Instead of a budget, I'm focusing on how to spend my next paycheck. I'll do that in 4 ways:
You could have a detailed budget for the next 12 months, but if you don't pay attention to what you're doing with the money in your account - right now - you will continue to struggle.
Focus on a plan for pay day, and then track your spending on a simple ledger. You can use a notebook, the back of an envelope, a spreadsheet, or an app.
Give each purchase a bucket or category to make comparing to your plan easy. Simple categories are best:
This is the amount you will transfer to your savings or brokerage account on pay day.
The more simple a process, the more likely you are to continue doing it. By focusing on today, we don't kick the savings can down the road. We buckle down and do it now.
A simple plan of how to spend the next paycheck is best. Which bills need to be paid? How much do I need to spend on groceries and other household goods? How much do I want to spend on clothing, entertainment, and treating myself? How much do I want to save?
By keeping a simple ledger of your bill payments and purchases during each pay period, you can stay focused on what you're spending, and easily compare it to your initial plan.
Compare your spending in each category to your plan. Did you save as much as you wanted to? What is one or two purchases that blew your budget for the pay period? What will you do better next pay day?
By following the same pattern every payday, you will train yourself to spend better, save more, and succeed in growing your net worth.
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