Control Your Expenses
Alright let’s get it out of the way, yes the word we all hate, budget. If you want to control your expenses you
are going to have to create a budget.
But before you can do that you have to figure out what the heck you are spending your money on. To do that you
need to begin by tracking your spending, and yes every single penny.
You need to know where that money goes so you can figure out if that is where it should be going.
Once you can account for every penny, you need to write it down, use a spreadsheet if you can. Now look over the
whole list and take note of any expenses that are not absolutely necessary to survive.
For example, you have to make your mortgage payment or you lose your house, but you could live without the cable
or the three coffees a week. If you need the visual make a list with two columns, one for necessary expenses and
the other for unnecessary expenses. And no cheating here be realistic about what should go in each list.
Now that you know what you have to have and what you can live without, it is time to build the dreaded
Start with the major expenses that you can control:
General Expenses – This type of expense is what you might buy more on impulse, like a video
game, car wash, the more expensive oil change. This holds more of the unnecessary items like coffee, or dinner out
when you have perfectly good leftovers at home.
Food Expenses – Number one step here, stop going out to eat. This is a major sacrifice for most
of us, but if you want to control your expenses this is a must. Take your lunch to work, brew your own coffee at
home. You can save over $150.00 just by doing those two things.
Before you go grocery shopping write out a list, and stick to your list. It is so easy to buy something because
it looks good. And that rule about not going when you are hungry is so true, you will buy so much more than
necessary if you go shopping while hungry.
Clothing Expenses – Here again, decide what you are buying before you go shopping. If you only
need jeans and a sweater than that is all you should buy. Don’t buy three pairs of pants, two sweaters and
underwear. Get the two things on your list and get out.
Entertainment Expenses – We all like to have fun and no one is saying you shouldn’t have a good
time. You work hard for your money and you should reap some of the benefits, but you can reduce how much fun you
have. If you go out three times a month, drop one.
Gasoline Expenses – You really can’t avoid needing gas, but you can reduce how much you use.
Start by owning a car that gets good gas mileage. Next if there is any way you can car pool, start doing that.
By sticking to your budget you will be able to control your expenses, so get started now: track your spending,
look at what is necessary and what is not, reduce where you can, make lists of what you need before you shop, and
remember the sacrifice will be worth it in the long run.