Mapping Your Financial Journey: Helping Adults Plan for College
Manage Your Money

Keep a Spending Diary


Do you constantly wonder where your money goes? You just put $50 cash in your wallet, and now it’s almost gone! The best way to find out where it went is by to keep a spending diary.

Carry a small notebook with you. For the next two months, write down every purchase you make during the day, no matter how small. After two months, total the items, and transfer your findings to a chart so you can see the cost of your choices over time. Here’s a sample chart:

 

Spending Diary:           Start Date: ______________     End Date: ______________
Item Purchased
Cost
Number Bought per Month
Total Cost per Month
Total Cost per Year (monthly cost x 12)
Example
bus ticket
$1.50
16
$24.00
$288.00
Example
fast-food meal
$4.79
8
$38.32
$459.84
parking
       
babysitter
       
medicine
       
eating out
       
movies
       
clothes
       
newspaper
       
membership dues
       


After you’ve kept a spending diary for two months, you’re ready to Make a Spending Plan.

 


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