Do you ever wonder where all your money goes each month? Do you feel like even though you make a decent salary, you’re still living paycheque to paycheque?

If you want to know where all your money is going, start tracking all the money coming into, and out of, your household for an entire month.  And not just the big stuff like your mortgage payments, your utilities, etc,  Track the little stuff too – every Starbucks coffee, the chocolate bar you pick up while paying for gas, the toonie you gave the kid who came to your door for their school fundraiser. All of it.

Track your income too – not just paycheques, but also any rebates, refunds, monetary gifts or prizes, etc.  The results might shock you, but it’s important to know this before you can set out to reduce any of those expenses.

Tracking will be easier if you use plastic for many of your purchases, as you can just get the information you need by looking at your bank or credit card statement.  But don’t forget to track all cash transactions as well!  There are also several apps that make tracking easy – I use Pocket Expense, but there are many others, such as Mint, YNAB (You Need a Budget), etc.  Or, there’s always the old-fashioned paper and pen!

Be truthful.  And don’t feel badly if the numbers are scary!  You’re taking an important first step in taking control of your finances – and that’s always a good thing!