1.3.3 Know what you spend

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

The first step in controlling your spending is to know where your money goes—not a vague, ballpark idea, but a precise calculation!

Follow these steps to get a true picture of your spending.

  1. Keep every receipt.
  2. Record every expense daily.
  3. Review bank and credit card statements to identify additional expenses.
  4. Make a list of irregular expenses, such as gifts, donations, taxes, car or home repairs, etc.
  5. Total your expenses at the end of the month.
  6. Do this for at least three months.

Are you surprised at how much you spent and what you spent it on?

Tips

It's easy to keep track of your daily expenses, once you get into the habit. Here's how:

  • Get a small notebook and write down each expense.
  • Record expenses on your smart phone or other electronic device.
  • If you bank online, you can get electronic account statements that show your spending history, and may even sort the spending into categories.
  • You can get free online software that downloads data from your bank account, or buy off-the-shelf software with added features.
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