So, yesterday, discussions here centered around expense-tracking, with a number of people sharing how beneficial this activity is and what tools they employ.
This got other people interested in beginning the exercise and then requesting some guidance to.
Well, here we go…
Tracking your expenses is simply making a note of what you earn and spend your money on. It is keeping a record of how money flows in your direction and away from you, too.
Over time, a pattern emerges, that you can now rely on to plan your finances more realistically.
For example, you will create a budget of ₦20,000 for Voice and Data Calls per month because that is the average you have observed over a 3-month period. This is as against just putting an arbitrary ₦10,000 or ₦15,000 because you “just cannot believe” that you spend “up to ₦20,000” on telephone calls per month.
Tracking your expenses gives you the evidence you need to advocate for higher pay/allowances where necessary.
It also helps you to make the adjustments you need to make in order to have something to save and then invest.
Now, depending on what you prefer, there are 3 ways by which you can do this:
Personally, I prefer the app because it automatically analyses your records for you. With the notebook and the spreadsheet, you still have to analyse what you have recorded yourself.
Here’s what I mean…
It’s not enough to be able to say I spent ₦100,000 this month. It is even better to be able to say I spent ₦30,000 on Transportation, ₦40,000 on Food, ₦10,000 as Tithe, ₦5,000 on Charity and ₦15,000 went into my savings.
You may even go on to find out how much you have spent on Plantain in particular (not just food in general) and you can compare expenses on Plantain during the holidays with expenses on Plantain during the regular school term.
It is an app that will usually show you this level of detail without additional effort, not your notebook/jotter.
Yet, you must start today, so use whatever tool you are most comfortable with. What is most important is that you do not push until tomorrow what you can begin today. Remember how I started mine on October 13 that year? It wasn’t a new year, or a new month or the middle of the month or…… It was simply a day to begin tracking my expenses.
So, let’s do this, alright? Start today. Get a notebook. Or, create a spreadsheet. Or, download an app. Start noting down how money comes into your hands and to whom it leaves.
If you’d like help with setting up your app, I will be happy to provide this help. There are several you can choose from, including those suggested by group members yesterday:
I started by using a notebook but have since switched to using the My Expenses app. It is not necessarily the best on the block. It’s just that that is what has worked for me thus far.
Yet, if I have to, I will download whichever one is preferred and work each one of us through setting it up, too.
May I invite users of other expense-tracking apps to join me on this, please?
Can you volunteer to help a sister in the group with setting up her own preferred expense-tracking app, too?
Thank you in advance.🙏