Consider Your Current Spending: Does It Meet Your Needs and Desires?

For Day 24 of 31 Days to a Better Bank Balance, take the next step in creating a spending plan: evaluating your current spending.

If you created that list yesterday of the types of items that you buy and how much you’re spending on each category, this will be relatively simple. (If you didn’t make your list yet, there’s still time!)

First, add up your spending across all categories, including any amounts you’re using to pay off debts. If the total is less than you make, you’re doing well, but it’s still important to evaluate. If you’re spending more than you earn, don’t panic. Instead, look for places to cut as you do this next part. (Looking for ways to increase your income is also a good idea.)

Now, go through the list and see how you feel about your spending in each category.

  • Are there any amounts that surprise you, either by being way over or way under what you’d like?
  • Are there any categories that you are spending in but not really receiving value from?
  • Is there anything you’d like to be doing with your money that you aren’t yet doing?

Don’t judge — just see how you feel about your present spending and think about where you’d like to be in the future. If you have a spouse, ask them to answer these same questions.

Mark the areas you might like to change, and decide on and write down amount you’d like to see there instead.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow we’ll finish creating the plan and talk about implementing it.

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4 comments

  • This is such an important concept. Many times we set up a budget and will go through all of the mechanics, but we don’t stop to evaluate our spending in light of our goals and desires!

  • There is always stuff you can eliminate from your life in the way of spending.

    Always.

    Its just a matter of deciding that you want to, or deciding that spending your money on something else is more important.

    Its all about prioirites, baby!

    • And sometimes there are things you’d like to be spending on that you aren’t (such as retirement, college funds, a trip you’ve always dreamt of, etc.)