When I was younger, the thought of “keeping track of my finances” was NEVER a priority for me.
Mm, not exactly my chosen subject to talk about. I knew the BARE minimum that I needed to know when it came to money matters. Then, I realized that if I was always scared of talking about money, I’d never “master” money or use it in a positive way. It wasn’t until I FINALLY sat down to figure out how much I was earning, saving, and spending, that I now feel confident about my money situation.
I’ve created my own little system to keep track of my finances in my personal AND business life! I’m sharing with you how I keep everything in order and a FREEBIE for you to use to do the same! Here’s a little breakdown so finances don’t have to be a
Income & Savings
Before we dive into ALL the things related to money, savings, investments, and more – the two most important concepts to understand are: Income and Savings. These were the two biggest aspects about money I didn’t really understand at first. I had to sit down and break up my yearly income, understanding how my taxes worked, what I had to pay for insurance in the United States, and then figured out how much of that I wanted to save.
All of this needed to be done before I thought about casual spending money for clothes or eating out. Now that I’m abroad, I have to do this in two different currencies.
My top priority is geared towards my savings. While some people recommend opening a 2nd account specifically for savings, I haven’t done that. I have two different accounts at home for retirement and a main checking account (in Spain and the United States). I try to calculate how much my expenses are each month so that I know how much of my income will go to paying off my bills and how much I’d like to put into another account for emergency situations.
The “Type A” personality in me is always a bit worried about “not having enough money” in case of emergencies or other happenings. To make sure I don’t feel stressed, I choose an amount that I’ve calculated as a “bare minimum” to always have in my account. I’ve set restrictions for myself that this amount should NEVER be lower than the minimum.
By doing that, I’ve made sure I always have money for my emergency situations or whatever else! It allows me to know how much I can spend or save.
“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”
– Warren Buffett
Sit down with a calculator, your FREE Finance Notebook from the Quirky Pineapple Studio, and figure out how much money you’re ACTUALLY taking home. Then, think to yourself how much you’d like to save each month. This number will vary for everyone, depending on your priorities, but it will help you set a margin.
Grab your FREE Finance Notebook and finance tracking template below:
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Expenses are the cost required for something; or the money spent on something.
Everyone’s expenses vary, based on their interests, life, priorities, etc. Some expenses I have are:
- Utility bills
- Business expenses (any systems or investments I make)
- Gym membership
These are items that I pay for on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. This also includes: monthly subscriptions, eating out, shopping, gifts, and more. As a generally frugal person, I try to keep my expenses as low as possible each month. My priorities are: travel, investments for my business to grow, and building a life with Mario. So, there are some things that I’ve cut out from my life because they were unnecessary.
Some things Mario and I don’t have (or use):
- No Netflix, HBO, etc – we don’t watch TV so there’s no point for us to pay for these things
- No Spotify subscription – although this would be really nice to have, we’ve opted out of paying a monthly fee because we feel it isn’t a necessity
- Minimal shopping – our house is already EXTREMELY small, which means any shopping for clothes is minimal!
- Eating out – this is usually left for the weekends, when we’re out with friends, etc. During the week, we cook our dinners at home and I make my lunch at home
- Coffee – good thing coffee in Spain is so cheap (about 1.20€+)! We don’t drink much coffee anyways, but if we do, we have our own Nescafé machine at home (which ends up being cheaper)
PRO TIP: Do you know how much you’re spending each month on “soft costs” or leisure? Get a calculator, your FREE Finance Notebook from the Quirky Pineapple Studio, and add up how much you spend monthly on leisure, subscriptions, etc. Where can you cut costs to save more money?
Swipe your own Finance Notebook and finance tracking template:
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Tools & Resources (Personal & Biz)
To keep track of all my finances, I have quite a few tools & resources that I use. Keeping things in analog and digital form can seem pretty tiring to most people, but I always love having both, just in case I need to refer back to details. For my personal life, I keep a few different physical folders and notebooks and a Google Spreadsheet for all my spending and finances.
Now that Mario and I live together we have a small notebook and folder we use to keep track of our expenses! During our first year living together in Lucena, Córdoba, we used this system for rent, utilities, groceries, and things we would buy for the house. For example, each week or month, before we went grocery shopping, each of us would contribute 50€. In Spain, we call this “bote”, like “pot of money”. From there, we used it to pay for our groceries, going out to eat, etc.
I try to update our notebook and folder at the end of each month, so we can have a general idea of where our money went! Sometimes I forget, but it’s nice to turn back and see where we can cut our costs or if we have extra money to spend on something nice for us!
These are the tools I use for my personal life and within my business to keep track of my income, savings, and expenses:
- Google Sheets
- Finance Notebook (Digital & Analog)
- Financial “folder” to keep all receipts
- Bank apps (United States and Spain)
- Mint (United States)
- Dubsado – a CRM system for sending contracts, invoices, and collecting money (by using this link, you will receive 20% OFF your first month or year)
- Google Drive
- Google Sheets
- Bank apps (Spain)
- Payment apps: Paypal, Square, Stripe
- Finance Notebook (Digital)
Money can always be a touchy subject, and thinking about it can seem extremely “scary”. Finding my own way to keep track of my income, savings, and expenses has given me peace of mind and a lot more freedom. I don’t worry about “not knowing” how much I’m spending and can say I’m in control of my expenses! Developing this habit has helped me to understand what makes me comfortable money-wise and where to invest wisely in my business.
Want access to your own Finance Notebook and finance tracking template? Ready to start taking control of how you view money? Grab your FREE Finance Notebook below:
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What tools do you use for keeping track of your finances? Share with us in the comments below!
*This post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you! All money is invested back into the Quirky Pineapple Studio and providing you with the best resources!
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