You know what happens when you don’t track something? If you are like me then you forget about it.
Whether it’s that biteful of your kid’s food you forgot to track or an expense you paid for in an usual way… it’s easy to forget the things that fall outside the norm. That’s why tracking my spending is so important and a habit I really am working to cultivate.
Today I’m sharing Weeks 1-3 of our variable spending. Doing these spending check-ins is a way for me to share our budgeting process and also to keep me accountable to doing them.
As I share in the video, I’m over budget for my personal spending this month because I completely forgot about expenses I paid for through my phone! It didn’t feel like I was spending real money and I didn’t track it like I do with cash and card expenses. Because I didn’t do my weekly spending recaps those forgotten expenses let me go over budget.
Budgeting can be hard y’all!
But budgeting means nothing without actually tracking your spending and comparing those expenses to your budget and then making adjustments.
That statement above is something that can take a long time to get used to.
It’s way more fun to make a budget and then forget about it. It’s even more fun to just let your expenses be passively tracked by an app like Mint. It’s even more fun to spend like nothing matters and tracking isn’t necessary.
It’s much harder to make your budget, track your spending, and adjust as you go throughout the month. It takes commitment and habit. There is no magic app that will do it all for you or make everything perfect. Every thing out there requires your action and your mental energy to make it work. A budget is only as good as your ability to follow it.
That being said, I’m not great at budgeting! It is a complete work in progress for us. We spend way too much in certain categories and not enough in others. I’m working hard to get us to a better financial place and hopefully these budgets and check ins do that over time. I’d like to prepare a better life for my daughter and this is one of many things I’m hoping will achieve that goal.
How do you like to track your spending and check in with your budget each month?
What I Use To Budget
Below are some of the items I use to budget with! I get a lot of questions about what I use with my planners and the apps I use to keep my budget on track every month so I want to share the budgeting tools I use to make budgeting both functional and fun.
Happy Planner – I use my Happy Planner for everything including budgeting! I find writing down my budget and checking in on paper helps me to better remember and makes it feel more real.
Budget Stickers – I use a variety of budget stickers in my videos from Me And My Big Ideas, Erin Condren and various Etsy shops. I’ve linked my favorite budget sticker Etsy shops I use all the time below (affiliate links):
- Elaine Michelle Studio (youtuber & budget stickers)
- Planner Kate (matte budget stickers)
- A Happy Blue Tree (kawaii budget stickers)
- HoneyInked Planner Paperie (clear budget stickers)
- Planner Envy (bright budget stickers)
Every Dollar – My husband and I both use a shared Every Dollar app account where we actively track our spending. This works best for us since my husband doesn’t use a planner and we have joint bank accounts and expenses.
Mint.com – I’ve used Mint for over years as a passive net worth tracker. It’s a more passive option and I don’t actively update it except for once or twice a year when I want to gauge my net worth progress.
Hopefully these tools will help you with your budget whether you love pen and paper or technology!