Previously I encouraged you to keep a daily running record of your expenses. This not only helps you to identify which areas you spend the most money, but it also helps you to keep track of how much money you currently posses. Both of these factors are imperative to developing and maintaining a budget. In order to have an effective budget, one must commit to the guidelines set for them. Being aware of how much money you spend will help to ensure you know where you stand within your budget.
When you track your expenses you will begin to see trends in your spending. At the end of the month instead of asking yourself 'where did all my money go,' you can refer back to your track record and determine your budget for the next month. Another reward, you will be able to determine if you've spent too much money in a specific category. For example, if your budget states you can spend $25 a week on recreational activities and you've spent $15 Monday night on a manicure, then for the remainder of the week you have $10 to spend on recreational activities. However, you may be invited to dinner and a movie and forget your coupons, and end up spending more than your budget allowed. It happens!
*Don't try to take money from another category as that would be defeating the point of a budget. If you are able to take money from another pot, then that's money that could go toward savings and not spending*
In which category do you spend the most money per month?
At the end of the day, it's a matter of being more organized and consistent. No one is willing to hand out money for free, every penny is earned. Likewise, no one turns down free money, every penny is accepted! Think about the money you spend before you plan to spend it. Review your budget and ensure you have funds in that specific category to put out and remember to ask yourself 'is this purchase a necessity or do I just want it?'