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5-Day Challenge: Track Your Spending

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  • Post category:Budgeting
source: Charlie Ambler

Each week here at Life Your Way, we focus on one five-day challenge. The challenges will take place on a different channel each week and include small, measurable goals to help you improve your life.

This week’s challenge is to track your spending.

In any household, discovering and plugging “leaks” in your budget is an important part of making sure you’re on track to meet your financial goals. We’ve been talking a lot about splurges over the last couple of weeks, and I’m not talking about cutting those off. Instead, I’m talking about the little purchases you make here and there that aren’t part of your budget but add up to a lot of money over the month.

In some cases, you may want add an actual line item to your budget for a category of spending, and in other cases you may need to brainstorm ways to plug a leak.

For example, because we live about 45 minutes from “town”, we have to plan ahead for meals when we’ll be in town running errands, going to the doctor, etc. If we don’t take the time to plan ahead, we end up grabbing something on the go, which can really add up over a month. Seeing the total amount we spend in a month on fast food and other on-the-go meals always motivates us to get back on track with packing snacks and lunches for those trips.

Your challenge this week — if you choose to accept it — is to track all of your spending. From $1 in a vending machine to a $15 meal at McDonald’s, write it all down. It doesn’t matter if you use cash, check, your debit card or a credit card — write it down.

To help you get started, I’ve put together this Track Your Spending Worksheet. Click here to view, print or download the worksheet!

If you participate in this week’s challenge, be sure to come back and tell us what you discovered. No need to share detailed information about your budget, but tell us if there were any bug surprises or how you plan to plug some of the leaks!