How To Track Savings: Seeing Progress, No Matter How Small

One of the things that makes it hard when you’re trying to save money is the feeling that you’re not getting anywhere. You make some changes in your lifestyle or you stop spending on unnecessary things and you know you’re saving money, but you just don’t feel like it’s adding up. When people start feeling like this they are more likely to give up. After all, if you don’t feel like you’re making any progress, what’s the point? Why make sacrifices if it’s just a couple of bucks here and there that never add up to anything?

I know this feeling. When I first started really saving money, I was frustrated. Here I was being frugal, couponing, an

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9 Responses to How To Track Savings: Seeing Progress, No Matter How Small

  1. Yo Prinzel says:

    I think this is a great idea, but I think it could be more powerful with one addition–putting all the savings immediately into the savings account.

    If you save $10 on something you need but you end up spending that $10 elsewhere, it isn’t really saved. Putting these savings in an account and letting them grow will do more than just make you proud–it will help your family when you are in need. The same could be done with items you WANT but don’t NEED. Like your holiday decoration–every day we pass up temptations from expensive lattes to sale-priced shoes. If we stop ourselves from buying and instead put that money into savings, we could make a huge impact on our finances!

  2. Pat Merritt says:

    Yes, but if you have very little money in the first place because you budgeted everything into savings, and that savings helped you to stretch, say, your grocery bill, then its still a great thing.

  3. Terri says:

    This is a terrific idea and just what I need right now to stay motivated. Thanks so much for sharing! : )

  4. Janis says:

    Wow, that’s a full time job, especially if you’re saving a lot!

  5. Joseph N. says:

    To me expenses and savings are like two sides of the same coin. One affects the other. The more you spend, the less you save. Tracking expenses is something that I definitely agree with.

    It is something that should be done all the time. Tracking savings is, as you imply Jennifer, something to track on a temporary basis for the motivation you may get.

    And yes, I also agree with Yo that savings is only real if you can actually put it into your bank account. Coupon savings doesn’t count. It’s only “paper” savings. It’s like a company paycheck. The gross amount you make is not what you take home. The amount you take home is your “disposable” income.

    I think a better way to “track savings” is to create a monthly family budget instead.

    At the beginning of the month, determine how much you have available for…say groceries. If you end up spending less because of coupons, or special sale, then at the end of the month you are “under budget”.

    If you budget a certain amount for other items like utilities, and clothing, but end up spending a little more, then at the end of the month you are “over budget”

    This will give you a more accurate picture of ALL funds coming in and going out. As you get better at “budgetting”, you will find a good balance. More importantly, a budget will help you to become more disciplined in your spending habits.

  6. Mick says:

    Some good advice. I agree with the first comment that the savings should go straight into a savings account and not elsewhere.

  7. GaelicWench/Jo says:

    Personally, tracking savings and spending go hand in hand. Tracking spending is a form of discipline so you don’t go over budget or know there are weaknesses.

    Tracking of one’s savings for a month, I find, is a motivator. That way, if there is something you are saving up for, this will be the impetus to use this method instead of putting it on the credit card; also, it will quicken your savings far more quickly.

    As for being time-consuming, I find it no more as such as tracking one’s expenses. Jusst have a notebook to do both; it won’t take more than a minute each time.

    Lastly, DO put those savings into an account with what you already have if you are trying to achieve a goal. The rewards for doing so will boost and motivate your encouragement to continue on for other goals.

  8. Gail says:

    Tracking savings on paper without putting it into a savings account, does have a purpose. When you are barely making ends meet to start with or are using a credit card to handle monthly bills, then tracking the savings is important as that is money that is going into paying your bills instead of being charged onto credit cards. It is a way of seein your cash stretch to meet your needs. But as you stretch month in and month out, you will gradually start having little bits for savings and then start putting it into an account. Basically if you bring in $2000 a month and your expenses are $2100, if you manage to ‘save’ $100 a month you don’t actually have any money to save but you have avoided increasing your debt. You break even. Of course once you get your monthly bills down to $1950 put that other $50 into savings.

  9. Cookie says:

    I absolutely love this blog – each article keeps me focused and helps me to stick with it. Great job! This was very motivational. I was doing this a little (mainly for major savings) but I will amp up my efforts.

    Thanks!

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