Tracking your purchases with a free daily spending log will completely change your spending habits – in a good way!
What if the only thing you changed about your spending this month was to track what you spend, every single day?
I love the idea of keeping a daily spending log, because:
- It’s simple
- It’s effective in showing you how spending adds up
- It offers quick feedback on your spending – you don’t have to wait a whole week or paycheck to realize you’re spending too much money
- It's a great spending habit to get into
That’s why I’ve taken the time to round up the best free daily spending log printables out there.
Not only that, but to also give you some reflection questions to ask yourself after tracking your spending for a month or so that will make you more aware of your spending habits (stick around to the end for these).
But first up, let’s briefly discuss what a spending log is.
What is a Spending Log?
A spending log is where you keep track of your expenses for a certain period of time. For example, you could have a weekly spending log, or a monthly spending log.
Of course, it’s easiest to have a daily spending log, because then you don’t have to maintain receipts until the end of your spending period when you add them all up (check out more of my simple budgeting tips for beginners).
How Do You Record Daily Expenses?
You could find an app (and even a couple's budgeting app) that automatically categorizes your spending as it occurs – but then you would still need to track your cash purchases by hand.
Instead, you can print out a daily spending log, and use it to record all of your spending (either online, by bill, or your cash spending) each day of the week.
Daily spending logs work differently, but in general, you’ll either:
- Record each separate transaction throughout the day
- Record all of the day’s transactions in one spot at the end of the day, for a snapshot look at total daily amount spent
- Record daily spending by category (at the end of the day, categorizing all receipts by type of spending, then recording the amount spent in each category)
Daily Spending Log Printables
Personally, I prefer a printable daily spending log that covers a week or even a month at a time – that way, I’m not printing tons of copies all the time.
BUT, I’m going to give you a bunch of expense tracker options so that you can choose what works best for you.
I was excited to find this daily spending log printable for two reasons:
- One printout covers an entire month
- You categorize your daily spending by type
Really simple way to record your daily expenses – just keep your receipts for the day, then add up each type of spending by category. Add in the total for that specific day, and move on with your life.
For example, if you and your partner both each out for lunch at work, then you would add those together at the end of the day and fill that in under “meals out” (and not record the two separate transactions).
Here’s a way to track your daily expenses by category, and you just need to print one sheet for each week of the month.
I love the colors on this one!
This spending log will be something you print out for each day.
It’s got a really easy design to work with, and will be great if you want to keep track of each specific transaction, not necessarily each spending category (though, yes, you can put in the category for each transaction).
You could literally print a weeks’ worth of sheets out at a time, and use a magnetic clip to put them on your fridge. Then, you would record each transaction as it happens throughout the day and not miss anything!
This printout is simple and cute, and will likely last you half of a week to a week? It really depends on how many transactions you’re making.
Use this colorful tracker to record your weekly expenses, as well as to mark whether each expense is:
- Credit or debit
- Need or want
One of these sheets should last you several days to a week, again, depending on the number of transactions you make.
You’ll be able to fill in the date, amount, description, and where the money came from (checking, credit card, or cash).
You can download a free budget binder that includes different expense sheets to keep track of all transactions per category in your budget.
So, you could keep an expense category sheet for:
- Eating out
Get a set of free daily spending trackers (one for each month) from The Budget Mom! You can also learn about her method of categorizing expenses using highlighters.
Reflective Questions to Ask Yourself about Your Spending
What does your spending say about you that you didn’t realize, before?
After you track your spending with a daily spending log, you can start seeing patterns that maybe were not so obvious before.
And that’s great – you want this type of awareness to be able to make changes to your spending habits and create the quality of life that you want (on the budget you can afford).
Here are some questions to guide you in gaining awareness of spending habits:
- Do you tend to spend more online, or in actual stores?
- Do you tend to spend more on the weekends, during the week, or about the same?
- Do you use certain spending as a reward for things?
- Do you emotionally spend to make yourself feel better?
- Are the habits you spend on giving you the same amount of joy that they used to, or have they just become part of the routine?
- How much convenience spending are you doing, where you could have planned ahead to avoid, instead?
- How many times are you stepping foot into a store, or going to an online store, throughout the day? Do you think reducing the number of trips to stores would reduce your spending as well, or not?
- Are you spending money to make you feel better? Is it working? How long does the “better” feeling last?
- Do you tend to purchase more by cash or when you use your debit/credit card?
Printing out a free daily spending log and recording each of your transactions or spending by category by day for the next month should give you huge new awareness into your spending habits. What you do with that information next is what’s most important. If you record your daily spending for the next 30 days and don’t like what you see, definitely check out my resource article on how to spend less.
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