If you were asked to list down some of the expenses coming up in the near future, you may immediately think of big ticket spends — like saving up for your home loan down payment or for buying a new smartphone. However, it’s easy to overlook the smaller expenses like internet bills, electricity costs, or that chocolate you buy everyday on the way home from work.

In fact, you may be so used to spending on these purchases that they may not even feature as individual items in your monthly budget. This could be a costly mistake, though, because if you don’t keep an eye on these small daily expenses, they could quickly add up and eat into your savings.

So, how do you go about tracking these smaller common expenses efficiently? Let’s look at 5 ideas to make this practice possible.

1. Ask for receipts and keep them handy

Your parents and grandparents may make it a point to get the receipt after every purchase, but receipt tracking is quickly becoming a lost art. Interestingly, getting receipts for every expense and keeping them organized can make it much easier to track your spends — particularly the smaller ones. Today, you can get both paper receipts and digital receipts, depending on the mode of purchase you choose.

You can start by making it a habit to ask the seller for a paper receipt. This is essential because it may not be possible to remember every single expense you had during the day or the week. But going over your paper or digital receipts can help you account for any expenses you may have missed during the month.

2. Use a spreadsheet

If you’re comfortable using a spreadsheet, you can use MS Excel to note down all your expenses during the month. Spreadsheets give you many advantages. You can easily sum up the expenses you’ve incurred at any given point. You can color-code the cells and categorize your smaller expenses into several groups, based on the nature of the spend. And you can even highlight the costs that you may have gone overboard with.

Another advantage of using spreadsheets to track your smaller expenses is that you have the option to include a lot of other relevant information too — like the date, the vendor, the GST incurred on any expenses and so on. You can even sum up the expenses incurred for different categories of spends and make a note of which of them cross a specific threshold. This will help identify the areas in which you tend to overspend.

3. Or download an expense tracking app

Expense tracking apps are becoming increasingly more popular, because they help you track your spends on the go. If spreadsheets are not your strong suit, you’ll love these new-age apps, because they are easy to use and offer a wide range of useful features that can make budgeting and expense tracking a breeze. Many of these apps are even available for free online, so you don’t have to spend anything to track your expenses.

These expense management applications come with various features. Here’s a preview of what you can do with such apps —

  • Sync your bank statements and credit cards
  • Get alerts when you exceed a budget limit
  • Create spending goals
  • Make use of an envelope feature to cap various expenses

This is where Kotak Spendz comes into picture. It enables you to track your small daily expenses like food orders, fuel, mobile recharge, groceries etc. by separating them from your important bank statements. Click here to open Spendz & manage your small expenses smartly.

https://ktkbank.page.link/?link=https://ktkbank.page.link/AN_SPENDZ&apn=com.msf.kbank.mobile&isi=622363400&ibi=com.kotak.kmb&ofl=https://www.kotak.com/en/personal-banking/accounts/savings-account/spendz-account.html

4. Activate the SMS facility in your bank account

Banks typically send SMSes in case of debits from or credits to your bank account. In some cases, you may have to activate this facility separately. These SMSes can give you a record of the spends you make using your debit card or your UPI account — right from the comfort of your smartphone. In case of any mismatch in your budget, you can always make use of these SMSes to check for any discrepancies in your tracking.

Also, having an SMS sent to you each time you pay for an expense with the funds from your account helps curb unwanted costs more effectively. In turn, this will make it easier for you to save up for the future.

5.       Review your spends periodically

Lastly, a major part of tracking your small expenses is to review them periodically. Merely keeping an eye on the minor expenses without evaluating their necessity will not have any benefit. The goal of expense tracking should be to cut down on or eliminate unwanted spends, so you can redirect more of your income towards your savings.

So, as a part of your expense tracking strategy, set some time aside every 3 months or so to go over the minor, recurring expenses and assess if they are necessary. See if you can cut corners in a few places. And use these caps to track your expenses inthe following month.

Conclusion

These strategies can help you get started with the habit of tracking your small daily expenses smartly. Initially, you may find yourself overlooking a few of the really tiny spends. But you can go over the accounts every night to get into the habit of expense tracking. That said, remember that you need not cut out every single discretionary cost.

In fact, it’s advisable to allocate a small portion of your income — say around 20% to 30% — for your wants. This will prevent you from going overboard and overspending a huge sum of money as a ‘treat’ to yourself.

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Disclaimer: This Article is for information purpose only. The views expressed in this Article do not necessarily constitute the views of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. (“Bank”) or its employees. Bank make no warranty of any kind with respect to the completeness or accuracy of the material and articles contained in this Newsletter. The information contained in this Article is sourced from empaneled external experts for the benefit of the customers and it does not constitute legal advice from Kotak. Kotak, its directors, employees and the contributors shall not be responsible or liable for any damage or loss resulting from or arising due to reliance on or use of any information contained herein.