Welcome back and, wow, was seeing your spending all laid out in black and white as overwhelming for you as it was for me? It took me a few hours to really think about, gather, and outline all those types of expenses. Thanks @TheresaS for sharing your approach to budgeting in the comments!
I hope you’re still with us; we’re just getting to the good stuff, aka where the rubber hits the road aka where we find out if we’re in the black or in the red. No matter where we land, Stacey is here to help us course-correct.
Nice work on the calculations everyone, I know it’s a big commitment; of both time and mental power. Now we can move forward with figuring out exactly where you’re at on your B-word-Budget journey.
Figure Out The Difference
Now that you’ve totaled your income and all of your expenses and debt, subtract the expense total from the income total; Easy as that.
If you have a positive total, congratulations! You are on the right track to a successful budget. You may want to apply the surplus towards outstanding debt or put it in your savings account each month. Nice work!
But if you are like most of us, you may have a negative total which means you have more work to do. But fear not, there’s more to consider.
Now it’s time to go back through your list of expenses and decide where you can cut back. Go through every one of your monthly and periodic expenses to see what changes you can make.
Ask yourself if each item is a want or a need. Do you really have to have premium cable channels to survive or can you get by with basic cable? Remember when we set our goals in step one? Visualize it! Keep reminding yourself that making these cutbacks will help you reach your goals faster. I'm here if you'd like some additional tips as you reevaluate.
Uh, did someone say cutbacks? This part sounds painful, yet very necessary. Like I mentioned before, seeing my spending all laid out was pretty overwhelming, but I can most definitely see immediate room for improvement. I didn't realize how quickly the "little" things like coffee or lunch really add up.
Keep the conversation going and share which expenses you’ve decided to cut (if any!), and how you made the decision. I know for me, I’m going to suggest eating out less, although my fiancé will probably suggest that I order from Amazon less often or buy fewer shoes, first. Hey, we gotta start somewhere. Cheers, KristinA