How to: Keep Track of Your Expenses When Traveling

The problem with using mostly cash is that you can burn through it quickly without realizing it.

What really helped me with budgeting was keeping a detailed log of everything I paid for. Whenever I didn’t have access to my computer, I kept a log in a “note” on my iPhone recording the amount.

Then I would copy this info to an Excel spreadsheet with the following columns:

  • Date
  • Description of item
  • Amount spent
  • Miscellaneous notes¬†(if it was paid by cash or card, if someone owes me this amount, etc.)
  • Total¬†(calculated weekly and monthly)

Wondering where those 200 euros you just withdrew went? Well, check your log! By doing this, I was able to see exactly what I was spending my money on and I always knew how much cash I had left.

Creating the log:

Formatting cells


  1. Highlight the “Date” column and right-click >> Format Cells.
  2. Click on Date option under category. Choose the format you prefer.
  3. Click OK to save.


  1. Highlight the “Amount spent” column and right-click >> Format Cells.
  2. Click on the Currency option under category. Select your currency.
  3. Click OK to save.
  4. Once this is formatted correctly, you only need to insert the amount (ie: 10.45) and the currency symbol will appear.

If you have to keep track of the value of purchases you are bringing home (usually one of the customs policies), you can highlight the cell to distinguish it. Click on the corresponding cell in the “Amount Spent” column and then click on the bucket icon (underneath your font and color) to fill in the cell.


  • Inserting the current date: Ctrl + ; (semi-colon)
  • Calculating total of multiple cells: click on desired cell to enter data and type ” =SUM( ” (without quotes). Then hold the Ctrl key and click on the cell(s) you want to calculate the total of. They should be highlighted with a blinking border. Hit “Enter” and the sum will appear in the original cell you were typing in.


Budget log

Click for larger image.
Circle: bucket fill tool
Arrow points at “Date”
Current screen shows selecting desired currency for highlighted column

I hope this helps you as much as it helped me!



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