Tracking Your Budget Article
Part of creating a budget you can stick to is taking the time to track your current spending to have a realistic place to start. The first step to tracking is to figure out how you want to track. This may seem daunting at first, but there are many options available that can help you reach your goal.
The envelope method
Some financial experts recommend using envelopes to track your spending. At the beginning of every month you set aside a specific amount of cash in an envelope. Once the money is gone, you have no money left to spend.
Excel spreadsheets and handwritten budgets are other ways to track where every dollar goes. We offer a handy interactive budget worksheet to help you get started.
If you want to be able to track on the go, there are apps available for your smartphones to simplify the process. We recommend avoiding apps that want to access your personal banking accounts. Some examples of budget tracking apps are listed here:
- Monefy easily tracks each expense you make. You can choose to categorize each expense, or simply keep a running balance. With an upgrade, you and your significant other can safely synchronize data between devices. Free and paid versions are available at Google Play and iTunes.
- The Simple Budget and Envelopes 2 apps are based on the envelope system. Create your envelopes, determine how much money will be assigned to each and then track your expenses throughout the month. Both apps are free. Simple Budget is available at Google Play and Envelopes 2 is available on iTunes.
- Spending Tracker is a very versatile app and is available for free in all the major app stores. You can enter and categorize all your transactions, or you can set an overall spending limit and see exactly how much you have to spend at any time. If you’re a visual person, you can create reports to analyze your spending.
Don’t be discouraged if you try a method or an app and it doesn’t work for you. You will find a process or app that helps you keep track of all your expenses.
If you have any questions about budgeting or if we can help you in any way, please contact Member Services at (804) 323-6800 or (800) 285-6609.