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
Expense Tracker Excel
This is a personal expense tracker Excel template. Use it to track your monthly expenses.
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.
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.
Distinguish between expenses you want or need
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). In order 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 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 save 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.
- 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 that 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.