Debit cards have created an easy way to purchase goods quickly at any establishment, but with it is the ability to ignore your bank statements and spend money freely. It’s not until the big “Declined” alert that we are forced to go review our spending habits. The Money Spending Tracker ensures you won’t get to that point, and creates a way to budget and track your daily purchases.
How to use the Money Spending Tracker
The downloadable Excel file is a one page document with simple colors. The first item to address is the left side column labeled “Spending Summary”. The categories listed are just examples, so click on the cells below to add anymore that you want such as “Cell Phone” or “Fast Food”. Ignore the “Total” column as this is automatically generated for you from your data.
The light gray and white slots are where you will enter your spending information. Enter your check number, cash, debit, or credit card label to keep track of what you use for each purchase. Add the date of the purchase, a one or two word description of the purchase, and the category it falls under. If it is a deposit, skip over the withdrawal section and enter your amount under “Deposit”. The “Balance” category at the end should be entered into the earliest dated purchase, and from there the document will update your new balance automatically.
As you add more purchases, the left side summary will split your purchases into the categories listed and you can see what you spend the most on. After you’ve entered your most recent purchase, you are finished with the set-up and only need to update it as you go!
Tips on using the Money Spending Tracker
- Add a new document with the template monthly, bi-monthly, or more depending on what sort of spending summary you want to produce. The summary adds up all category totals, so splitting it into different documents will give you your monthly summary only.
- When your bank statement arrives in the mail, compare your tracker entries with it to detect fraud, forgotten purchases, or inaccurate spending amounts.
- Never enter your bank information into the document. Use names for your debit/credit cards if you have multiples, and keep the document inconspicuous with a name like “Budget”.
- Keep your receipts and enter your purchases daily so you never accidentally skip one and see the wrong Current Balance.
Template courtesy of Microsoft
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