Step 2: Track your spending. It’s helpful to keep track of and categorize your spending so you know where you can make adjustments. Doing so will help you identify what you are spending the most money on and where it might be easiest to cut back. Begin by listing all your fixed expenses. These are regular monthly bills such as rent or mortgage, utilities or car payments. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to cut back on these, but knowing how much of your monthly income they take up can be helpful.
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.