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What are the Pros and Cons of Tracking Spending?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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One of the major pros of tracking spending is always being aware of the state of one's personal finances. Tracking what you spend can help you stick to your budget, not just in a general way, but in each category such as housing, food, transportation and gifts. While a con is that manually tracking all cash that is spent can be irritating as well as time consuming, a pro is that doing this automatically can be quick and simple.

Another pro is that many automatic spending tracking software programs are available for free. Having the program on a hand-held device can be a main pro since it can be checked before spending occurs in order to be sure of the available budget. Another pro is that for those who just wish to keep tracking spending by hand with a paper and pen or by entering data onto a computer spreadsheet, these options are also available. Some people like to keep a file folder or box to store receipts and record the cash spent each day. A pro of this simple daily tracking system is that it can make one more aware of where the money is going way before the end of a pay period or month.

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A con with any system used to track spending is that one may start doing it then taper off until it's forgotten about all together. Yet, this is a risk for any new goal such as trying to lose weight or quit smoking. If a person first makes a budget plan, then places money in savings before spending any each new pay period or month, the tracking goal can help. In this way, tracking spending and making sure all receipts are accounted for only needs to be done once or twice a month.

Even with constant tracking of one's spending habits, there is no guarantee that financial goals will be met. Although this can be considered to be a con of tracking spending, it could be changed into a pro if one makes up his or her mind to keep trying to properly manage all finances. Another con that may occur when spending is being tracked is an error, but this may also be able to be changed into a pro if the person does regular tracking. Frequent tracking of cash spending can allow one to catch and correct errors so that the budget plan is still able to be adhered to despite the mistake.

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