I’m curious how many of you are using a budget? Like, you made it and actually STICK to it (for the most part) month to month? Or are you just living paycheck to paycheck and hoping that one of those lottery tickets is finally going to make you a millionaire?
If you are like most people, you may have meant to make a budget, but are worried about what you will see. Or you made one that one time, but you can’t follow it, because, well, Target and Chipotle and HomeGoods and (insert your other frivolous spending faves here).
I’m not going to ask you to start a strict budget right this second, but maybe you can take baby steps starting today. Find a way to track where EVERY SINGLE PENNY of your money is going. You should really try to do this for at least 30-60 days. Don’t do anything differently than what you usually do, besides tracking it. This should also be easy if you use your debit card or credit card, because they track your spending for you. Most of them will even break it down further into categories for you so you don’t have to (some common categories are: rent/mortgage, utilities, eating out, gas, groceries, car payment, insurance, student loan, credit card, etc). If you pay cash, then keep a pile of your receipts or go old school and grab a notebook and pen and write that s*&% down.
I remember when I first started my budget about 10 years ago. I found in my 30 days of spending tracking that my husband and I had spent something ridiculous like $400 eating out that month for two people. What?! That was like a car payment, except we were just eating the money, and then, well, you know what happens when you eat.
So just start here and trust me on this one and don’t try and cheat. If you already have your budget, spend the next 30-60 days reviewing and seeing what areas, if any, could use some improvement. I guarantee that you won’t regret it, and you will need this part of budgeting down before you can move on to the next one.