There are two types of spending: essential and discretionary. Your essentials are costs you can't avoid, like food and shelter. Your weekly happy hour fix? Sorry, that's purely discretionary.
To keep track of your money, you need to get a handle on where it's going in the first place. Here's how:
- Record each and every penny, nickel and dime of your daily output for the entire month. Even parking meters. If tracking for a month sounds like a huge task, start out with a week and go from there.
- Categorize what you spend into essentials and discretionaries.
- Commit to shaving off at least $2 a day from your overall spending next month.
- Repeat each and every month until...
At the end of the year, you'll end up with at least $730 in cumulative savings, which you can contribute towards paying down debt, surrender to the wonder of compound interest or set aside for the goals that really get you out of bed, no caffeine necessary.
Once you get in the tracking habit, you'll be amazed at how many opportunities you'll find to save money, reduce debt and achieve your financial goals. Still not convinced? Check out all our tips to Feed the Pig and save big.