Knowing your budget

The first thing you have to realize is that cash withdrawals are killing you not the prescriptions. But I do agree if you can get things cheaper through a work plan it’s a great way to go.

You have to track where that ATM money goes; you have a large portion of your income going for entertainment, over $250 a month … that’s over 13% of your monthly income … keep in mind that includes those cash withdrawals you can’t account for spending 😉 as well as eating out, gifts, Curves, Fun and Internet expenses.

The Money Management budgeting spreadsheet can be downloaded from the “Files” section…

When you first start keeping good track of spending habits (which is essential to setting a budget you can live with) it can be a pain, but soon becomes a habit you will do automatically. I keep receipts for everything and a small notepad in my purse to jot down things I don’t get a receipt for (rare but it still happens). I can balance to the dollar (I do round up the change on cash spending) each day in just a matter of minutes in my spreadsheet.

Some of your categories are too defined; I would keep all Auto related expenditures in one category for instance instead of having several unless you need them defined later for income tax purposes. Your “credit cards” category; is that debt repayment? Or things you charged? If it is things you charged you need to add that to the appropriate category for those items… for instance, clothes, gas, etc. If it is debt repayment; are you tracking your credit card expenditures as well as cash expenditures? If not, you should otherwise you don’t know how much you are spending beyond your income each month.

The first thing you need to understand is exactly where all your money is going … not to the penny but close 😉 Based on your monthly income of $1,886, you should know where at least $1,850 is going each and every month.

Once you know where the money is going; you can take the necessary steps to reduce the waste and get the debt under control.