Budgeting is something I have never been good at. In fact, I SUCKED at it despite all of my efforts over the years. 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.
Before now, I have tried everything. Colour coded excel sheets forecasting annual budgets. Squirreling money away in a savings account, only to withdraw it all out mid-month because I was struggling to get through to pay day. Withdrawing £100 at the start of the month, 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 pay day. To my shame I have also in the past taken out pay day loans, only to get myself in a mess with spiralling debts. So think how happy I am to finally have found a way to track my spending and work out how to manage my money.
its not your salary that make you rich. its your spending habits – charles a. jaffe
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 are 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 screen shot 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 than I had my rent!
ITo 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.
So go for it, download the app today from the App Store to kick-start the new month.
Author: Marie Ellis
People say write about what you know. So I did. I founded Broke Girl in the City – a smart girl’s guide to leading a fabulous lifestyle on a budget! A career spanning entertainment, bars & nightclubs (and frequenting them), film, music and TV, there isn’t much I don’t know about how to have fun in the city when completely broke.