Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
If you think asking for a receipt is tough, wait until you have to ask a credit card company or loan officer not to put your name into collections.
Start today if you are new to budgeting or want to further your knowledge if you’re not already asking for receipts.
Below, I will explain why receipts are essential and how they helped us become debt-free before turning 40.
Asking For A Receipt Is Crucial
You may think the task of asking for a receipt every time you shop will break you, but it gets easier with practice.
Tracking receipts has been one of the most successful ways we’ve been able to footstep our spending habits.
Perhaps it’s been a bit of work to get this far in the budgeting process, but it will be worth it.
In Step 1, we learned what a budget was and what information you needed to gather before moving on to Step 2.
While Step 1 might have been daunting, Step 2 in budget design should have been a bit easier.
You learned how to divide your Net earnings into a budget and spend less than you make.
In Step 3 of designing the budget, you will learn the importance of documentation and how it will affect your monthly budget and results.
Documenting everything you spend is crucial to success when budgeting, not only for peace of mind but to hold yourself accountable for your financial actions.
Tracking Receipts For Budgeting
Keep track of what you spend. Why do you ask?
Consider the following scenario;
If you spend $5.00 on coffee in cash and fail to document it, that’s $5.00 you have lost a trail to in the budget.
Now you have to figure out why you are short $5.00.
I always ask for a receipt, even at Tim Horton’s, and I’m not embarrassed.
My money, my life.
What do we do with all these Receipts?
Every time we receive a receipt at the register, we are mindful of where it goes.
Please put it in your wallet in a safe place so it doesn’t end up in a bag, on the floor, or blowing across the parking lot.
We take all the receipts from our wallet and insert them into our file folder, which I keep in my office.
Unloading all of our receipts on the kitchen table is the first step, and either I or Mrs. CBB will put them in the folder.
At the end of the month, before I finalized the budget, we checked our wallets to ensure we did not miss tracking receipts for that month.
Excel Budget Spreadsheet
Then what do we do with all the receipts in the file? We organize and enter the data.
Typically, at the end of the week, on a Sunday after our grocery shopping trip, we enter the receipts into the Daily Expenses portion of the budget spreadsheet.
The budget worksheet has been formulated, so it does all the work for you, although we offer two different versions of our Excel budget spreadsheet.
The Monthly Excel Budget Worksheet Contains the following;
- Date of Purchase
- Where you purchased the items, i.e., store drop-down list
- How much does it cost?
- How much in coupons did you use?
- Did you use a Gift Card to pay?
- What did you use to pay? I.e., debit, credit card (which one)
- What items did you purchase? – Put a snapshot of purchases made
- You will also see how much you saved during the shop.
- There is an area for notes, which have come in handy more than a million times for us.
This data, when saved, is also saved on your Budget Sheet from Step 2 and updates as you input data into the worksheet.
You can quickly see how much you have spent in your designated categories according to the numbers you set.
If you ask yourself, “How much have we spent on groceries this month?” you can easily see how much and what you have left to spend in your grocery budget.
Using an Excel budget spreadsheet for tracking receipts is comparable to having your money in Jars but with the ability to see the instant amount left in the jar without having to count.
Related: Budgeting using the jar system
If I can teach my parents how to do this, you can, too!
Paper and Pen- Tracking Receipts Documentation
Write it in a Notebook if the computer is not for you.
I was never really good at writing in books when budgeting, but you might love it as it’s a simplified budgeting process.
I’ve also designed a simple budget that you can print and put into a budget binder where you can pencil in the information you need.
- Double-check your numbers since you will manually use a calculator to do the math.
If you understand Excel, you can combine a worksheet and budget or download ours for free.
If you prefer to budget using the paper and pen method, you now have three necessary steps you can work on.
Budgeting is part of a lifestyle, just as enjoying a healthy diet that keeps you energized and full of life.
Once in a while, you may fall off track, but that’s perfectly normal.
The name of the budgeting game is to stay positive and get back on track as soon as possible.
You fall into a debt trap when you give up on your financial future.
Debt is why people sink further into ruins, and relationships can fail.
You have to make sure you either;
- Have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses
- Save for what you need and pay CASH
Download our FREE Excel budget and lots of other Free Financial Resources.
If neither of these can occur, expect to have debt and pay it off as fast as possible.
Step 4 in designing our Budget is Note-taking and its importance.
Happy Budgeting Everyone!