Staying current with a daily spending worksheet may seem like a daunting task, but there is no better way to track your spending and keep track of where your money goes than by fastidiously logging your daily expenses.
Daily Spending Worksheets Explained
You may be familiar with the recommendation of many financial experts that the act of budgeting should include keeping track of where your money goes. A daily spending worksheet is a log that allows you to track where your money goes. You might choose to log each and every purchase meticulously or instead have a few vague categories such as "entertainment" and "miscellaneous" sprinkled throughout the worksheet. Whatever method you choose, the important thing is to find a system that works best for you.
Highly Detailed Records
If you are new to logging your daily expenses then the best starting point may be a highly detailed method in which you write down every single bit of money you spend, whether you buy a piece of gum for a quarter or a three dollar coffee. Although this is a tedious method it will certainly shed some light on your spending habits. You may not realize that you spend so much money on various expenses throughout your day. Once you log your spending meticulously, you can see exactly where your money goes. Once you realize what you're wasting your money on you can make a conscious effort to stop.
Perhaps you do not have the time or the inclination to log every single expense throughout your day, or maybe you have managed a highly-detailed log for some time and you're ready to move on to a less detailed daily spending worksheet. Keeping a daily log of your expenses in a less detailed manner allows you to spend less time tediously logging your expenses while still giving an overall view of where your money goes on a daily basis. Instead of logging each and every expense, you can log your purchases and expenditures in categories. The categories might be relatively specific or instead intentionally broad. Consider categories such as:
- Auto-related expenses
- Baby-related expenses
The categories you choose should be specific enough to where you can get a good idea of where your money is going. If you find that a huge portion of your daily spending falls into the "miscellaneous" category then you need to further specify this category to figure out where your money is actually going.
Create a Daily Spending Worksheet
You can create your own worksheet using a simple method of jotting down expenses into a notebook, or you can create a more elaborate and organized worksheet using a computer program like Excel. There are also websites online which offer ready-made worksheets:
- Google Docs offers free spreadsheets for downloading, and also gives you the option to add data and store it online for future use.
- Frugal Families offers a log that is already filled with categories including specific utilities and mortgage/rent payments.
There are many more websites offering free downloads of spending logs. You can also purchase a log as a part of a more comprehensive budgeting system. But, with so many free formats available, you may want to first attempt to utilize a log that is offered free of charge.
It is important to not only keep a detailed log, but to also keep the log as current as possible. If you do not stay current with your record keeping then the log will not be of much use to you. The key is to figure out where you can save money by taking a hard look at how you spend it in the first place.