Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thrifty Thursday - Tracking Your Spending

Welcome to my new weekly series! Since my What's Growing Wednesday posts ended last week, I thought it would be fun to start a new topic that I can blog about on an ongoing basis. And what better topic than money!

I have decided that I will be sharing my budgeting and thrifty tips with you all every Thursday until somewhere around Christmas, or until I run out of things to talk about, whichever comes first.

For my disclaimer, I am by no means an expert when it comes to money or budgeting or being thrifty or anything really. I just thought it would be fun to share my tips and what works for me and get some feedback from you guys on the subject. Sound good? Okay then, let's get started!

I think that one of the most important steps in saving money is creating a monthly budget and I will share more on that next week. But first, there is an important pre-budget step that often gets avoided and then people get frustrated and discouraged when they start their budget because they can't stick to it. This first step is tracking your spending. 

Before you can create a monthly budget, you want to know how much you actually spend on a monthly basis.

There are different ways you can do this, but for us, it's keeping receipts from EVERYTHING. We have a cute little wooden tray in our kitchen and we put all of our receipts into it when we come home.

If we didn't get a receipt for something, we write it down on a piece of paper and throw it into the tray. For example, you go to the farmer's market and spend $15 but didn't get any receipts. Write it down. You go through the drive thru for your morning coffee and pay with spare change. Write it down. You make a purchase at a yard sale or on Kijiji and pay cash. Write it down. Got the point yet?

Once you have collected all your receipts and scrap pieces of paper, go through them and add them all up. Include bigger things too such as mortgage, hydro, insurance, etc. Basically, add everything up that you spend money on during a month.

Once you have this nice big number showing how much money you put out each month, take a look at how much you bring in. Are the amounts close? Is one significantly higher than the other?

I recommend tracking your spending for a couple months, to get an idea of your expenses. It will always vary from month to month, so it's good to get a bit of a bigger picture.

Once you have figured out where your money is going on a monthly basis, it's time to evaluate and make a monthly budget. I'll cover budgets in next week's Thrifty Thursday so be sure to come back then!


Thrifty Thursday Mini Series

Week 1: Tracking Your Spending
Week 2: Monthly Budget 
Week 3: Just Say No  
Week 4: Mini Emergency Fund
Week 5: Buying vs Making  
Week 6: Coupons 
Week 7: Debt
Week 8: Christmas Gifts 
Week 9: Thrift Stores 
Week 10: Finale  


  1. Awesome new Thursday thread Jennie! :) (Sorry I didn't get to commenting before now...) I seem to be stuck at the tracking my spending stage of budgeting. Been doing it for years and never actually moving on to the next step of making a budget!

  2. Jackie - Thanks for commenting. :) Hopefully my new series will be that extra push you need to get to the next step! I'll be talking about making a budget next week, so be sure to check back then. And remember, I'm always here to give you support and tips on the side. ;)

  3. Have been tracking for 9 months. 2013 is going to be my "observe where my money goes". :)

  4. Cora - You read my post! :D I think that observing where your money goes is an excellent start and you should be well prepared for 2014, the year of putting your money where you want it!

  5. You have no idea how much I miss Budget In Check ins. I look forward to following this series!!

  6. Maddie - I miss our check-ins too! I'm hoping that writing these posts will encourage me to do better with my budgeting.