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How to Assess Your Spending Habits

Confronting your essential and non-essential spending is just as important as facing the numbers on your debt.


January 8, 2022

If not keeping your purchases in check is what got you into credit card debt, then part of your financial wellness journey will require you to adjust your spending habits. Otherwise, you risk undermining your debt payoff efforts. 

Print out the receipts 

Comb through all your spending for the last 12 months. We recommend a full year to make sure you account for any annual subscriptions. Start by printing out all your monthly credit card and bank account statements. It’s easy to miss things if you’re just scanning from your phone or computer.

Categorize each expense

Now, take a hard look at where your money went. Sort all of your expenses into two lists: essential and non-essential. Essentials are anything that fulfills a basic need, such as housing, food, utilities or medical care. Everything should likely be considered non-essential. Next to each expense, note if it is a recurring or one-time expense.

If you’d like to use a worksheet to help you with this exercise, we’ve put together something you can print out or replicate on a spreadsheet.


Consider the value-add of each expense

Use a highlighter to flag anything on your credit card or bank account statement that you wish you’d done differently. For example, was there a product or service that you bought but never used? Was there anything that could have been purchased later or canceled sooner? Were there any subscriptions that you purchased but forgot about? 

Take note of these insights for now. They’ll come into play in the coming days as you rebuild your budget, identify ways to cut costs and share tips on how to control spending habits.

Get started with our worksheet

Click here to download the PDF to help you assess your spending habits.

How to join our 31-day #FaceTheNumbers challenge

We’ll be posting each day’s activity on Instagram, Facebook and at Follow along to learn how you can #TallyItUp and make 2022 the year you get out of credit card debt for good

We hope you’ll join us and start the new year with the Tally crew!