Write down what you spend for 2 weeks to see where your money is going. Here's how or call us for help getting started:
Excel monthly expense tracker - it's a worksheet, spreadsheet, calculator and spending planner for individuals and households
Daily and weekly personal expense tracker for printing out on paper
When you think of tracking your expenses, what comes to mind first? Maybe you’re curious about where your money is going. Or, do you dread the thought of having to write down every penny you spend?
Most people only track their spending for a few weeks so that they can see where their money is actually going. Other people only track certain types of expenses, like where they spend their cash.
Tracking your spending can be as easy or as hard as you make it, but when you're trying to get on top of your money and debt, the pay off for doing it is huge!
Expense Calculator and Tracker - Personal Budgeting
If this is your first time tracking your expenses, or if you're getting back to it because your situation has changed, below are tips and tools to help you get started.
However, if you've got a lot of bills you're trying to manage, we're happy to help you get started. Every day our Counsellors help every one of their clients with their expenses and budget. We're experts at it, so contact us for a free appointment and we'll share our best help with you too!
Jump to a section on this page:
- How to Track Expenses - Apps, Spreadsheet, Worksheet
- Know Your Spending Habits
- Monthly Budget Planner & Calculator
- Contact Us for Budget Planning
Tracking where your money is going is the process of writing down what you spend. You may use a little notebook to do this, a spreadsheet, an app on your phone or other software programs. You might track as you spend money or you might collect receipts and track at the end of the day or week. Regardless of which method you choose, the purpose is the same; you want to see what you’re spending your money on so that you can make some decisions about how to spend it more wisely.
When you first start tracking expenses, you might be tempted to jot down what you should be spending. Fight that urge and spend as you normally would. Tracking isn’t meant to make you feel guilty and stop you from spending. It’s meant to highlight what your habits are so that you can make some choices and changes later.
It’s unrealistic to think that you’ll track your spending forever. If you can track for a month, be proud of yourself and incorporate what you learned into your monthly budget. Then if your circumstances change, go back to tracking for another few weeks to get your spending in line with your new level of expenses or income.
If you want to personalize your tracking and you like using Excel, try this comprehensive expense category Excel worksheet. Rename any category to make tracking easier!
|If you want to track your spending by writing down your expenses, download this handy Monthly Expense Tracker booklet and print some copies.|
If you’re not sure how to start tracking, here are two options to get you started. Remember, keep it simple, go easy on yourself and ask for help if you need it. Old habits are hard to break!
Two Options to Help You Track Your Spending
- Download an Excel Monthly Tracking Worksheet and track your spending in Microsoft Excel, or
- Open our simple Monthly Expense Tracker (PDF) and follow the steps below:
- Click here to open a copy of our Monthly Expense Tracker.
- The expense categories listed below and on page 1 of the Expense Tracker will help you determine which expenses to record where.
- For each week, record dates you are tracking. For example, a 7 day tracking period would be May 30th to June 5th. The next week would start on June 6th.
- Record cash balances on hand or in your bank account and list any income you expect to receive during each week.
- List the dates down the left side and record actual money spent each day. Use the blank columns to create your own categories. Maybe you want to track coffees, magazines or fuel separately.
- Weekly savings amounts also need to be recorded on pages 14–15 of the Expense Tracker. Keep track of seasonal expenses on these pages, not on your weekly pages.
- Total all columns and subtract actual expenses from actual income. If there is a surplus, this means you should have money in your wallet or bank account. This becomes the cash balance for the next week.
How to Choose Expense Categories for Tracking
Recording where you spend your money involves categorizing your expenses. Below are the most popular expense categories which include where most people spend their money.
Another way of tracking your spending is by choosing the types of stores you shop at. If you usually shop for groceries, personal care and paper/household products all at one superstore, having a category with the name of the store might work better for you.
Ultimately, there's no right or wrong category, but you do need enough categories to be able to track your spending accurately.
|To make budgeting easier and more fun, we've also created a budget calculator that guides you as you create your personal or household budget. It makes suggestions and warns you if it looks like you may be spending too much money in any area of your budget. Once you're finished, it can review your budget and see if it can find any ways for your to improve your spending plan or save some money. Check it out. It's available for free on both the PC and Mac on Excel, Numbers, and OpenOffice.|
Housing: rent, mortgage, strata fees, property taxes, house insurance
Utilities: phone/cell, cable/internet, gas, hydro, security
Household: storage locker, decor, gardening, misc. items
Groceries: food, baby needs, household supplies, toiletries
Living: personal care, bank fees, dry cleaning, pet costs
Transportation: fuel, auto insurance, transit, parking, taxi
Health Care: medical premiums, life insurance, medication, eye care, dental, wellness costs
Personal: tobacco, alcohol, books/CDs, donations, subscriptions
Eating Out: meals, snacks, take-out, coffee/water
Entertainment: recreation: sports equipment/fees, movies/tickets, hobbies, lottery/gaming, memberships (fitness, etc.)
Child: daycare, lessons/activities, allowance, school supplies/fees, babysitting
Debt Payments: loans, credit cards, leases, support payments, government debts
Savings: emergency fund, RRSPs, RESPs, for seasonal expenses (e.g. car repairs, travel/vacations, clothing, gifts, assisting family/friends)
Business Expenses: materials, labour, administration, taxes, human resources
The most important part of tracking your expenses is getting started! Don't wait until you have the perfect monthly expense tracker system or all the right categories for your budget. Dive right in, get started and adjust your method as you go.