Two Easy Ways to Track Expenses

There are many online tools to help you keep track of your money. In this post we’re going to explore two easy ways to track expenses.

For many years people have used spreadsheets to track their expenses. We will look at that option, but we will also look at another, perhaps easier option. A lot will depend on how you want to keep track.

Spreadsheets to Track Expenses

A spreadsheet is a document made up of rows and columns that has the ability to do arithmetic built in. It sounds perfect for tracking expenses. The popular spreadsheet programs have built in templates for this type of work. Most of these templates are similar to these from Excel.

This example is representative, and shows a common use of spreadsheets for expense tracking. Each spreadsheet focuses on one month. When you go to the next month, you open another sheet laid out exactly the same.

When you have multiple expenses in a single category, you add them into the single cell for that expense type in this template. It would be possible to list the individual expenses in separate cells by using the sheet in a slightly different manner.

If the desire is to have a summary for the year, then a separate sheet could be created that would gather all of the months together.

Some of these templates have charts and graphs already set out, but others will be easy to add using the functions built into Excel. Spreadsheets are very customizable.

Automatic Expense Trackers

There is another class of apps and websites that allow people to connect all of their financial accounts together in order to track them. Mint is an example of this kind of free app. Mint is a product of Intuit, the maker of Quickbooks and TurboTax software.

With a Mint account, the user logs into all of their financial accounts and then can use the transactions pulled from these banks to categorize and track the finances.

Each individual transaction can be categorized according to Mint defined, or your own, labels. Here are business categories, such as legal, but there is no built in category for accountant. To add it, we click on Add a subcategory and type the name.

Then we can change the category for one transaction from whatever Mint had guessed, to the one we choose to use, in this example ‘accountant’.

Mint also includes reports and graphs to show ongoing income and expenses. There is limited customization to these reports.

Summary

Either of these choices will provide an easy way to track expenses. The one that works for you will depend in part of how you think about the tracking activity.

To learn more about ways to track expenses, call us and we will meet with you to figure out what works best for you!!

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