Odd Cents - How to Keep Track of Spending

How to Keep Track of Spending

It’s not difficult to keep track of spending. In fact, it’s one of the simplest activities that helps you to manage your finances.

If you’ve never tracked your spending before, and you want to start, but you don’t know how to do it, you’ve come to the right place. I will teach you how to keep track of spending and maybe you will be able to help someone who needs help.

Keeping track of your spending is not as complicated as it sounds. It is simply making a note of everything that you spend. You can use a notebook, diary, financial software or my favourite friend – a spreadsheet. In a previous article, I talked about how I actually got started with a simple spreadsheet which evolved into a functional budget.

To keep track of spending for both your business or personal life, I recommend the following:

  1. Notebook
  2. Diary
  3. Financial software
  4. Spreadsheet

Here is a breakdown of each method and reasons why they’re effective.


By using a notebook to track your spending, you have the advantage of easily jotting down what you spend on. The only con to this is that if you misplace the notebook, you would have to start from scratch.


I still use a diary to track my spending along with a spreadsheet. I attach all of my receipts and bills on the page with date on which the transaction occurred.

Financial Software

There are so many innovative tools which have made personal finance a breeze. Some of the more popular tools are Mint and Spring Coin. I’ve never tried either of these tools, but I’ve learnt some great tips from their associated blogs.


Any spreadsheet will work fine for this. When I first started out, I made a record of everything that I spent. I simply created columns with the following headings

  • Date (date of the purchase);
  • Where (where I made the purchase);
  • What (specifics on the purchase);
  • Total (the cost of the purchase).

One huge benefit of tracking your spending is that it allows you to see exactly where your money is going. You can then use this as a basis to create a budget (if you don’t have one). If you already have a budget, you should still keep an eye on where your money is going.

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