How I keep track of my (actual) monthly spending

When I ask people if they know how much they spend on a monthly basis, they usually start adding up things like groceries, rent, utilities, phone bills, etc. Those are the obvious costs.

It’s important to know how much you spend in one month, so you know how much you need to make in a month. The only way to save up money is to make more then you spend ;-)

But people usually don’t take into account the less obvious costs they make in a year (like insurance, travels or shopping). Which is very dangerous because those are also costs that need to be paid for by your monthly wages.

In order to get a good overview of what I actually need to make in a month, I made a spreadsheet of all my yearly expenses and divided them by 12. I can tell you, the difference with what I thought I needed and actually need is staggering.

I thought I’d make a list here of all the categories I track so you can do the same. I’ll also add a handy Excel spreadsheet at the bottom of this post so you can just fill it out for yourself.

Quick note: I don’t use this as an Excel sheet where I put in all my expenses of every day of every month … I simply fill in the categories with a good estimation of those costs. And for a whole year, whenever I received a bill of some miscellaneous insurance or tax I had forgotten, I simply added it to the sheet. Because there are always expenses you only think of only when you get the bill …

Expenses to take into account

Home expenses

  • Rent or loan payments
  • Insurance (home, fire, etc.)
  • Taxes (depends on your country and state of course)
  • Maintenance (yearly maintenance of things like heating, ventilation, drain pipes, etc.)
  • Garbage collection
  • Utilities (electricity, gas, water)
  • Internet connection
  • Food & groceries
  • Cleaning services


  • Car/bike purchase (think about how many years you will use it and bring that cost to a yearly expense)
  • Maintenance of car/bike
  • Gasoline
  • Taxes
  • Insurance

Additional insurance

  • Health & hospital
  • Civil liability

Various expenses

  • Mobile phone bill
  • Bank account costs
  • Medical expenses (think of how often you visit the doctor or hospital in a year, or even things like cough medicine)
  • Charity donations

Fun expenses

  • Shopping (clothes, shoes, sports gear)
  • Travels (make an estimation of how much you spend in one year)
  • Going out for drinks/dinners
  • Entertainment (a concert, performance, etc.)
  • Cable TV/Netflix/Prime
  • Spotify
  • Gym & exercise (memberships, equipment, etc.)


  • Normal savings (how much do you want to put aside for the future?)
  • Emergency savings (never hurts to have an emergency fund for something unexpected)
  • Extra (do you (want to) invest in the stock exchange, etc.)

Is something missing from the list? Let me know in the comments and I can add it.

How I keep track of my (actual) monthly spending - featured, entrepreneurship-finance - track, spreadsheet, personal finance, monthly spending, free downloadWant to make your own monthly finance overview?

You can use my spreadsheet and just fill it out for yourself. Click the link to have a look and either add it to your own Google Drive or download a version to your computer.

Go to Google spreadsheet