San Diego, CA (PressExposure) February 06, 2009 -- Do you ever wonder where all of your money is going each month? Have you added your monthly income and compared it to your fixed monthly expenses and noticed a gap of money left over? But at the end of the month, thereâs nothing left in your wallet? If so, then you are not alone. Most Americans donât have a good control of their finances and donât take the time to pay attention to ALL of their monthly expenses.
Now, sure, most of us can easily add up our fixed expenses such as rent, car payment, insurance and utilities. And most of us can make a good guess on how much we spend each month on gas and maybe how much we spend at the grocery store. But do you have an idea on how much you spend eating out (work lunches or dinner)? What about your hobbies (i.e. golfing, scrap booking, movies, etc.)? What about your vices such as alcohol, tobacco, or gambling? There are many little forgotten expenses that can make a significant dent to our budget.
Most experts give the same initial advice to anybody who is having budgeting difficulties â Keep a Daily Journal of ALL Your Monthly Expenses! After all, what other advice can you give to someone who doesnât know where their money is going? And yes, it doesnât sound too fun to update your journal every time you buy a 75 cent soda from the vending machine at work, but the main concept behind this exercise is promoting awareness â knowing where your money is going. And self-awareness will lead to self motivation. Imagine that you discover at the end of the month that you spent a total of $80 just to get your favorite cup of coffee every day. Wouldnât that motivate you to cut back on that expense? Wouldnât that bury your inner demon that keeps saying âItâs only $3 for a cup of coffeeâ?
Since most successful businesses keep track of every expense and income on a monthly basis, then why donât you? Donât you want to be financially successful as well? Budgeting is not a glamorous chore and most Americans cringe when they hear the word âbudgetâ, but most of us would love to have more money left over at the end of each month. So why not give it a try?
When you get started with this journal, it is very important to assign each expense a category (i.e. Transportation, Housing, Food & Groceries, etc.). Also, youâll need to get receipts or make notes immediately after each purchase or expense. It is highly recommended to update your journal on a daily basis otherwise, you may forget some expenses. And finally, remember to list all expenses regardless the price â the little things can easily add up.
If you are interested in keeping a journal with all of your monthly expenses, go to http://www.debtwave.com/our_program/budget_spending.php to download an excel spreadsheet at no cost that will easily allow you to document your expenses. The spreadsheet will also calculate your Net Worth for you.