The short answer: everything!
Everything that costs you money.
Which includes Electronic Funds Transfers from your bank account.
And credit cards, until you stop using them.
OK, I have not, my American Express is tied into the bankruptcy court for filing fees on the cases I file.
I tried to change over to my new debit card, but, could not figure out how to do it, and it is not high on my current priority list.
But I digress.
All the studies show people spend with credit cards, and debit cards, more readily than with cash.
Because we don’t think of it like cash.
Well, it is.
If you want to gain control of your spending, you have to write down everything.
Ahead of the month, you need to write down what your expenses will be.
Yes, write it down, don’t try to memorize it, or guess.
People who write down their goals have a much higher success rate than those who do not.
If you do not know what you are doing, you cannot control what you are doing.
Back to Total Money Makeover, page 97:
“If you worked for a company called YOU, Inc., and your job at YOU Inc. was to manage money – and you managed money at YOU Inc. the way you manage your own money now, would YOU Inc. fire you?”
Well, I would not be confident of keeping my job at YOU Inc.
So far, I have not fired myself.
Starting is easy, what are your fixed costs, the monthly bills you know you have, every month, and you know the amount.
Mortgage, car, if you have that, utilities, cable, internet, homeowners and any other insurance you pay each month.
Others you do not pay every month, buy you know which months you do.
Car insurance, maybe.
Water bills, property taxes.
Then there are the variable costs.
Food, clothes, shelter.
Check your records.
What did you spend over the last year for this stuff?
Oooh, that is a problem.
So, start tracking every penny you spend.
Keep receipts, or put it into your PDA, or carry a small notebook and pen or pencil.
Hey, sometimes you my skip an impulse purchase, just because you do not have the tools with you to record it.
Discipline has to start somewhere, and be practiced, like any other skill.
Yeah, I am working on this too, but getting better.
Oh, and our dog Casey says, don’t forget dog food and vet care in your budget!
What Goes Into A Family Budget?