Budgeting is a basic adulthood skill, whether running a business or just keeping track of personal finances. Still, it can be a challenge—especially with much of our online spending. Learning how to keep track of expenses makes the process easier and allows you to become your own budget boss.
With a good app and the right techniques, you can keep track of all your spending, stay on budget, and never sweat those tight money moments again. A few tips and methods can get you started. And as your budget-tracking skills improve, you can tailor them to fit your unique needs.
Why be your own budget boss
Knowing how to keep track of expenses helps you make the most of your money.
When you create a budget, you’ll see considerable advantages:
- Prioritize Spending: Separate essential costs from less important ones and make budgeting decisions accordingly.
- Save for Financial Goals: Set money aside for larger financial goals such as expanding your business or making a down payment on a house.
- Stability and Security: Save money for a rainy day, when an unanticipated expense may arise.
- Avoid Debt: Stay away from debt, which eats into your budget by requiring payments every month.
- Prevent Overspending: Know exactly how much to spend on less important items such as entertainment expenses.
- Improve Your Credit Score: Have more financial options and so you can reach your financial goals more readily.
Power Tip: Use templates in Evernote to organize your budget in a way that works for you. You can use these templates hand-in-hand with Tasks in Evernote to then schedule important dates such as bill payments. Sync and integrate your budget across multiple devices, so you can access it no matter where you are.
The power of budgeting
Budgeting gives you the simple ability to cover your expenses and ensure you always pay your bills on time. As a result, it can also make a number of positive changes in your life.
For starters, budgeting reduces financial stress, which lowers your anxiety and helps your enjoy life more. Building an emergency fund also means you’re well-positioned to face any unexpected surprises, helping you better address emergencies and similar challenging situations.
With healthier emotions comes better communication. Families can easily discuss financial concerns, while businesses can plan for the future with greater confidence.
Perhaps most importantly, learning how to keep track of expenses helps organize other parts of your life too, keeping you on top of things like work tasks and household chores.
Power Tip: Evernote works with common apps like Google Calendar. This enables you to note your expenses and integrate your budget with events where you might need to spend money. You can also make it accessible to all members of your family or work team. They can see where the budget stands and be informed of changes as they happen.
Understanding your spending habits
To learn how to keep track of expenses, you must also understand your spending habits. If you know when and where you spend your money, you can more effectively identify places to cut back. This, in turn, helps prioritize your expenses—separating essential spending from impulse buys or luxuries you may be indulging in too often.
That’s where a good app can help. By letting you note expenses as they happen, you’ll uncover triggers and better identify how you spend your money. You can also get help from family members or similar trusted sources to help you track your budget and maintain good spending habits.
Once you understand how and why you spend money, you’ll be able to avoid debt, build your savings, and work toward financial security.
Power Tip: Use Evernote’s Search feature to quickly go over your budget and look for areas that could use improvement. This will help you more easily identify where you spend your money. Then, you can better sync and organize your budget tracking.
Techniques for tracking expenses
Learning how to keep track of expenses isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Everyone has their own way of organizing and processing information. But if you can tailor your budgeting process to make it comfortable and easy, you’re more likely to keep at it and improve your spending habits.
You can use several techniques to help track your expenses, including creating a spreadsheet, using an app, or even applying handwritten notes. Regardless of what technique you use, it should encompass the following steps:
- Write down all your monthly income and expenses, including fixed expenses like rent or mortgages and variable expenses such as groceries.
- Categorize your expenses by type: food, housing, transportation (including gas and public transit costs), entertainment, and so on.
- Organize payment dates for key expenses such as rent and utilities, so you know when to pay them.
- Refine your technique as you go, identifying places where you can spend money more wisely and noting points where income gets tight.
By keeping it all organized on a spreadsheet or app, you’ll be able to track it month after month. You can then better identify trends, correct bad habits, and anticipate long-term expenses.
Power Tip: If you’re not sure how to keep track of expenses accurately, Evernote can help. The free budget planner feature is simple and easy to use. Set up a template, tag your expenses in a way that makes sense to you, and keep your budget organized every month without fail.
Staying on track and avoiding overspending
One of the biggest secrets of learning how to keep track of expenses is revising your methods as you go along. Review your budget on a regular basis—at least once a month, maybe more if you feel you need to.
When setting financial goals like paying off debt, prioritize that spending accordingly. Once that goal is met, revise your budget to account for the extra income. You can also make similar adjustments as you identify places to trim your budget. For instance, as you spot impulse purchases, you’ll likely reduce or eliminate them.
You can take other easy steps to help stay on track, such as paying with cash or a debit card instead of a credit card (which accrues interest). The more self-discipline you can exercise over keeping your budget in check, the more your financial well- being will improve.
Power Tip: Take the guesswork out of budget tracking with Evernote’s simple platform and customizable features. The app keeps everything centralized, so you don’t need to go hunting to find the information you need. Use the Document Scanner to save receipts and never lose track of a single expense again.
Track your expenses with Evernote
Learning how to keep track of expenses is like any other good habit—the more you practice, the easier it gets. An app like Evernote can help by making the process easy and accessible.
With everything centralized and organized in a way that’s tailored to your unique needs, you can monitor spending, pay bills, and work toward financial goals without a hitch. When your budget is always at your fingertips, you can make more responsible decisions. Let Evernote make the process simple—download the app today.