Budgeting is something I have never been good at. In fact, I SUCKED at it despite all of my efforts over the years. I always made an annual and monthly budget. Yet I couldn’t live within my means. I would do so well, but if anything came along, like a holiday or big life expense. I would need to put it on credit cards.
So to my surprise, by downloading this Spending Tracker app. I have finally managed to figure out where on earth my money goes every month. The results were quite shocking, if not surprising, but the app has transformed my spending habits.
Tracking your spending
Before now, I have tried everything. Colour-coded excel sheets forecasting annual budgets. Squirrelling money away in a savings account, only to withdraw it all out mid-month because I was struggling to get through to payday. Withdrawing £100 at the start of the month and putting the cash in my room, only to spend it days later on taxis or drinks. I have borrowed money from friends and boyfriends to tide me over until payday. I have taken out payday loans, only to get myself more in a mess with spiralling debts.
So think how happy I am to finallyhave found a way to track my spending and work out how to manage my money.
I do still keep a little piggy bank by my bed. Just look at it. So cute! I picked it up in a charity shop a couple of years ago.
Each day I empty the pound coins from my purse into my piggy bank, which is perfect for emergency trips to the shop that actually require cash these days!
Categorise your spending
When you first download the app, you will need to create Categories for your spending. Mine is divided into rent – bills – travel – food shopping – eating out – drinks – Taxis – Household items – Loans/credit cards – savings – beauty/fitness – health – birthdays/occasions, with a general category for everything else. Don’t worry. This screenshot is from the App Store, not my personal account. You get to colour-code them too. Tilt the app horizontally, and your categorised spending is shown in a graph form, an easy way to show how much you spend on items each month.
Ok, this bit might seem time-consuming and dull, but once you get into the habit, it is really easy. I always ask for a receipt, no matter how small the purchase is. Then either after I have bought something or at the end of the day, I enter all items into the ‘Transactions’ section of the app.
The eureka moment! The app summarises how much you have spent in each ‘category.’ It also displays a monthly financial balance to show how much money you have left during the course of the month.
One month I spent just as much on drinks/going out/eating out with friends as I had my rent!
To my dismay, I had been buying rounds down the pub, often when I really didn’t need to. Eating out because I was too tired to cook. Drinking either to celebrate birthdays or because I was stressed out with work.