As other bloggers have mentioned, USA Today is currently doing a six-week series on how to go on a “Financial Diet“. Nothing ground-breaking, but it’s a pretty good read with stories from real-life families and tips on how to reduce debt and save more. Last week (Week 2), the focus was How to Make (and stick to) a Budget, which is exactly what I’m trying to do right now.
The first step is pretty obvious, you have either take out all your receipts for the last month or write down everything you buy for a month. This is why, since I have no credit card debt not at 0% APR, I like to charge everything I can. Not only do I get cash back, I can keep track of spending down to the penny. Once you complete the tally, you can see if you can see where your money disappears to every months.
According to article, here are common areas that can get out of control, and should be scrutinized:
Communications (Phone, cell phone, text msging, etc.)
Television (Cable, Satellite, HD)
Computers (Accessories, Internet Access)
Home Upkeep (Maid, Lawn, Pool)
Insurance (Car, Home, Life)
Children (books, classes, clothes)
Pets (boarding, cleaning, health)
They even offer an Excel spreadsheet where you can enter values for many specific categories and see the totals. Now to fill it out…