One of the key steps to improving your personal finances is to track how you spend money. Knowing where each Naira goes is the first step to understanding your spending habits and how to manage it.
In developed countries like the US, you can get a receipt for almost anything so it’s easy to just keep receipts and use them to track what you’re using money for. Unfortunately, Nigeria doesn’t work that way but that doesn’t mean you can’t still track your spending (even with receipts).
At the end of the day, the most important you need if you want to track how you spend money is discipline. Once you have the discipline to document every purchase/income, all you need is a way to track how you spend money. Here are three easy ways to do this:
- Excel/Google Sheets: This is a very good way to track your spending because it is free and available as a mobile app as well. All you have to do is open a new sheet, create columns for the things you spend money on (e.g transport, food, bills etc), and enter the amount you spend on each item daily. For example:
This way, you know how much you spend and that information can help you budget better, invest wisely and cut down on unnecessary spending.
- Spendee: This mobile app is available on both Android and iOS for free. Ot’s well designed and easy to use, complete with cool graphs and customization options for any expense you may have. One of the best things about this app is that, for a small fee, you can link you bank account and it will automatically add bank transfers and ATM card payments. Spendee also gives you a graphic breakdown of how you have spent money at the end of the month. Search for in it in the App Store (for iOS users) and in the Google Play Store (for Android users).
- Receipts: Keeping receipts is one of the oldest ways to track your spending. If, for some reason, you don’t know how to use Microsoft Excel/Google Sheets or download Spendee, then you can start with keeping receipts. These include those you get after using the ATM, buying something at a restaurant and even when you pay your DSTV or PHCN bill. You can go through your receipts at the end of every day or week and write down how much you spent and what you spent money on.
With any of these methods listed above, you are well on your way to becoming better at tracking and managing how you spend money. Naturally, you won’t become great at this in a month, or even two. But as long as you stay committed, sky’s the limit!
As always, when you win, we win. To the moon!