So here it is short and sweet. I like to budget but a budget is just a plan of what you’re going to do with your money. An important part of keeping track of your finances is to review at the end of the budget period (for me it’s a month) and see where all your money went.
When you create a budget, break it down into a few major categories. If you’d like to have sub-categories that is fine but the categories should be very general. Mine are:
1. Savings (this includes emergency fund savings, vacation savings, school savings, etc.)
2. Debts (this includes what I put on my Visa card that month and paid off in full, student loans, etc.)
3. Transportation (includes gas, oil, auto insurance, auto repairs, etc.)
4. Housing (includes things I buy for my house, rent, all utilities renter’s insurance, etc.)
5. Life (includes everything else: food, entertainment, phone bill, cable bill, etc.)
So this month (my ‘budget months’ run from the middle of a month to the middle of the next) I tracked my spending through my online banking website and broke it down into categories. Here is the breakdown (as seen on the graph) of how I spent my money:
There are definitely a few items when I went and looked back I should not have spent my money on. Most of it was some unneeded eating out that I am going to purposefully cut back on this next month.
Ultimately, at the rate of income I’m currently at, I’d like this to be the breakdown…
Since I’m moving soon my expenses are a little strange so this next month more will be under Housing than Life so I can get settled well.
Do you or have you ever tracked your spending? Do you find yourself consistently meeting your goals? How do you stay on track?