This Free Expense Tracker Printable is one page in the Mini Financial Binder we created to start the New Year off with a bang! The beginning of the year is a natural time for people to start looking over their budget and planning for how to get ahead with their finances.
Since you’re reading this, it is safe to say that you are serious about getting your finances in order and are looking for a free printable expense tracker to make life a bit easier. We have all the tools ready for you.
We all need a good visual on where our money is going. It helps to see where you spend money and is the first step to help make decisions on what to change.
💲 Why This Works
Tracks All Sources of Expenses | This will allow you to jot down all of the bills that you are paying out of your paycheck and give a clear visual to where your money is going each month.
Divides Up Categories | Once this log is completed for the month, you can look at and divide up the categories of where your money went each month. This is important going forward as to where to start saving.
Shows Areas for Opportunities for Saving | Once the tracking starts, the window of opportunity starts to shine through for all the places to cut expenses and save.
💡 How to Start
The Expense Tracker is used to track each and every expense that comes through your household each month. You will be tracking the power bill, phone bill, Netflix, insurance, car payments. Literally every single monthly expense that you have.
It’s important to note that your out-of-pocket spending is better tracked in the Daily Spending Log. I view that as discretionary costs like manicures, new shoes, coffee, eating out and movies on the weekends.
I print the Monthly Worksheet (or two) out and keep them by my desk. As the bills come in, I record them on the sheet. It took me a little bit to remember those bills where I use auto payment. Look at your credit card statements and your bank account to find those sneaky expenses. Don’t leave a stone unturned!
📌 How does the Expense Tracker and the Budget Planner Differ
I know it can be confusing as to when to use an Expense Tracker vs a Budget Planner! Technically, they work hand in hand. Think about them as a partnership.
An Expense Tracker is meant to log all of the expenses that come through your household each month. It shouldn’t include the daily spending, just the expenses to run a household.
The Monthly Budget Planner helps you PLAN the months ahead to get a better visual of how you will be achieving your goals. I prefer to use them hand in hand like I mentioned above but you can do one of two things:
- If you are new to budgeting, you should start with the Expense Tracker. Log in all of the expenses is a great visual to show how much you spend on monthly bills! If you don’t know where the money is going, then you have no idea how to budget it. No big deal! We all started somewhere. Track your expenses first!
- If you have a decent idea of how your money flows in and out, it is great to start with a Budget Planner printable to PLAN expenses vs earnings. It works great if you have a really good handle on your expenses. If you don’t then you have a decent probability of getting frustrated and not continuing to budget…that is not what we want! I want you to succeed at this!
🖨️ Snag The Printable
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💵 Mini Financial Binder
The Mini Financial Binder includes:
- Binder Cover Sheet
- Expense Tracker (this one)
- Daily Spending Log
- Debt Payoff Log Tracker
- Monthly Bill Worksheet
- $1000 Emergency Fund Savings Challenge
- Yearly Financial Goals (newsletter sign up here)
- Monthly Financial Goals (newsletter sign up here)
In the next couple of posts, we will cover the Daily Spending Log, Debt Payoff Tracker and Monthly Bill Worksheet. All of these do different jobs and we can show you how they will fit perfectly into your new Financials Binder!
🖥️Digital Expense Tracking
If you aren’t into pen and paper, that’s ok. There are so many great digital tracking systems out there now. Here’s the Best Apps for 2022!
Mint | This is a free app that pulls all of your banking and credit cards into one source for you to use. Hands down, our personal favorite and the one that we use regularly.
YNAB | Hard core budgeters who are disciplined will love YNAB. YNAB claims that new budgeters average saving $600 in their first year. This is our son’s and his friends favorite app.
Personal Capital | If you want to stick to the basics, this is for you. Tracks all your transactions and alerts you if you are going outside of your spending. You can’t go wrong with this app.
✂️ How to Cut Expenses
Once you start keeping tabs on all of your household expenses, the day will come when you need to cut back so you can create an emergency fund, save for the holidays, save for a house, cut back to one income or save for retirement.
- Create a No Spend Month where you live off of what you have and commit to not spend money besides required expenses.
- Try the radical $27/ week meal plan. Although, this can be done, it is not the most healthy.
- Start making the 10 Weeks of Frugal Meals to curve that grocery budget that might be strangling your finances.
- Make the $0.24 Freezer Pasta Lunches to save the $12 from eating at the deli everyday.
- Don’t eat out for breakfast. Start prepping now with the 20 Freezer Breakfast Ideas.
- Learn How to Meal Prep to cut down on eating out.
- Make your own Coffee Creamer so you don’t stop by the local coffee house and spend $6 per day.