There’s nothing like an organized life. I’m talking an organized home, an organized office, organized finances and overall organization as a part of your everyday life. We’ve all been exposed to clutter and can instantly feel the effects. I know I’ve walked into my house after a long day at work and after seeing a mess everywhere, my mood instantly tanks.
The same can be said for cluttered finances and spending. When your finances are disorganized, you feel the weight of it on your mental shoulders. I’m sharing 5 ways to track and organize your spending, so you don’t have to always feel drained with your money.
Why Tracking is Important?
Second half of budgeting
You’ll notice that these tips aren’t just specific to organizing your spending and finances, but also tracking your spending. That’s because you can’t truly be organized with your money if you don’t have a method for tracking your spending.
Tracking your spending is the only way to complete the budgeting process and make sure you’re actually sticking to the budget you’ve set for yourself. I’ll get into details about how to track your spending later in the article, but you first need to understand its importance.
Without tracking, you don’t know where your money goes
Another reason tracking your spending is so important to being financially organized is because without tracking, you don’t really know where your money is going. You may have a good idea of how your money is spent, but you can’t say for sure.
When you track your spending, you are able to see exactly where your money goes. Once you know that information, you can adjust your spending accordingly to make sure you are doing what you’re supposed to be doing with your money. Now, let’s get into how you can track and organize your spending.
Ways to Track and Organize Your Spending
#1 – Track your spending with an app
Thankfully, technology to help people budget is as robust as it’s ever been. There are plenty of apps out there that are designed to help you track your spending, without you having to do too much work. Apps like Mint, EveryDollar and Clarity Money make it easy for you to get an idea of where your money is being spent. As I’ve said before, when you know where your money is going, you can act accordingly.
#2 – Track your spending with a custom spreadsheet
Another option to track your spending is by using a spreadsheet created specifically for your situation. I leverage this method for myself and my financial coaching clients. After you’ve created your budget, you can create a comparable spreadsheet that tracks your spending against your budget. This requires more manual work than tracking with an app, but it guarantees your spending is tracked appropriately.
#3 – Track your spending with cash
Lastly, you can track your spending by only using cash. Each pay period, you pull the exact amount of cash you need. You can leverage the envelope system to make sure you’re spending the cash on the appropriate things. When the cash is gone, your spending stops. As long as you know the cash you originally started with in each envelop, or as a whole, you can calculate how much was actually spent and on what.
#4 – Organize your spending with categories
After you’ve tracked your spending, you can start organizing it! One of the best ways to organize your spending is to categorize it accordingly. Each of the tracking systems above make it easy to see how much is being spent in each of your categories.
Apps automatically categorize your spending, so you’ll just want to make sure it’s accurately accounting for everything. Your spreadsheet should be calculating each category based on the amounts you track. Finally, your envelopes should indicate a starting cash balance and an ending cash balance (likely zero). When you know how much you spend in each category, you can adjust as necessary.
#5 – Organize your spending with a holistic view
You can finish the organization of your spending by putting into a holistic view. The best way to do this is with a spreadsheet or app functionality. I’d recommend looking at the total spent in a given timeframe (month, six months or a year), and compare it to the amount of money you made in that timeframe.
Are you spending more than you make? Are you profiting? Where is the profit going? When you see the spending in a holistic view, you can understand what’s happening with your spending at a high-level. Again, this is great information to help you make the right decisions with your spending and money.
The Benefits of Organizing Your Money
#1 – Less stress
Since you now know how to track and organize your spending, let’s talk about the benefits of having your money organized! We’ll start the list with the most important benefit (in my opinion)…less stress!
I’m all about living a stress-free life whenever possible. When your spending and money is organized, you feel in control. That control gives you a sense of security and takes the pressure off yourself to figure out when and where your money does go and should go.
#2 – Easier to assess progress over time
Another benefit of organizing your spending and money is that it’s easier to assess your progress over time. You don’t have to start from scratch with your money review every month/year, because you already have a system in place for tracking your spending. You simply review the progress month over month or year over year, and improve wherever necessary.
#3 – Easier to pinpoint areas of opportunity
The final benefit of organizing your money to note is that it’s easier to pinpoint areas of improvement or opportunity. When you track your spending, you actually see where your money goes. Now, you can make the decision to spend your money differently than you previously had. If you’re not tracking your spending, you don’t know where your money is going and therefore don’t know what you can improve on.
If you’re struggling to allocate your income properly, schedule a free consultation with me now and let’s work through it together!
Related: 5 Reasons to Start Tracking Your Spending.
To track and organize your spending means you are putting your foot down with your money. You are dictating where it goes and when. This is how budgeting becomes a successful act for anyone! How do you track your spending? What ways do you organize your money? I’d love to hear what works (or doesn’t) work for you, so drop a comment below to share!