First, track your spending and expenses for the next 30 days. You can begin by recording all your purchases on a weekly expense report worksheet that you fill out each day. Save your receipts from each purchase and then record a description of the purchase, the amount, its category, and how you made the purchase; whether by cash, check, or credit card.
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.