What are some realistic ways to track spending?

Background story: I am 25 yrs old, I have never tracked my speeding before, because I was on my parents' credit card and they never ask or care how much I spend. Recently I finally graduated from university, and I don't want to spend my parents' money again. But I am only one month into this and already into big trouble. When I was on my parents' card, my monthly average spending was around $5000, but now I only make $3500/month, and I tried to use an app that tracks ur spending by you manually enter whatever amount after every spending, but that is not realistic, no one can keep up with that. And also, it is very hard to know how much you've already spent on something and how much you have left when it comes to credit card because it isn't cash where you can see how much you have left. Anyway, I need someone with experience on how to budgeting to help me out. I now regret how I didn't get to learn these basic survival skills, but also not complaining because I don't want to sound like a brat who doesn't appreciate I didn't have to struggle with money back in university.

10 Answers

  • 1 month ago

    If you were blowing $5k a month you really do need to stop and take a hard look at your spending. 

  • 1 month ago

    I can't even imagine how anyone would need to spend $5000 per month. 

    You absolutely HAVE to sit down and see where you're spending your money!  You think this is 'too hard to keep up with' but that's what it takes. It takes writing down what you are buying, how you are buying it and how often you are using that credit card. 

    If you can't do it with an app that automatically does your calculations for you--maybe you need someone to handle your money FOR you until you see what it takes. 

    A budget means putting down on paper your income, then deducting your NEEDS--absolute essentials, not stuff you DON'T need.  You make $3500 a month--you should put at least 10% of that into a savings account (you don't SPEND that!) and the rest should be divided up among your actual bills--your housing and utilities cost, your food costs and your transportation, your insurance, your credit card payments and any other bills you have. This isn't rocket science--it's just plain addition and subtraction. 

    You do not need to be living on a credit card--the amount you are paying in interest alone is ridiculous if you're spending $5000 a month!  And you should NOT be buying essential items with credit. That's the fastest way to get into financial difficulties because you pay interest on every purchase with nothing to show for it. Things like travel, clothing, or other items you can live without are not "essentials". Things like housing, utilities, food, insurance, transportation--THOSE are the essential items. Those get paid first, and what's left OVER is what you get to spend on non-essentials. 

  • 1 month ago

    Why won't you go back where you left off and ask your parents. I'm sure they have more knowledge on how to live comfortably.

    Don't take advice from yahoo or you'll end up tracking every penny and loose your mind counting everything. 

    Ask if tracking spending every day makes anyone happy in the moment. 

    Yes, money needs to be handled responsibly but if you are accustomed to living a certain way, that's your game. 

  • 1 month ago

    You’re talking about budgeting.  This is how you budget:

    Your total money coming in MINUS the total money coming out.

    You make $3500 a month but spend $5000 a month which is NOT sustainable if you want to stay out of debt. 

    There’s only 2 ways to fix this.  You can either find ways to decrease you monthly expenses, or find ways to increase your monthly income. 

    Almost every single person can decrease their monthly expenses.  Maybe it’s possible for you to decrease your monthly expenses down to $3500.  That way you al least are not going over your $3500 limit every month.  

    Then who knows, maybe you find a side job doing Uber or delivering pizzas and are able to make an extra $1000 per month. 

    If this entire scenario played out you’d have:

    $4500 monthly income minus $3500 monthly expenses 

    $1000 extra month left at the end of every month! 

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Average spending $5000, HA...don't admit stupid. 

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    I have to figure out how to solve my own problems, and you are going to have to do the same thing!

  • n2mama
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Generally when people set budgets they start with the money coming in then subtract their set monthly expenses (like rent, car payment, insurance) then determine what is left for other expenses (food, entertainment, etc) and their spending is driven on what they can afford. If you had more money coming in than going out, you could also record what you were spending money on and set your monthly budget based on current spending with the extra each month going to savings and investments. Except you are running a massive deficit each month, so you need to approach it differently.

    You should stop using credit cards until you figure out how to track your spending. If you use a debit card instead of a credit card you might be able to control it better, because you can’t spend too much more than you have (depending if your bank provides overdraft protection or not). Plus, with my bank, I can check my account history and it will show me my spending by category each month, which is also helpful if you’re trying to learn how to budget.

    You have monthly income of 3500. You need to figure out how to live within that amount. Write down all the expenses you know you have each month, like rent (1500), car payment (500), car insurance (250), health insurance (150-if that hasn’t already been taken out as a pretax deduction), cell phone plan (100), cable or streaming services (75), utilities (100), etc. I just made some numbers up there, you would fill in with real numbers and see where that leaves you. Notice that I didn’t put food costs or entertainment in there at all, because food costs can vary hugely depending on where you live and how you choose to eat. I’m guessing that if you had been spending 5k/month on your total expenses you have a LOT of unnecessary things you spend money on. Food is often one of the big ones. Takeout is grossly expenses compared to cooking for yourself. Eating lunch out everyday instead of brown bagging it to work can easily cost you 50/week. A single designer coffee each day adds another 30/week to your expenses. Having a smart phone with a data plan costs a lot more than a prepaid plan does. Cable and streaming services may not feel like a lot individually, but all add up, so cut that down to just one streaming service. You have to figure out where your money is going to be able to figure out how to fix it. 

  • 1 month ago

    I am astonished that you could find enough to spend $5k per month on while in school.  Perhaps (post-pandemic) you should not rely on credit cards as much.  For instance I allotted a certain amount for restaurants and drinks and clothes per week or month, and put that cash in my wallet.  If the money was gone i simply stopped buying restaurants and drinks and clothes until the next month.

  • 1 month ago

    If your problem is that "it is very hard to know ... how much you have left when it comes to credit card because it isn't cash where you can see how much you have left", then stop using credit cards and pay for everything with cash.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    You averaged spending $5000 a month?  And now you can't figure out how to live on less?


    Its simple. Scrutinize every purchase BEFORE you make it.

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