Tip _ Track you spending _ Tracking your spending for 30 days before creating a budget will give you the concrete numbers of how much you spend in each expense category every month. Many people are surprised to see how all the little purchases at up at the end of the month. By knowing how much you typically spend in each expense category you can now plan those expenses for the next month in your budget. _ Tip _ Plan for periodic expenses _ When creating a monthly budget that actually works you will need to plan ahead for periodic expenses such as car insurance (if not paid monthly), yearly car registration, gift giving, school shopping, and insurance deductibles just to name a few. If you estimate these expenses for the year and then divide by 12 you will get an amount that you can save each month for these expenses.
Just being aware of how much you are spending versus how much you are saving can have a huge impact on your financial picture. For example, there are numerous restaurants in cities all across the nation that have kids eat free specials. You can find a number of these online and you may also want to get into the habit of checking local restaurants to find out which ones offer specials. For those with children, this can mean the difference between getting to eat out and staying at home so it is definitely worth checking out.