Do you find yourself wondering where the money went? Do feel confused that all your hard-earned money is gone? Not only is it gone, you didn't have enough to get through the month.
Let's see if we can find the "holes in your bucket" - okay? When you find the holes, you can begin to create a successful budget that works.
You may have to do some detective work to find out, and begin to plug the holes. Getting a handle on your finances will require you to get everything accounted for and then you'll be able to move forward toward your financial goals.
- Add up all income. The first thing you need to do is to calculate all sources of income coming into the household. Make a list of income sources, and amounts for the past 30 days. This will give you a picture of how much money is coming in - this is the first step to determining how much money flows out.
- List and add up your expenses. Make a list of all of your regular monthly expenses; such as house payments or rent, car payments, credit card payments (balances), gas, groceries, utilities, cable, internet, and others that come to mind. There are the fixed expenses and variable expenses - we sometimes forget about all the variables.
- Begin to track every penny. As you spend throughout the month - track every cent you spend. Write down a beginning balance and then every dollar in and out. This will be the the key to finding the "holes" in your financial bucket.
- Interpret the results. Compare how much money you're bringing in to how much money is going out. Can you see if you're spending beyond your means? Are you allocating money for savings, investments, and retirements? Are you using credit cards to get you through the month or just to buy "what you want, when you want?"
- When you see the money drains, make a list of those expenses. Such as spending $5.00 on an iced latte Monday through Friday. Are you eating out more often than you thought you were? During the day, are you eating from vending machines or fast-food joints at lunch versus bringing your lunch?
Put this information in play. You are now armed with your written guide for income and expenses. You can now control your finances more effectively. Once this information is laid out, it will allow you to fine tune your finances little by little until you've begun to save money; ending the month with money. A few dollars each month in the different areas can definitely add up.
Once you are aware of how much money you have coming in and going out, you can take charge and begin to direct the monies towards what's really important to you. Trim down your expenses or find ways to increase your income so that you're not spending beyond your means.
Your financial future will shine much brighter when you enable yourself to prepare for the future you desire.