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.
Write down what you spent last month. Use Categories like mortgage, food, entertainment, clothing, transportation and savings. Savings is an important category. Is there something you should be spending your money on that you didn't last month, but that you think you should. Already the process begins to uncover things you want to know Write down what you expect to earn next month. If you are on a variable income, it might be helpful to put this in three columns: The minimum you expect, an average of what to expect, and the highest amount you expect to earn. Don't count on the highest number, but it is a great goal setting exercise to strive for that high number on a monthly basis. Write down what you KNOW you will spend next month. Fixed expenses like mortgages, property taxes are known amounts. They are constant every month and don't change. While you can change your rent or mortgage amounts by moving, it is unlikely that you will do this next month. So consider these Fixed expenses.