A good way not only to inventory your spending but also to add a bit of tediousness to your shopping is to make a daily list of every dollar spent. Keep a notebook handy to record the spending, and make yourself enter the spending into a larger receipt book at night. A day without spending would be an anxious retreat from this chore as well as a healthy banking day.
List the morning coffee, the gas, the lunch, and every item purchased at the department store that day. Then, in the evening, transpose these totals to a larger receipt book. Keep one page for essential payments that fluctuate like groceries, gas, and doctor's visits. Then, keep another page for all the other spending, the non-essentials.
Tally weekly spending and compare it to the weekly paycheck. Are you spending half of your paycheck a week on random items? Cut through the unessential list of spending with a machete and raise your spending. Eventually, tallying will become a habit, and you'll inventory your spending list in our head before each purchase. That's the goal of the list.
Periodically, evaluate the essential but flexible list. You're stuck with the doctor's visits, but would a FSA benefit your family? Could you cut back on the grocery costs each week?
Remember, while most people look for ways to make more money, the easier option is to find ways to spend less. Create a new financial motto: spend smarter, don't work harder.
About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines and has written a history book for middle readers. Visit her website for writing help, lesson plans, history fun, or work for hire at http://www.kellybutterbaugh.com
Creating a Budget
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