Tracking Monthly Expenses: The First Step to Money Success

You can get a good idea of your spending by tracking it regularly.

You can then use a budget to account for the future bills that you will have to pay. Before you begin entering numbers into an app or spreadsheet, list each of your monthly costs.

How to track all the expenses you make each month.

Check your Account Statements

Take inventory of all your accounts, including your daily account and any credit cards that you own. You can identify your spending habits by looking at your reports.

Both fixed and variable expenses will be included in your spending. The amount of fixed costs is less likely to fluctuate from month to month. These include rent or home loans, utilities, debt payments, and insurance. This will allow you to make adjustments for variable expenses such as food, clothing, and travel.

Categorize the list of expenditures.

Start by grouping expenses. Some credit cards and personal finance sites automatically categorize your purchases into categories such as “supermarket,” “entertainment,” or “fun.” You may find that impulse purchases at Target are expensive. You may also discover that you are paying for subscriptions you don’t need.

Sorting your expenses by needs and wants will help you organize your budget and prioritize spending. This is especially useful if you want to cut costs in order to save money or pay off debt.


You cannot avoid these expenses. These expenses should make up 50% of your budget if you are using the 50/30/20 budget. The following are often considered necessities:

  • HousingHome loans or rent, home or renters’ insurance, property taxes, and fees associated with home ownership.
  • Transport: Payment for car, fuel, maintenance, and insurance; public transport.
  • Health: private health insurance; out-of-pocket medical costs
  • Individual or employer-based policies are available for life insurance. Individuals or employers can purchase life insurance policies.
  • Utilities: Electricity, natural gas, water, rubbish collection and internet.
  • Essentials for living: Groceries, toiletries, haircuts and other expenses
  • Child Care. After-school care, babysitting, or extracurricular activities.
  • Minimum loan repayments. HECS.

Consider refinancing, negotiating, or downgrading the items that you have classified as necessities if you find your budget to be out of control.


These discretionary expenditures can be difficult to include in a monthly budget as a fixed fee does not always accompany them. When you follow the 50/30/20 spending plan, your wants can make up as much as 30% of what you spend.

  • Clothing, jewelry, etc.
  • Special meals, such as steaks on the BBQ or dining out. ).
  • Alcohol.
  • Tickets for movies, concerts, and other events.
  • Gym or club memberships.
  • Travel expenses (plane tickets and hotels, rental cars, etc.). ).
  • You can stream a variety of packages.
  • Self-care treatments like spa visits and manicures are great for treating yourself.
  • Home decor.

Save and pay off debt.

You can use this money to pay off high-interest debts, such as payday loans and “toxic” or toxic debts. This includes any amount over the minimum repayment on “good debts,” such as your mortgage. This should be 20% of your income in the 50/30/20 plan.

  • Emergency Fund
  • Savings Account
  • Superannuation Account
  • Individual Retirement Account
  • Other Investments
  • Payments by credit card
  • Additional charges for a mortgage.

Nerdy Tip:

If you pay your credit card in full every month, you can classify expenses based on what you purchase — for example, groceries would be classified under “needs.” If you have a credit card balance, and interest and fees are accrued, then list any payments above the minimum amount under “debt payment.”

Build your budget

Create your budget. Add up all your expenses in each category (needs, wants, savings/debts) and compare them to your monthly income after tax. Plan your budget by determining which payments are fixed and which are variable.

Revisit your budget every few months and make any necessary adjustments. Use a budgeting app to keep track of your expenses. This will save you time while you develop your new budgeting habits. Try these budgeting tricks if you’re stuck.

Apps for tracking expenses or budgeting

Apps like GoodBudget and Money Brilliant are great for managing money on the go. They let you set a monthly budget based on your income and expenses. Apps like these work best if you are willing to track your spending, invest the time required, and adhere to your budget.

Some apps let you sync transactions straight from your bank account to automate budgeting.

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