If you are like most people, you routinely get a paycheck, pay your bills, go through life for a few weeks, and at the end of the month, look at your bank account and wonder where the money went.
You are not alone. Except for some large recurring expenses, such as rent or a car payment, most people can’t really account for where most of their money is spent during the month.
Tracking your expenses and starting a budget can be a powerful tool to help you save more money. This is the first step to a healthy financial plan. When you pay more attention to where your money is going, you can make more informed choices on how you want to spend your money. We all feel better using GPS when driving, regardless of what App we use. A financial plan is much the same, a road map to help you get from where you are to where you want to go. Budgeting can be a tool to help you get there.
Budgeting is easier than ever due to the many budgeting apps available. Or, you can use a simple spreadsheet to track your income, and your expenses. Tracking items for a few months will help you identify areas where you might be over spending. Once you have that knowledge, making any necessary changes becomes easier. When designing a budget, remember to “pay yourself first”. After listing your monthly bills, include in your budget an amount to put aside in savings. If you list an amount to save, similar to a bill, you won’t over spend and have nothing left at the end of the month to save.
Whatever system you use to budget, it just has to work for you. Don’t worry if your budget is simple or doesn’t capture every item you spend your money on. Budgets tend to evolve over time as you become more knowledgeable of your spending habits. The most important feature of a budget it that it keeps you mindful of your spending and your goals.