If you are having a difficult time sticking to your budget it might be time to try money journaling. Similar to keeping a food journal it can help you see where your money is really going.
How To Money Journal
First things first, you just start writing down every single purchase you make each day. From your morning coffee to filling up your gas tank, lunch with colleagues, music downloads, and more. Do more than just write down the amount spent but what you purchased. The exception can be grocery shopping which can be one grand total, but separate non-essential expenses—like wine, impulse purchases, non-food products, and skincare and beauty products. For the sake of journaling, you can exclude set expenses such as rent and utilities. This will help you see how much you spend each day, and where your money is going.
Categorize Your Spending
At the end of each day, add up the total amount spent in each budget category. Categories should include:
- Clothing & Accessories
- Personal Care
- Dining Out
- Entertainment & Extracurricular Activities
Take A Look At The End Of The Month
At the end of the month, add up your total in each category to really see where your money is going. For example, you may be shocked to find that you spend $20 a week on digital downloads, $50 on impulse purchases every time you go to Target, and that your coffee and lunch budget is over $300 a month—not including dining out for dinner with friends.
By journaling you will think beyond your budget to how every little purchase adds up.