Lesson 3

Track your expenses

Your daily spending can be:

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My spending is planned
My spending tends to be enjoyable
I tend to under-spend
The following are benefits of being proactive with daily spending.
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Shielded from costly consumer debt.
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Express daily gratitude for your daily bread from God.
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Remind myself that I am a steward of God's money.
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Restful with a little spending margin.
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Become Proactive

(1) Choose system

Determine which tracking system works for you.

(2) Find time

Find a time to import and categorize expenses: 3 minutes a day or 15 minutes a week.

(3) Savor

Use the time to savor God’s goodness and express gratitude for His daily bread.

(4) Consider small adjustments

Small changes add up over time.

Track boundary Video

Tracking Money Services

  • Free for a year as a student ($7 a month after that).
  • Highly recommended. I personally have saved hundreds of dollars from this service.
  • $7 a month.
  • Great digital envelope (bucket) system. Very similar to YNAB.
  • Free.
  • Good service, but missing bucket system.
    *bucket system will be discussed next lesson
  • Free for manual tracking, but subscription for automatic importing of transactions.
  • Good service, but missing bucket system. *
    * bucket system will be discussed in next lesson
  • Free and highly customizable.
  • Labor intense.

Savor and Express Gratitude while you Track Expenses

Complete Activity on PDF Worksheet

Prepare Heart

Before you start tracking and categorizing your expenses, pray the following liturgy out of Every Moment Holy:

O God who does provide all things necessary for our lives, be present with us now
For there is little in this life that will so starkly reveal our insecurities and our struggle to trust your tender care
As will the state of our hearts when we consider
The state of our finances –
When we are anxious about money, O Lord,
We can slip so easily into the downward spiral of believing that simply having more of it would guarantee our security.
As if our security could ever rest anywhere outside of you, O God.
So guard our hearts against that lie.
Let us learn to view money and all material things as an arena in which to learn and practice a more faithful stewardship,
And as a means by which to invest in things eternal – But never as ends in themselves.

Month-to-month you are teaching us –
In this paying of bills – the slow vocation of trust.
Do not abandon us to our anxieties over finances, O Lord,
But use those worries to turn our hearts and thoughts to you – then teach us both a greater contentment and a greater confidence in your constant care.
from “A Liturgy for the Paying of the Bills”
Every Moment Holy (Rabbit Room Press)
by Douglas Kaine McKelvey
Used with permission

Track Expenses with YNAB

1) If you are a student, email to get a free 1-year subscription.

2) Watch the YNAB tutorial

3) Your spending is likely out of the following 3 types of accounts.

  • Cash given to you that stays out of the bank.
  • Checking account.
  • Credit card.

          Make sure and ‘add an account’ in YNAB for any of these accounts you use.

4) I recommend making every account an unlinked account. However, if it’s too cumbersome, feel free to link your account.

5) Begin a habit of manually inputting and categorizing your daily transactions for 2-3 minutes a day. You do this by going to your bank and credit card company’s website (or app) and logging in to see your latest transactions. Make sure and set up a 2-factor identification to make your account more secure. If you do this weekly, it should take about 15-20 minutes a week.


Treat the daily habit of categorizing expenses in a tracking software like a spiritual discipline, since you want to take seriously your role as manager of God’s money and also put yourself in a position to be generous through avoiding future debt.

As you see God’s hand in every income and expense that you categorize, savor God’s goodness and care for you.


The best part of using YNAB or MoneyWise (versus other services) will become apparent in the next lesson when we start using the “bucket system,” which is made possible through the ‘Budget’ feature of YNAB or 'Envelopes' feature of MoneyWise.

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