At the beginning of this year I set a goal to start tracking my expenses more consistently. I did track my expenses on and off last year but I found it difficult to stay motivated and do it consistently day after day.
When I decided to set this goal I also started to test out a few apps that can help me do this. Last year I was using the TrackMySpend app by MoneySmart which is a very simple app that requires you to manually enter every expense. The app also provides a monthly summary of all your expenses broken down by category.
I did find manually entering every expense to be a bit tedious at times so I thought I would look at what other apps were out there.
I tried out Pocketbook which is a popular app here in Australia. The app allows you to link to your bank accounts, hence you don’t need to manually enter all your expenses, except for cash expenses.
The only thing I didn’t like about Pocketbook is that when transactions don’t go through on the day you actually spent the money, this data is not translated how I like in the app. For example, if I buy my groceries on a Saturday the transaction may not go through till the following Monday, so the app shows the expense as though I bought my groceries on the Monday which isn’t accurate. Some might argue that the actual day the money comes out is what matters, however if you buy something on the last day of the month but it doesn’t go through straight away, it looks like it’s an expense for the following month.
Anyways this was a small quirk that I didn’t like about these automated apps. I tested out a few more apps such as HomeBudget but none of them did what I was looking for so I ended up coming back to the TrackMySpend app.
When I first started using the TrackMySpend app last year I wasn’t consistent with it so that was a worry. I knew I needed to come up with new a routine that would work for me if I were to start using this app again. Hence, I decided to set a reminder on my phone to go off every night to remind me to enter all my expenses for the day. My routine goes something like this:
- Reminder goes off on my phone at 9pm every night
- Login to my bank account and check what transactions have been made and enter them into the app
- Enter any cash expenses I made during the day into the app
- Ask my husband if he had any cash expenses during the day and enter them into the app
- Once I am happy that all expenses have been entered into the app, mark the reminder on my phone as complete
This little routine has worked like a charm since I started it at the beginning of the year. I love reminders, they have really helped me become more organised in my life.Although the TrackMySpend app does require discipline and effort on my part, I have found it be easy to use and most importantly it does what I need. It does have a few quirks such as the summary screens don’t always scroll all the way down and expenses grouped by a tag show duplicates. I’m hoping that these issues will get fixed one day, but the core parts of the app work well so I am happy to continue using it.
How do you track your expenses?