Have you ever wondered why at the end of the month you may find yourself asking, “where did all my money go?” or wishing you had more money left over? Keeping track of your expenses can help you answer this question.
Our previous blog discussed how to make good use of your financial aid refund and how to manage it wisely by setting up a spending plan. Tracking your expenses can keep your budget under control and help you follow through on your spending plan. Once you set up your budget and know how much money is going towards your expenses, you can track your spending many ways.
Online banking, Excel spreadsheets, and a variety of free mobile apps are available to help you get your financial life in order. Some ideas for free apps that can help you track your money include:
Every app offers different features, such as manual or automatic input from your accounts. Others offer additional services such as saving tools and reminders to pay your bills on time. Finding the right app depends on your personal preferences.
Online bank statements are another convenient tracking method. You can pull up your statement daily, weekly, or monthly to track your expenses. Just using a pen and paper is a simple way to see where your money goes. An example would be balancing your checkbook or keeping your receipts. Another low tech option is to maintain your budget with cash and envelopes. For example, you place cash in envelopes labeled according to their intended use. Take cash out of the envelopes corresponding to your purchase. Once an envelope is empty, you are finished spending in that category for the month. You’ll find more about all of these methods in our Managing Your Money section.
This blog covered a few of the many ways you can track your expenses. Different methods work for different people. Try a few different approaches to help you figure out which method works best for you. Tracking your expenses does not mean you do not have money, it simply allows you to know where your money went at the end of the month and can help you identify some of your spending habits.
Watch for more from the Coaching Corner soon!
I am a bilingual (Spanish/English) coach with an educational background in personal finance. I recently obtained my Master’s in financial planning from Texas Tech University, where I also gained practical experience in coaching students. While at Texas Tech, I coached my peers about their educational and financial concerns through individual coaching sessions and presentations. As a first-generation and minority graduate, I understand that succeeding through college can be difficult at times. I believe I can relate to what you are going through emotionally, mentally, and academically. Having recently graduated myself, I hope that with my education, experience, and empathy, I can provide you with the right tools to help you achieve your educational and financial goals.
This service is not intended to constitute any tax, investment or legal advice. If you need investment, legal, tax advice, and/or credit counseling, please consult with a professional within those areas.
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