How to Track Transactions

(And Why It’s So Important)

Ready for one of the biggest secrets for how to budget—and do it really, really well? Good, because we don’t want to keep it a secret. Here it is: Track. Your. Transactions.

Every single one.

How to Track Your Transactions

If you make money, track it.
When your regular paycheck comes in, list the amount in the income part of your budget. If you make money through a side hustle or sell something, log that in too!

If you spend money, track it.
When you fill up the gas tank, subtract that expense from transportation. When you pay the rent, subtract that expense from housing. When you buy tickets to see your favorite boy band’s reunion tour, subtract that expense from entertainment. You get the picture.

Set a regular rhythm for tracking.
Track your transactions regularly. That might be once a week or at the end of each day—or it might mean you log in a purchase before you leave the grocery store parking lot. Whatever works for you and gets every expense tracked.

Quick callout: If you upgrade to the premium version of EveryDollar, tracking becomes a breeze. You can connect your budget to your bank, so transactions stream right in. You just drag and drop them to the right budget line. Boom. 

Why It’s Important to Track Your Transactions

Listen: Tracking your transactions is super important because it helps you:

  • Stay accountable to your budget, yourself and your money goals. (Also your spouse, if you’re married!) No secrets. No pretending a purchase didn’t happen.
  • Keep from overspending because as you enter expenses, you see what you have left in every budget line! Instantly you’ll know what’s left so you don’t overspend.
  • Stay on top of the budget. Your budget is not a set-it-and-forget-it project. It’s not a slow cooker. When you track transactions, you get in your budget all the time, and you can make adjustments so you know where your money is going—all the time.
  • Learn (and adjust) your spending habits so you can get back on track with your goals and finally make them happen. One monthly budget at a time.