Maintaining and Keeping Track of Your Budget
Tracking your expenses will help you understand where your money is going and plan for the things that matter to you.
4 min read
Budgets are essential financial tools, and a great first step when it comes to managing and understanding your money. If you’ve already put in the work to create one or at least thought about ways to calculate your expenses and set realistic financial goals, that’s great! If not, getting started is easy. For Financial Literacy Month, we’re taking a look at the ins and outs of budgeting to give you the necessary tools to improve your financial wellness.
Budgets are living resources, and creating one is only the first step. Regularly tracking and optimizing your expenses will give you an accurate idea of where your money is going each month and help you find ways to plan for the things that matter the most to you. To help you stay on track, here are a few practical ways to help you make the most out of your budget.
Monitor your expenses
We understand that checking your bank account can be intimidating, especially when you’re not sure what’s happening with your money. Creating a budget can help you make this task less daunting, especially since you’ll already have a basic idea of what’s happening to your money. Looking at your bank accounts regularly won’t help you check for irregular activity like fraud, but it will help you understand your spending, and see if your budget is working for you. We recommend tracking your expenses throughout the first few days of creating a new budget to identify any unwanted spending habits, and to make sure the goals you created are realistic.
Set financial goals that matter to you
Reaching your financial goals takes work, but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice the things that matter to you. Setting realistic financial goals is rewarding, and will help you stick to your budget as you monitor your progress. Start by asking yourself what truly matters to you. Is your primary goal to reduce debt? Or maybe travel more? Once you identify what’s important to you, you can begin to incorporate larger long-term goals into your budget, and plan for 6 months to a year down the road to make them manageable.
Remember to be patient with yourself. Getting your finances in order is a work in progress, and often taking a step back doesn’t mean having to start from scratch. You can adjust your financial goals to suit your current situation, and adapt them as they evolve.
Use a budgeting app or expense tracker
Budgeting apps can make tracking your goals easier and more straight forward. Popular apps like Mint and You Need A Budget let you customize and track your budget based on your income, monthly expenses, and lifestyle – plus, they’re a great high-tech alternative to using a spreadsheet or template. There are countless free and paid options online, it’s just a matter of finding the one that works best for you.
If you prefer keeping things simple, you can also go a more analogue route. Grab a notebook, divide a page into budget categories and record your expenses every day. Whichever method you prefer, be sure to write down every purchase to get an accurate view of your spending habits.
Stick to your spending limits
One of the most important steps to staying on budget is to avoid spending more than you’ve planned for. This might be simple in theory, but in practice it can be challenging — especially when it means skipping dinner out with friends or passing on that bag you’ve been dying to get. If running out of money for a particular category becomes a recurring issue, you may want to adjust your budget to make it work for you. Be sure to take into account which elements you’d want to cut back on to meet your financial goals, to see if adjusting your budget or cutting back on spending is in order.
Revisit your budget regularly
Remember, your budget is not set in stone, and will likely evolve over time as your needs and goals change. It’s important to revisit how much money you allocate to each spending category and figure out if it’s working for you. This is particularly important during big life events such as buying a home, having a baby, or taking a work sabbatical.
How can N26 help me make better financial decisions?
We know you’re constantly on-the-go, which is why N26 makes keeping track of your finances easy. You can track your daily spending with automated statistics, receive instant notifications for all account activity, and use Spaces to instantly put money aside to reach your financial goals. No matter your budget, we’re here to help you manage and understand your finances right from your phone.
Open an N26 account today to enjoy banking that is fast, flexible, and transparent.
The N26 account is offered by Axos Bank®, Member FDIC. N26 Inc. is a service provider of Axos Bank. All deposit accounts of the same ownership and/or vesting held at Axos Bank are combined and insured under the same FDIC Certificate 35546. All deposit accounts through Axos Bank brands are not separately insured by the FDIC from other deposit accounts held with the same ownership and/or vesting at Axos Bank. The N26 Visa® Debit Card is issued by Axos Bank pursuant to a license by Visa U.S.A. Inc. The N26 Visa Debit Card may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.
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