How to track your cash expenses to make sure you don’t overspend

Tracking expenses is the first important step to exercising your frugal muscle. (I have talked about the concept of frugal muscle here). Without knowing how much you spend, there is no way for you to know what to cut down and by how much. This may sound simple but I DARE you to produce a spreadsheet that list all the items you have spent on the past 3 months. Show me you can do it and I will give a website as a prize!

My current problem now is on tracking cash expenses. One of the items that I want to reduce is my normal food expense. This includes my lunch hour meals at coffee shops, my breakfast expenses and all the little snacks wife and I will spend on when we go shopping (I love the gourmet popcorns). All these expenses uses cash and I don’t know how to track them initially to see if I have been successfully in reducing my expense.

Finally, I thought of a simple system that you might want to consider. I just draw all the food money I am going to spend on i.e. SGD100 and keep in a separate part of my wallet. Cash that is not spent on food will come from other sections of the wallet. By the end of the month, based on how much is left from my 100 dollars, I will know if I have been successfully. If I have spent the 100 dollars, I will note it down on my spreadsheet to know I have put in more than 100 dollars into the food expense.

This will work if I only want to track my food expenses, which is the largest cash expense from my budget. In future, if I want to track my transport expenses such as cab rides, then I need to think of other ways. My wallet doesn’t have that many sections to be able to compartmentalise all the different sums of monies.

Do you have a system to track your cash expenses? If so, I would love to hear from you!



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