How to Track Your Money
Spending plans come in many shapes and sizes. It’s often best to start with a basic plan and then add over time. One helpful exercise is to separate the plan into weeks and type of expense. Try this Spending Plan Worksheet as a guide.
Here are key steps:
- Make a list of all sources of income and when you receive it
This is the money you receive (job, financial aid, loans, parents) on a monthly basis, periodically, or perhaps one time.
- Make a list of all expenses and when you need to pay them
This includes regular, periodic, or one-time essentials (housing, food, transportation, insurance, books, tuition, credit card, or other loan payments), as well as non-essentials (movies, games, restaurants, travel).
- Compare the two lists and the timing of your income and expenses
This gives you visibility into where you are spending your money and if you are spending more than your income.
If your expenses are more than your income, reducing what you spend on non-essentials is a great place to start. If you can, it’s also good to have some money left over at the end of each month for unexpected expenses or savings.