How To Stay On Top Of Your Spending

How To Stay On Top Of Your Spending

Written by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated December 18, 2019

Money has changed.

Online spending and tap-to-pay have made it possible to spend in just a couple of seconds. Many of us are shifting our purchases to credit and we tend to have multiple cards. Free trials that automatically lead to online subscriptions have made it easy to accidentally purchase services you only wanted to test out. 

The end result is that managing your money between multiple accounts, automatic purchases, and more frequent spending has become overwhelming and confusing. So, how do you manage your money better today?

Step 1: Understand Your Accounts

First, know where you stand. 

At the start of any attempt at managing money, it’s important to sit down and understand exactly where you keep it. That means taking a quick note of all the accounts and cards you’ve used. 

Start by listing the banks, credit card companies, and rewards programs you’ve enrolled in. Go through and detail what your relationship was. Did you have two bank accounts with this institution? Three credit cards with that company? Write it down so you know what you’re working with. 

Step 2: Comb Through Them 

Once you have your list of outstanding finances, take an account of each one. You check them out online, in person, or over the phone, but make sure you understand the relationship and that you’re not missing anything. It’s often helpful to talk to a real person who can help walk you through the details, and they’d be happy to help! So don’t be afraid to visit your branch or pick up the phone.

Get clarity on exactly where you stand with all of your financial providers. How much money do you have? Where? How much do you owe? To whom? How many points do you have? Etc. And write it all down. 

You’ll want to do this for old accounts too, if you think they’re closed, you can make sure they are. Sometimes inactivity fees or interest payments on small old debts start to add up.

Step 3: Check Your Statements’ Details

Now comes the really illuminating part.

Once you know what accounts to check, you can look through the statements for the past few months to understand where your money is going

Looking through these statements will help you discover a ton, including:

  • Your day-to-day spending habits. Including small, everyday purchases that add up over time.
  • Online subscriptions that you don’t actually use (but still pay for!)
  • Service charges and interest payments that may convince you to switch banks or credit card providers
  • Spending you don’t recognize? Hope not!

Step 4: Act On Your Insights

The only thing left to do is to take control of your finances. Once you begin to make choices that affect your financial goals, all the hard work you’ve put in pays off. Over time the everyday choices you make at this stage make the real difference in your financial health (and your regular health!)

But remember this isn’t a one-time task. The goal is to change behaviour over the long term because changing your financial picture is an ongoing habit that needs your thought day-to-day.

When you’ve nailed that habit, you’ve earned the right to say that you’re truly on top of your finances. 

At Yupp, we’re exploring topics of mindfulness, positivity, and how we can apply these with our money habits to build day-to-day habits and kick financial stress.

Rating of 5/5 based on 3 votes.

Caitlin is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security. One of the main ways she’s built good financial habits is by budgeting and tracking her spending through the YNAB budgeting app. She also automates her savings so she never forgets to put aside a portion of her income into her TFSA. She believes investing and passive income is key to earning financial freedom. She also uses her Aeroplan TD credit card to collect Aeroplan points so that she can save money when she travels.

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