By Angela Martin 

    In order to improve your future financial wellbeing you need to firstly have a clear understanding of your current personal financial position. This includes the cash inflows and outflows that you incur on a regular basis. Transparency and being honest with yourself is important when recognising your current financial position in order to move to a position where you have a sense of agency and control over your own money.

    If you have never tracked your expenses before or set goals through budgeting, then the first place to start is to get a snapshot of what you do spend. You can start by keeping a record of your income and expenses over a 1–3 month period. Then you have some data to start making goals and adjusting your spending and saving habits to meet those goals.

    Generally, if you can take a little time to track your expenses on a monthly basis (which may only take 1 hour of your month) you’ll have started a simple habit that, longer term, has huge rewards. 

    When you are beginning to track your expenses, it is prudent to track all of your expenses on a daily basis over a period of three months. There are many incidental purchases, which can easily be missed if not accounted for straight away. This initial investment of time in tracking daily expenses will facilitate a more effective framework to pivot off when working towards savings or other goals. 

    There are many different resources available to track your expenses, some of which are free whilst others incur a monthly cost. Three good options are included below.

    Once you have a good idea of which method works best to track your spending, take a look at your results. 

    Did you have a lot left over at the end of each month or were you struggling to pay expenses or manage your cash flow?  This information will help you know how to prioritise your financial goals.

    For instance – if you have an amount of money left over after your monthly expenses it might be time to look into financial products like term deposits and high interest accounts to help you maximise your savings growth. Or, if you are struggling to meet your expenses or manage your cash flow it might be a good idea to look for cost cutting measures, or added potential for income each month.

    Check out the next Money Mentors article for tips on consolidating your debts! 




    The Moneysmart website is a great resource to track your expenses. It contains a budget planner which enables you to key in your expenses directly online. Alternatively, it also includes an excel spreadsheet which can be downloaded and used on most devices. The planner and spreadsheet contain common income and expenses which most individuals and households encounter, and can be adjusted for your individual money flow.

    Banking Apps

    Many banking apps have an online budget planner which you can download onto your phone and update live as you make your purchases. For example, Bendigo Bank has as great one located on their website:


    For those who prefer not to use technology, carrying a small notebook with you is an easy way to jot down daily expenses which you can then transfer onto a spreadsheet when you are next in front of a computer.


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