Thursday, January 6, 2011

Track your spending

I signed up for an email that will send me money saving tips throughout the next couple weeks and today I got the first one. The point was to: track your spending. Know how much you are spending, so you can figure out where you're over spending and to establish a reasonable, realistic budget. I've already been doing this fairly well with our cash budget, but there are a few areas that I've noticed we aren't spending the amount in our budget regularly, where some others seem to run out way too quickly. I thought maybe getting a more precise number would be helpful. I started with last month's grocery budget and realized I'd only spent $145 for the month! I'm already tracking this months and so far I'm on track for another great month! :)

Anyway, I'd like to do this with our personal budget as well, since that one seems to be hardest to predict. It's essentially a misc. category and I'm considering separating it into two new categories to make it easier to track and cut back on spending. I think I'll make a 'household' category which will include anything from toiletries to household repair items or decorations. The 'personal' would still exist, but it'll include things like haircuts, diapers, gifts and misc. items that don't fit any where else. After tracking this this month, I'll see if I still like that plan. ;)

The simplest way to track your spending is to keep your receipts for a month and at the end of the month categorize them and total your amounts. Then create your budget based on the numbers you've come up with and adjust them as needed.

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