Next list all your variable expenses_those that may change from month to month such as groceries, gas and entertainment. This is an area where you might find opportunities to cut back. Credit card and bank statements are a good place to start since they often itemize or categorize your monthly expenditures. Tip: Record your daily spending with anything that’s handy_a pen and paper, an app or your smartphone.
Of course, now you must differentiate between which expenses are "needs" and which are "wants." Basically, any payment that you can forgo with only minor inconveniences such as your cable bill or back_to_school clothing is a want. Any payment that would severely impact your quality of life, such as electricity and prescription medicines, is a need.