I find that my daily spending can get out of hand when I don’t use an expense tracker. I don’t always know where I stand, and at the end of the month, I don’t understand how I spent as much as I did.
When you use an expense tracker, you not only keep track of your budget, but you are more conscious about what you spend since you are keeping a record.
Expense Tracker Printable
Select a free printable expense tracker from the selection below. Each template is customizable and editable.
Daily Spending Tracker
You can select any border (there are hundreds available) and you can change the color of the tables. You can also edit the text.
Monthly Expense Tracker Printable
The following expense trackers track your expenses only. If you want to track both expenses and income, then see our monthly budget template.
Once you have listed each expense in the table, mark it as either “need” or “want”.
If an expense has been marked as “want”, then you can make three choices:
- Keep that expense (assuming you can afford it).
- Eliminate that expense.
- Find a cheaper or free alternative (for example, you might stop eating out and eat at home or stop ordering lattes and drink coffee at home or work).
Once you have gone through each expense and decided what you will eliminate or reduce, adjust the subtotal, and work out your total expenses.
Compare your expenses to your income and see if you need to be more ruthless in determining which expenses to eliminate or reduce.
Don’t forget to include savings in your expenses. See the section on “How much should you save?”
Bill Tracker Template
This is a yearly bill payment calendar that you can print blank or with any border.
Bill Pay Checklist
This is a yearly free printable bill pay checklist template. Add all monthly expenses and mark the checklist once they are paid. The template is editable and you can add the bill description, amount, due date and whether or not it is automatically paid. There is also space for notes.
Bill Calendar Template
Yearly Bill Calendar
Monthly Bill Calendar
Expense Tracker Excel
This is a personal expense tracker Excel template. Use it to track your monthly expenses. If you want to track both expenses and income with an Excel spreadsheet, then see our monthly budget template.
Monthly expense Excel template.
Bullet Journal Expense Tracker
Many people use their bullet journal to track their spending. When you write down what you spend you tend to waste less. Please note that the text is editable so you can change the titles. If you don’t want your title to read “Spending Tracker” then feel free to change it.
How to Keep an Expense Log
Once you have printed an expense log template what do you do with it?
Record each item
The best way to keep track of your expenses is to record each item as you spend. This will prevent you from forgetting to add small items that add up. Alternatively, you can also schedule a few minutes each day to record your spending. However, you might find that you forget to add expenses if you don’t write them as they occur.
If you have more than one spender in your household then make sure that everyone is in the picture and tracking expenses.
Add monthly bills that repeat themselves each month in advance and update if necessary.
Categorize your expenses
This enables you to get a better picture of how much you spend in each category. Some of the printable trackers divide expenses into categories. Since the template is editable, feel free to change the categories if your needs are different. People generally categorize expenses into the following categories: housing, food, auto and transportation, travel, health, school or education, children, clothing, pets, entertainment, savings, giving, miscellaneous, etc. You can, of course, change the categories according to your needs.
Distinguish between expenses you need or want
When you distinguish between expenses that you need or want it will help you understand if you really need to spend something or just want to in which case you might decide to cut back if you need to budget. It is so much easier to avoid getting into debt than to get out of debt. Distinguishing between what you need or want will help you determine where you can cut back.
Make a savings goal
Many experts state that you should save at least 20% of your income (after taxes). To know how much you can save you need to know how much you have left each month assuming you don’t waste money. See our savings tracker printable.
Set a Monthly Budget
Use the Excel budget template or create a budget chart with any of the other printables. Go over your credit card statement, bank statements, bills, etc, to ensure that all your monthly expenses are included. The budget spreadsheet provided divides expenses into categories which helps ensure you don’t forget to include items in your budget. If you have expenses that are paid annually, include an average sum per month to ensure that your monthly and yearly budget template will be similar and that both are accurate. Once you have included all monthly expenses you will know how much you should be spending. This is a good stage to create a savings goal. Once you know how much you should be spending you can ensure your expense log is aligned and you don’t spend more than you should. A good way to ensure you reach your savings goal is to put that money aside at the beginning of each month before you start spending. That way, if you don’t have enough money you will have to spend less instead of saving less.
How Can you Reduce Expenses?
Once you have recorded all expenses in your spending tracker printable you will find it easier to determine how and where you can save. Most people are unsure about how to not spend money on things they don’t really need because they have never given much thought to what they need and what they want.
- Sometimes, you spend less just by tracking your expenses. Similar to a food log that sometimes stops mindless eating when you know you will have to track what you ate. Suddenly, you actually give thought to what you spend and where your money is going.
- Some of the printable trackers have a section to distinguish between expenses you want or need. This makes you think if you actually need something. Items in the “want” category are clearly the first ones that you will think twice about buying.
- Try to find cheaper places to purchase items or services that you need. Sometimes, if you spend some time researching you might find a cheaper place. This will enable you to spend less without cutting back.
- Can you make some of the things that you buy? If you spend a lot on store-bought coffee or take-outs this is an easy way to save. Make homemade meals and take coffee from home in a travel mug. Homemade meals will not only save money but they are healthier as well.
- Try a 30 day no spend challenge.
Challenge yourself to avoid spending money for one month and use this money challenge chart to keep track of your progress. Decide ahead of time what you will purchase during your spend free month. These exceptions should be things that you can’t and shouldn’t go without and they can include things such as food and gas. At the end of the month, you might have an emergency fund or be able to pay off some debt.