What is a spending diary?
A spending diary can be as simple as a piece of paper where you write down everything (no matter how small) you spend your money on e.g. packet of chewing gum, coffee etc..to a spreadsheet you have created.
Why should I use a spending diary?
A spending diary is a quick and easy way to keep track of your spending, especially when you are unsure where all your money is gong and help you challenge your spending habits. It works hand in hand with a budget planner. E.g. once you work out your weekly cost for living with your budget, you can see where the money is being spent.
How do I use a spending diary?
Easy, just be honest and write everything down. At the end of each week look at the list and write down next to each item whether you needed the item or whether you just wanted it. With all the 'just wanted' items, see if you can make do without these items in the future or start buying them less frequently. Also, check your actual weekly spend against your weekly planned budget and adjust your next week budget accordingly to keep on track.
Example of a spending diary
|Date||Description||Type (cash/debit/cheque)||Amount||Did I need it (N), did I want it (W).|
|1st May||Diet Cola||Cash||65p||W|
|1st May||Weekly food shop||Debit||£24.58||N|
|1st May||Muffin (coffee house)||Cash||£1.58||W|
|1st May||Latte (coffee house)||Cash||£2.65||W|
|1st May||Packet chewing gum||Cash||60p||W|
|1st May||3 pints beer||Cash||£7.20||W|
|1st May||packet of crisps in bar||Cash||58p||W|
|1st May||portion of chips and battered sausage||Cash||£2.10||W|
Total essential (needed) cost £24.58
Total non-essential (wanted) cost £18.26
Total costs £42.84