Tracking Spending

Once you've created a budget, the next step is figuring out whether you are sticking to it. Are you saving and spending the way you planned?

  • Use your checkbook register, credit card statements, and store receipts to calculate your non-cash spending.
  • Write down every penny of cash you spend.
  • Compare what you are actually spending and where you're spending it with what you had planned to spend.

If you're on target, you might have enough money left over to buy something from your 'wants' list.

If you're spending more than you planned, ask yourself what went wrong.

  • Were your estimates too low?
  • Are you not being as careful as you should be?

If you know the answer, you can modify your budget so you can stick to it in the future. If you're not sure, try to figure it out.
If you're careful about sticking to your budget, you have a better chance of having enough money left over at the end of the month to buy something from your list of wants.