But First, Spending:

Creating and managing a budget may seem like a good starting point for your financial journey, but we believe that understanding your spending is a crucial first step.

Tracking and Analyzing Your Spending - 1

Tracking and analyzing your expenses can help you discover how and why you spend your money. You may be wondering, “How exactly do I do this?” And the answer is simple: however you like. You can utilize the old-school method of tracking using a pen and paper, or maybe create a spreadsheet. The most convenient option, however, may be to download an app created specifically for this purpose. Just remember, understanding your spending is more than just tracking your expenses.

Tracking and Analyzing Your Spending - 2

To further understand your spending, we recommend creating a list of questions that could help reveal some of your spending habits and triggers. Why? Well, until you are able to identify and analyze them, these habits and triggers can’t change. We suggest thinking about when, where, why, and how you spend your money.

Alright so you’ve looked into your expenses, thought about your spending, now what? Well, we want to give you an idea of some habits that can change, as well as some suggestions for improvement.

Habits You Can Improve:

  • Buying things impulsively
  • Buying things out of convenience
  • Buying things because they’re on sale
  • Buying things at the first place you find them

Suggestions for Improvement:

  • Avoid browsing
  • Avoid spending triggers
  • Research before shopping
  • Wait for things to go on sale
  • Find an accountability partner

Want to keep hiking?

Financial Beginnings is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit that empowers youth and adults to take control of their financial futures. Their educational programs incorporate all aspects of personal finance to give individuals the foundation they need to make informed financial decisions. Financial Beginnings reaches more than 200 K-12 schools and colleges and more than 100 community-based organizations annually, serving all groups with special focus on populations most in need. For more information, visit www.financialbeginnings.org.