What is the best Way to Track Your Expenses

Do you know what is the best way to track your expenses? I figured out that I spend a lot of money for non-essential things and I would like to at least track it or in the best case, stop it.

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Most Helpful
Jul 7, 2018

I've looked into this extensively and found nothing that is as thorough as just Excel or Sheets (I used sheets while I was tracking income/expenses). Date column, Income, Expense, and Description. You can categorize if you want. Do a monthly analysis and record monthly analysis results in a running monthly tracking thingie to compare MTM. For the first couple months, just try to reserve self-judgement, live how you normally would, and record everything honestly. Then, do an analysis and see whether your income & expenses aligns with your values and your goals. Then, make a plan to adjust expenses or increase income to re-align with your goals and values. If months go by and you're not improving, assess where the breakdown is: Willpower? You spending a bunch of money on booze and drugs as a vice? Is that telling you maybe your lifestyle sucks? Payment for a fancy car you can't really afford while maintaining your values and goals? Get rid of that. Rent too expensive. Downsize. Better yet, buy a house. Buy rental property. Increase income. Cutting expenses is cool, but the real power is in figuring out how to make more and more income. But be vigilant like a fucking hawk of lifestyle creep. If you make an additional $2K/month income stream, allow yourself an additional $250/month expense stream.
imo...

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/

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Jul 10, 2018

Big fan of mint, sometimes it can be buggy with connecting to things, but otherwise you connect your bank/cc and it will automatically categorize purchases. The category usually is correct but every so often, you'll have to manually code things. Has a lot good graphs that show spending over time, breakdown of spending by category, etc

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Jul 10, 2018

Big mint guy too, seems to work really well and the "trends" section is pretty cool.

Jul 11, 2018

I'm also on the Mint hype train. It shames you on things you normally spend on. The most important thing here, though, is to make sure and set realistic expectations. For example, if you know that you go out to eat and spend $$$ at bars often, put your budget in the $600-750 range and cut back in other places. Spending money doesn't hurt as bad when you know where it's going and you're still saving.

I like that they have a "reimbursable" feature in there as well for anything that you're going to expense to your company.

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Jul 10, 2018

I struggled with this a lot during my internships and was spending too much money, so I just took out cash and used that exclusively and once I ran out, that was it for that period. Out of fear of not being able to afford meals, I was able to spend less on shit i didnt need. I know it sucks not using a card but this helped me build some level of restraint.

Jul 10, 2018

personal capital makes it pretty easy to track expenses

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Jul 10, 2018

I love Personal Capital. Tried mint for a bit but the UI isn't as good IMO.

The budgeting widget is both very helpful and the bane of my existence. Really, you want something that updates you all the time so you don't get off track for too long.

The best way to cut expenses is to rewire your brain so that you don't want to spend money before you make the purchase. Playing catch-up at the end of the month and trying to set budgets is just painful. Check out MrMoneyMustache.com for some guidance there.

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Jul 10, 2018

Can Personal Capital send notifications to your phone when you're approaching a spending category budget? If so, how accurate is Personal Capital with categorizing transactions? Mint is really annoying with having to go in and manually recategorize each transaction.

Jul 10, 2018

monzo card

Jul 11, 2018

I use YNAB for my MTM budgeting (basically my working capital). I could use an Excel sheet, but YNAB (and others like Mint) are cloud-based and utilize mobile apps. Very helpful when you have a shit ton of transactions that occur or if you forget one. It forces you to reconcile any differences.

Jul 11, 2018

Personal Capital to track your overall net worth.

Excel spreadsheet to track all expenses, separate by category and subcategory, add a section for gross income, taxes, and investments across all your different accounts. Allows you to easily see the total percentage of your gross income across all three of those, expenses/investments/taxes.

PM me if you want a template of the tracker I use.

Jul 11, 2018

Agree with what others have said. My method is laid out below:

  1. I set alerts on all of my bank accounts/credit cards to "if a transaction >$0.00 occurs send push notification" so that I can always see what is hitting my credit cards. This helps so that I can remember to cancel my Showtime subscription, not have to log into all my accounts every day, etc.
  2. I text myself all of the charges as they happen and a description of them so that they are in one easy to find place
  3. I have two excel files I keep: (1) Budget - i.e. all income coming in and expenses going out categorized by (i) Work (ii) Apartment (iii) Fixed (iv) Discretionary (v) Vacation/Travel (2) Net Worth - every asset (cash, gift cards, savings accounts, 401ks, security deposit) and liability (credit cards, student debt) I have.
  4. Probably every other week, I sit down for ~10-15 minutes and record every transaction in my budget and update my net worth. I delete the texts to myself after I have recorded them

To be honest I really recommend every at least make a net worth spreadsheet since tracking this over time will probably be the most helpful if you are diligent with your expenses. Tracking everything though has definitely been an eye-opening experience.

Good luck!

Jul 12, 2018

just curious, are you tracking your net worth over time so you can see the progression?

Jul 12, 2018

Yep exactly, NW also helpful to see how much of your $ is in (1) Pre-Tax accounts (2) Post-Tax accounts (3) Iliquid accounts [i.e. real estate/security deposit] (4) Cash account [i.e. checkings/savings].

Track my budget to make sure that my expenses are < than my income and then hopefully NW rises as you continue to save. Returns in savings accounts also help that too haha

Jul 11, 2018

Tried Mint and didn't like it.. wasn't syncing fast with all my accounts and didn't like their budgeting.

I used to have Billguard which was acquired by Prosper and change the name of the app to Prosper Daily. It was the best app out there (at least for me).. I like to track and check all my transactions and organize them into categories.... but around a year ago they closed the app and felt naked with my finances.... after using several apps, including Clarity Money, Personal Capital and more, couldn't find any app that would let me confirm (swipe left or right) every transaction similar to Prosper Daily app.. until few months ago when I found Pocketguard App.... It works very close to Prosper Daily where you can track all your accounts, syncs fast, organize in categories and comparison month to month with line graphs and pie charts...very user friendly... the only issues are that you cannot customize categories (although there are plenty to choose from) and the upgrade where you can use all the features is $3.99 a month... in my case it is worth it since you would know when to stop spending and save more than the cost just by knowing you shouldn't go out to eat.

Jul 11, 2018

anyone tried Albert before? It tracks your expenses very well and also gives you tips on where you can cut back. the biggest thing I like about Albert is that it secretly stashes money for you. i went to look at my bank account and noticed it was less than what i expected. i noticed albert was silently debit my account and putting it into a rainy day fund. no DOUBT I was pissed at first, but then I realized it was really helpful because now i had a nice 400 dollar boost to use on anything.

Pretty nice as i was just about to book a flight to Paris anyways ;)

Jul 12, 2018

where does it deposit it? Is it like those accounts at Bank of America or whatever that round up to the nearest dollar and deposit the change in a savings account?

Jul 12, 2018

The app has authority to move cash? seems pretty strange

Jul 12, 2018

I honestly have no idea where or how they store the money. And yea I had no clue they had authority to move cash. But it is kinda nice because it shows you that you can afford to save. I changed absolutely nothing in my spending habits and still managed to save an extra 400 bucks on top of what i am already putting away.

Jul 12, 2018
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