At the EM household, we believe in using money wisely. Last year was very hectic and our spending got away from us a little. So this year, we’ve decided to accurately track our expenses and see where we can tighten up the belt.
Anyways, I am not here to bore you about my household!
I’ve put together a simple spreadsheet that we’ll use to track our expenses. My main criterion for this project was simplicity. It needed to be easy to use and easy to distill our expense data. There’s no point building all the bells and whistles if no one knows how to use them!
Why Should You Track Your Expenses?
I won’t get into the whole FIRE movement here, but understanding your financial situation can really take a load off your shoulders.
Tracking expenses can be a helpful way to understand how you are spending your money. The second benefit is identifying areas where you may be able to save money.
It can also be helpful in creating and sticking to a budget, which can be a useful tool for achieving your financial goals. By keeping track of your expenses, you can make informed decisions about your spending and get a better sense of your financial health.
Download The Excel Expense Tracker Dashboard
Like all of my Excel and Notion templates, this Excel Expense Tracker Dashboard is 100% free, and I don’t require your email for it.
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You can download the dashboard here.
How To Use The Expense Tracker
Here are some steps on how to use the expense tracker dashboard.
- Edit or add new categories in the “Categories” tab. These will automatically be added to the “Category” drop-down list in the “Expenses” tab. This has been set up as a dynamic name range so it’ll automatically expand and contract as needed.
- There’s a “Budget” tab with a list of all the categories split by month. It may be helpful to compare your actual expenses to your budgeted amounts.
- In the “Expenses” tab, fill in the rows with your expenses as you incur them. Be sure to include the date, a brief description of the expense, the category (e.g. groceries, rent, transportation), and the amount.
- If you want, you can create additional columns for things like payment method (e.g. cash, credit card) or the location of the purchase.
- All the outputs are then displayed in the “Dashboard” tab. You only need to adjust the month view in cell C2 on this tab.
The purpose of this expense tracker is to provide a starting point for you to track your expenses. There can be lots of additional metrics, charts, and outputs that may be helpful to you. However, not everyone needs that, nor will everyone know how to edit it for their needs. My hope is that you can use concepts and ideas from this website to further develop your own expense tracker.
As the proverb goes, if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.
Tips For Tracking Your Expenses
Here are a few tips for tracking your expenses:
- Make it a habit: The key to successfully tracking your expenses is to do it consistently. Choose a regular time (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly) to enter your expenses, and make it a habit to record every purchase you make.
- Make it fun: Try gamifying how you track your expenses. Making it a challenge, it can help keep you motivated. Why not aim for a handful of zero-spend days each month?
- Review regularly: Regularly reviewing your spending tracker can help you identify areas where you are overspending and make adjustments as needed. Small corrections throughout the year will be easier to salvage than a big hole in your wallet at the end of the year!
- Keep receipts: It can be helpful to keep physical receipts all in one place. Alternatively, take a photo of your receipt with your phone. It’ll be easier to keep track of all expenses!
Thanks for reading and I hope you found this helpful!
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