A Step by Step Guide to Managing Money and Creating a Budget

By: Roland Jefferson

It is not as complicated as it sounds nor is it as dreadful. I know the thoughts are running through your head right now of not being able to have fun or having the enjoyment of purchasing clothes, eating out, or participating in exciting activities. However, this couldn't be farther from the truth. Establishing a budget not only allows you to see what you are spending your hard earned money on, but it also allows you to set aside money each month so that you can enjoy your leisure activities.

What Are You Spending Money On?

It is necessary to write down your spending habits for at least one month. Consistently recording your purchases and bill payments will allow you to see exactly how much money you spend on various expenditures. Daily, jot down how much you spent on food, gas, books, etc... Carry a binder or notebook with you so you can conveniently jot down the amount spent before you forget. Keeping a log will dramatically open your eyes to the amount of money you are spending on a daily basis and will allow you to adjust your budget accordingly.

Create Categories

Create a list of categories that you can organize your expenditures in. For example, you decided to eat lunch at Panera Bread and you spent $10.00. Create a Restaurant category and place this amount under that particular category. Not only will you be able to track your expenses, but you will be able to quickly see where you are spending the most of your money. You may also use a computer finance software program to keep track of your expenditures, whichever works best for you. Write down as many categories as you can think of. You may have 10 categories or you may have over 20, it all depends on your lifestyle.

See Your Results

At the end of the month, tally the results of your log. Pay attention to where you have spent the most money and where you spend the least. Having kept this log should dramatically open your eyes to see exactly where your money has been going during a month's time. You may be shocked to see that you spent $15 in late charges for overdue books at the library or you noticed that you spend a large amount on fast food. Take some time and sit down and look at ways you can cut back in certain categories or eliminate all together.

Money Management
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