Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Where Does All the Money Go?

If you are serious about reducing spending, you must know where your money is going!
Most of us know how much we spend on rent/mortgage, electricity, phone, etc.
This post is a plan of action to find out how you spent the $40 you pulled out of the ATM machine. (It doesn't really disappear - we spend it somewhere). If you are not already budgeting, join me as I track our family's daily expenses on the front of my refrigerator!

There is no time like the present. Tomorrow is the first of the month. Begin tracking your April expenses tomorrow!

All you need to get started is a blank calendar. If you don't have an extra calendar page, you can print one for free on a number of online sites. Tape it to the refrigerator. When you come in from the store, the gas station, a date, etc., write down what you spent and where you spent it. Make sure your significant other is recording his/her purchases or ask them to bring home receipts so you can record them yourself. It doesn't have to look pretty, it must be functional! (Don't forget to record your online shopping.)
Some time between April 1 and April 30th get a blank notebook to record your monthly expenses. Keep it in the kitchen close to your calendar. At the end of the month record your spending in this notebook under budget headings such as groceries, entertainment, education, gas, household, clothing, etc. When you know where it is going you can figure out where to cut back. You can also set yourself a realistic budget in each category.
Easy peasy!