Step 3: Set your goals. Before you start sifting through the information you’ve tracked, make a list of all the financial goals you want to accomplish in the short_ and long_term. Short_term goals should take no longer than a year to achieve. Long_term goals, such as saving for retirement or your child’s education, may take years to reach. Remember, your goals don’t have to be set in stone, but identifying your priorities before you start planning a budget will help. For example, it may be easier to cut spending if you know your short_term goal is to reduce credit card debt.
Learn to Reduce Spending. Developing your budget will help you spot areas where you're spending more than you realized. But the next step is more difficult: cutting your spending on unnecessary items. This will require some soul_searching on items both large and small. For example, do you really need a ŭ coffee every morning? (Some will say yes, while for others the answer is no.) Could you make do with a smaller, older car? Instead of an expensive vacation this summer, could you try a "stay_cation," where you stay home (much cheaper) and relax there? All these choices are very personal and many factors come into play, so there's no right answer for most of them. But laying them out will help you prioritize your spending, and that will help you spot places where you can save money.