If you want to start saving money, one of the best ways to begin is by tracking your income and spending. This is a relatively easy concept, but something that many people don’t implement. All you need to do is find your favorite way to track your finances, whether it is by simply keeping a notebook with a list of purchases and incoming money, creating an Excel document, or by finding a program or app that assists you. I use a free smartphone app called MoneyWise; it allows you to enter expenses and income, view a chart of your spending, and maintain a monthly budget. It comes with general categories like transportation, groceries, or entertainment and also includes the option to add custom categories. There is no need to spend money on a fancy program or app that allows you to do these things (which is counterproductive to trying to save in the first place!). I like the idea of a free cell phone app because I can typically add expenses as soon as they occur, without having to remember to jot them down into a notebook or onto my computer whenever I return home. You can also use your online bank account or credit card account to view your purchases and enter them into whichever budget-tracking method you prefer.
By tracking your spending, you will be more aware of it, which may influence you to spend less money. Keeping track of your expenses lets you visualize areas that you need to cut-back on (this is another reason that I like the chart option in the phone app – I can see a breakdown of the categories that I spend the most money on).
So go ahead and start one of these budgeting methods today!