Credit and debit cards can lure you into spending frenzy that can spiral out of control before you know it. Have you ever come to the end of the month and asked, "Where did all the money go?" The convenience of plastic has made it far too easy to make purchases that we might not make if we had to dip into our wallet and make a cash purchase. _ Studies have shown that spending increases as the means to pay for an item becomes easier. In other words credit cards have made buying transactions easier, so we're more likely to buy stuff without concern, until the bill comes at the end of the month! Likewise, new 'pay with a wave' credit cards will make it easier still and foster even more poor spending habits.
Include all variable expenses now, car maintenance, electricity, heating, these can vary throughout the year you need to calculate them and come up with an average monthly amount. None essential expenses like eating out coffee at Starbucks, weekend getaways, extravagant vacations, fancy clothing, motorcycles, ATV's, if you use them, write them down, realize these are wants, not needs. Now total these all up, fixed expenses, variable expenses, and non_essential expenses,there you now have your total expenses.