Just about everybody has had periods in their life where their spending got out of control and they wish they had kept better track of how they were spending their money.
Here are five ways you can cut down how much money you’re spending by keeping a close eye on it.
5 Ways to Save Money by Tracking Spending
These are 5 methods that will keep you more accountable for your spending so you know exactly what you’re buying and where your money is going. That way, at the end of the month you won’t look back and say, “Where did all my money go?”
1. Track Your Checking Account
In this age of debit cards and credit cards, it can be very easy to lose track of all the expenses we’re putting on those cards. That’s why it’s so important to monitor exactly how much you’re spending.
In the “old days”, people used to keep track of the checks they would cash and make a log in their checkbook. Schools don’t even teach students how to do this anymore because it’s so uncommon for people to even write checks.
However, you can still keep close track of how much money you’re spending with your checking card or credit card that’s linked to your bank account.
You should be able to track those expenses online, getting a detailed account of what was spent and what you spent it on when you check your bank’s website. You want to keep close tabs on this and write down a separate record on paper or in a computer file.
This will help you track your spending personally. Keep a tally of how much you’re spending and what you’re buying and then look back on that at the end of the month. You may be surprised at all your expenses, and you may also see ways where you can cut some of those expenses and save some money.
For a lot of people, when they see how much they spend on coffee, they may be motivated to start making their coffee at home- at least some of the time.
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2. Track Your Services
What kind of services are you paying for each month or each year?
- Services like Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services are usually paid each month.
- Video game services like Xbox Gold, Game Pass, and PlayStation Plus are often paid once a year.
- Skype and Microsoft Office are annual services as well that many people pay for.
All these services add up, and you want to keep in mind how much you’re paying each month and each year for these.
As you add them up, you should break them down into monthly and yearly totals. Consider which services you could do without and which ones you might be able to consolidate in bundle deals to save some money.
If you’re paying for separate services that are offered by the same company, look and see if they have any bundle options that can cut your costs.
Consider eliminating multiple streaming services, particularly when they offer a lot of the same content or you don’t use some of them very much. When you try to get rid of some of your services, you may be offered lower prices that you can benefit from for a while.
Also check with your cell phone carrier, mine offers Netflix and other services for free with my service.
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3. Track Cleaning Costs
How much does it cost you to clean your house? That’s probably not something you’ve thought of very often, but it’s worth adding up the different cleaning supplies you use.
You should also consider how much time you’re spending on cleaning. If your time is really valuable to you and you’re using time for cleaning that you could use for earning money, you may want to consider getting a professional cleaning service with great reviews.
For many people who run at-home businesses, it’s often advantageous to hire someone else to do house cleaning, grass cutting, and other services that will allow them more time to focus on their businesses.
4. Monitor Eating Out
One area of our lives where spending tends to get out of control is when it comes to food we eat outside the house. Keep track of the drinks you buy once you leave your home, as well as any meals you purchase that you didn’t include in your grocery bill.
Every little snack should be counted, and then at the end of the month, you should assess how much you’re spending on food and drink items outside your home.
There may be ways to cut those costs by making food and drinks at home before you leave and taking them with you. It’s worth investing in a travel mug just for how much money it can save you on drinks you buy on the go.
5. Track Total Monthly Expenses
We’ve looked at a lot of individual types of expenses that can add up every month, but you should also track your total monthly expenses. Add all of them together and tally them at the end of the month.
See if your expenses go up from one month to another. You may be able to find ways to cut down your spending and keep your spending under a certain budgeted amount from month to month.
When you’re looking at all the different expenses you have for the month, you’ll be able to better assess where your money is going and if it could be put to better use.
This is something that a lot of people don’t bother to do. They just spend money as they feel they need to and don’t consider the bigger picture. When you look at your money like this, however, you may see some places where you could save and cut out unnecessary costs.
Be sure to compare your monthly cost to your monthly income. That way, you can see if you are running at a deficit and if you’re earning the kind of savings you want to for your future wellbeing.