3 Great Reasons to Track Your Expenses
If you had to, could you list out all your expenses this week purely by memory?
“People need to be much more conscious of what they're spending their money on,” says financial educator Andrew Hallam. In his book, Balance: How to Invest and Spend for Happiness, Health, and Wealth, he strongly recommends tracking each purchase you make.
Let’s expand on this idea and examine some of the top reasons you should be tracking your expenses.
Reason 1: Expense tracking helps you become more financially aware
Try to recall how much you spent on lunch the day before yesterday. Unless you’re already tracking your expenses, you probably can’t answer that, right? Our brains have too many things to remember each day, and the most repetitive and inconsequential items are quickly flushed from our short-term memory.
The act of recording information like expenses puts these memories into long-term storage, so we can let them go without losing the crucial data they contain. As a bonus, studies show that the mere act of recording a piece of information increases the likelihood that you’ll remember it naturally later on.
Reason 2: Knowing where your money is going reduces financial stress
In one survey, nearly 75% of adults report feeling stressed about money at least some of the time, and about 25% of adults have said they experienced extreme stress over money during the previous month. Financial woes may seem like a fact of life, but they do have an impact on mental health.
"Money is a very important component of establishing a secure life," says Norman Anderson, CEO and Executive Vice President of the American Psychological Association. Tracking your monthly expenses is one of the simplest money management strategies, and you can benefit through reduced stress levels and a greater sense of control over your life circumstances.
Reason 3: You can save money if you know where it’s wandering off to
Knowing how we spend our money is the first step in spending less of it on unnecessary expenditures. For example, have you considered whether it is more cost-effective to buy a monthly transport pass than to pay as you go? If you’re buying coffee in cafes every day, would you be better off investing in a home coffee machine?
Tracking expenses lets you reduce or even eliminate spending that you feel is taking up too much of your income, freeing that money up for something more meaningful, including savings.
Already a pro at tracking your expenses? Learn how to use expense tracking to save money!