my expenses are getting back to normal which is great news for my savings account!

Check out my September stats:

-12.48% of the total money spent was spent on food (of that 31% was spent in restaurants and 69% was spent in grocery stores)

-3.86% of the total money spent was spent on fun

-6.53% of total money spent was with cash from the ATM

-5.52% of total money spent were purchases that fell into the Misc category

-6.14% of total money spent was spent on shopping

-65.47% of total money spent went towards rent and utilities (YIKES!!!!)

-And I am happy to say that I was able to move 20.45% of total earnings for the month into savings. woohoo!

-There were no major/ unexpected expenditures in the month of September

I do this at the end of every month and, I am not going to lie, it is a bit time consuming but I think it is worth it. I feel in control of my spending and budget and can track where my money has gone.There are plenty of online tools that can help you do this if you do not have the time to spend tracking your own finances. Before I started doing my own tracking, I used www.mint.com. I found it very easy to use and it served its purpose!

Do you have any techniques you use to make sure you are staying on your budget?

 

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2011 10:29 am

    Nice work on the budget! My job does direct deposit, so I automatically put 20% of my paycheck into my savings account. If I know right off the bat that I can’t spend it, then I’m more conscious of my purchases. It’s worked for the most part (with occasional dips into the savings account for unexpected expenses).

    • Lauren permalink*
      October 7, 2011 9:24 am

      That is a nice perk. I wish my job did that! It is a great way to make sure you are saving for the future!

  2. October 6, 2011 11:07 pm

    Lauren, I totally do this too! I use a Google doc and track purchases as I make them, but mainly focusing on Groceries, Eating Out (which includes snacks, yogurt, etc), and Other. I’ve set myself a budget and can then see when I’m getting close to my limit for the week. Though, I find it is very hard to stay on budget during those planet ticket months… whoa.

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