Lastly, if the numbers still aren’t adding up, you can look at adjusting your fixed expenses. Doing so will be much more difficult and require greater discipline, but on close inspection a "need" may just be a “hard to part with.” Such decisions come with big trade_offs, so make sure you carefully weigh your options. Tip: Small savings can add up to a lot of money, so don’t overlook the little stuff. You might be surprised at how much extra money you accumulate by making one minor adjustment at a time.
You will first complete the "Monthy Budget Amount" column to the best of your ability for the next month. These should be your best, informed estimates. Should a certain category not apply to you, you can simply leave it blank or enter a zero Ɔ' in the box. Over the course of the month, track your income and spending. At the end of the month, complete the "Monthly Actual Amount" column and compare it to your original estimates. Did you overestimate how much you'd spend on clothing, but underestimate the amount you'd spend eating out? Record the difference. Though you do not need to go through this exercise every month, it is extremely helpful at the start as it helps you to develop the most accurate monthly budget to reference moving forward.