Beginner budgeting can be a challenge and knowing where to start is often the hardest part. When deciding how to manage your money, it can feel a bit intimidating and even limiting, but there is hope for you! Once you know your spending habits, you can make specific financial goals and work toward them, allowing you to say, “yes” to more of what you love.
Something that helped me when I was beginning to be intentional with money was to record all my spending in a month. This helped me to see clearly where my money was going each month. You can do this in a variety of ways, but the important thing here is to do something you can commit to. Some methods to record your spending include a journal, a virtual spreadsheet, a budgeting app like Mint, and more!
Separate your needs from your wants. A need is something that you have to have to survive and a want is something you can do without. I challenge you in this step to really think about whether or not you have to have something.
Find the margin. Once you have separated your spending into wants and needs, you will be able to see the excess spending in your budget. Maybe you ate out more than you expected. Maybe you spent more on subscriptions or leisure than anticipated. This is your chance to take control of your spending and make a change. Finding the places in your budget that you can spend less will create margin, giving you the control and flexibility to be intentional in doing more of what matters most.
Create SMART goals for your finances. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Once you’ve done your research with your personal finance audit, you’re in a great place to adjust your spending to reflect what is most important to you. I encourage you to think of your top two or three wants, prioritize those and to deprioritize the others. This will allow you to intentionally spend your money without losing track of it on less important items.