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  • Expense tracker using Canadian money, a computer, and a calculator.

    Why You Need to Have a Weekly Expense Tracker

    by:
    Gursh Singh

    Whether you’re struggling to make ends meet or just want to get a better grip on your finances, a weekly expense tracker is just the ticket. With Canada’s debt-to-income ratio near record high levels, and the average Canadian owing almost $1.78 for every dollar earned, an expense tracker can be a very helpful tool in this day and age. One of the most sure-fire ways to put a dent in your debt is to reduce your average household credit card debt, as well as other debts. But to do that, you need to know what you’re spending and where you’re spending it, which is exactly what an expense tracker does! 

    Five Benefits of a Weekly Expense Tracker

    There are many reasons why you should use a weekly spending tracker. Whether you’re still in school or already in retirement, it’s never too late (or too early) to start taking advantage of all the benefits it can offer! From helping you create a more useful budget to keeping your financial goals on track, here are the top five reasons to keep an eye on your expenses.

    1. It Helps Create a Useful Budget

    When you’re putting together a budget, it’s easy to plan for your mortgage, rent, or car payments because these amounts generally stay the same from month to month. But what about dining out, going out, groceries, gas, and shopping? These expenses tend to fluctuate week to week and month to month, so you can’t just plug in a number off the top of your head. Maybe you went out more than usual one week, or bought more groceries because you had guests over; or maybe you needed to buy some clothes for the kids, or skipped the carpool and drove to work every day. To get a firm grasp on your average spending in any category, you need to track it for at least a few weeks to get an average. Once you have that, the budget you eventually create will be much more useful and accurate.

    2. It Helps Curb Unnecessary Spending

    Keeping tabs on your purchases with a weekly spending tracker can reveal some surprising numbers! For example, you might not think much of that daily Starbucks fix now, until you realize you’re spending $20 per week on something you could just brew yourself at home. Or let’s say you grab a snack and soda from the vending machine every day at work, totaling $15 per week. Now consider how much you could save if you brought those items to work from home. (Our Budget Calculator shows you how much you could be saving by cutting out other simple items.) When you’re tracking your expenses, you’re also forced to pay closer attention to your bills. So a high electric bill might encourage you to start turning off the lights when you leave a room (just like your parents always told you), or a high water bill might inspire you to cut those hour-long showers in half. 

    3. It Helps Simplify and Consolidate

    Most of us lead hectic lives, and while keeping a personal expense tracker might seem like another chore, it can actually make your life easier—and not just from a financial standpoint. When tracking expenses, you might find that you made three trips to the grocery store in one week. Not only can that be a waste of gas, but it’s also a waste of precious time, whether you’re driving there or not. Realizing this might inspire you to plan your grocery store trips a little more in advance, saving you time and money in the end. Perhaps you’ll discover you made three online purchases, three days apart. Could you have waited to make them all together, scoring you free shipping as a result? 

    4. It Can Catch Quick Wins

    It’s not uncommon for many of us to simply pay a bill and not look closely at the statement. However, when you delve into the charges, you could uncover a banking error, or a subscription to a service or app that you’d completely forgotten about and never use, or you may even notice fraudulent charges (in a 2018 survey, 55% of Canadian respondents said they experienced an incident of economic crime). Catching these types of charges early helps nip them in the bud.

    5. It Keeps You On Track

    Are you trying to pay down debt? Save up money? Whatever your goal is, a spending tracker helps keep you honest and aligned with your bigger financial  goals. For example, let’s say you’re trying to pay $200 a month on a credit card until it’s paid off in full, but by the time your payment is due you just can’t seem to find those $200. By tracking your expenses,  you might discover that you’re actually spending $140 a month on lunch every day at work. Bringing this number to light might just be the motivation you need to start packing a lunch and putting that money towards your debt. It’s also important to remember that your financial goals may change over time, and that’s okay. So let’s say you meet your goal and pay off that credit card. That doesn’t mean you quit being an expense tracker. It just means you set a new goal, like saving up for a vacation or setting up an emergency fund.

    Curious How Most Canadians Are Spending Their Money?

    Here’s a look at how much Canadians spent on a bunch of different household categories in 2017, by household type, as reported by Statistics Canada. (They’re currently conducting a study to report new numbers for 2020, perhaps you’ve already been surveyed!) How do you stack up?

     

    One person households

    Couples without children

    Couples with children

    Single parent households

    Shelter

    $13,000

    $18,000

    $24,800

    $17,100

    Transportation

    $6,000

    $13,200

    $18,200

    $11,000

    Food

    $4,700

    $8,900

    $11,900

    $7,500

    Clothing and Accessories

    $1,600

    $3,000

    $3,200

    $2,400

    Communication (phone, internet)

    $1,400

    $2,300

    $3,100

    $2,400

    Education

    $630

    $970

    $3,100

    $2,000

    Tobacco and Alcohol

    $1,100

    $2,000

    $1,500

    $1,000

    Total

    $36,900

    $65,000

    $88,100

    $56,300

    Download Our Free Weekly Expense Tracker Today

    If you’ve ever wondered where your money goes, our free weekly spending tracker is just the tool for you! It lets you track your expenses week by week and automatically tallies them up, eventually compiling them into monthly totals for each expense. And once you’re comfortable tracking, you can enter a budget for each expense item. The tracker will then automatically let you know if you’re coming in over or under budget. This personal expense tracker can really pay off, so download it today. It’s free!

    Contact Credit Canada for Money and Debt Help

    If at any time you have questions about adjusting your budget, the best way to pay off your debt, or you just need some financial advice, give us a call at 1.800.267.2272. You’ll be put in touch with a certified Credit Counsellor who can show you the best way to a debt-free future. All of our counselling is 100% free, confidential, and non-judgmental, so you won’t get any flack on how you spend your money. Just simple advice on how to achieve your goals.

    Track Your Expenses with Credit Canada's Free Expense Tracker. Download Now.

    Topics: Money Management

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