Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Dear diary

When you don’t keep an account of your expenses it can be very easy to lose track of what you’re spending, and go overboard. Keeping a running total of everything you’ve bought, and the price, can be tricky, but it is a great step in making sure you don’t waste any money – whether on items you’ve already got or things that you don’t need.

And that’s where your spending diary comes in. Basically speaking, a spending diary is a list of your expenditure over a period of time, whether that’s one week or one month. Even if you’re not in debt or actively trying to save money, keeping a spending diary for a few days at a time can be a great way of showing you exactly how much money is flowing through your hands, and on what.

Firstly – remember to always ask for a receipt, and keep it in a safe place. Nothing is too small, keep track of everything you buy including your lunch, newspapers, snacks or that sneaky crème egg nobody else knows about.

Then, at the end of the period, sort each of your purchases by type and tot up the figures to show your total spend each week, where you’re spending the most, and where you can make cuts. For example, a coffee for €2.50 every day mightn’t seem like much, but it adds up to €75 each month – with that you could tax the car for another three months or spend a much-needed night away at a hotel.

To get you started there are plenty of useful templates online, from organisations like the Money Advice and Budgeting Service or It might seem pointless or insignificant, but journeys have to start with a first step. Good luck!

When not writing about all things personal finance, You & Your Money's editor Conor Forrest enjoys reading, football and getting lost in an ocean of Wikipedia articles.