Stu is a smart guy, he asked me for an “Expense Tracker”. He sent me a super nice email asking for a simple solution to his expense tracking dilemma. You see, Stu doesn’t want to link his bank accounts to third-party online budgeting systems or deal with complex budget software programs when it comes to counting cash. Nope. Stu just wants a simple spreadsheet to get his expenses tracked with little fuss and no muss.

Since I like Stu, I went ahead and built him not one, BUT TWO expense tracker downloads. The first is a simple printable worksheet for carrying around in your purse or wallet. The second is a full-on expense tracker spreadsheet that does the math for you.

The only problem with Stu is every time I reply to his super nice email, my response bounces. It’s a bummer for this blogger ’cause I’d like to thank him for his idea.

Be an Expense Tracker

Step One: Download!

Download your preferred tracking method — the worksheet (PDF), spreadsheet (XLS), or both.

Fill in your spending categories across the top.

Expense Tracker Worksheet
Download: Track Your Expenses Worksheet (PDF)

Expense Tracker Spreadsheet
Download: Track Your Expenses Spreadsheet (XLS)

Step Two: Track your daily spends

Save your receipts and tally your spends every day. It may seem like a lot of work at first, but over time you’ll find that a daily money tracking system is an easy habit to keep. Just be sure to track all your cash, credit card, and debit card purchases to see where you’re blowing your dough.

Step Three: Add spending totals to your budget

Tally your expenses during the month and add them to the Free Budget Spreadsheet under the right category. I’ve written a whole series on budgeting called: How to Build a Budget. There are a dozen free downloads, worksheets, and spreadsheets throughout this series to help you get your money on track, so go check it out.

Final Steps: Improve your personal savings rate

I want you to Fall in love with your Personal Savings Rate and increase the percentage of your saved income by not consuming it. GULP!

Yes, you can do this. I have a hunch that after tracking your expenses, you’ll see the shopping patterns and spending places where you can cut back. So cut back, and use that found money — which is YOUR MONEY — and save it in an emergency fund, reduce debt, and increase your net worth.

Happy tracking, and thank you Stu!