The first thing I did to begin getting our finances in order was to purchase a small, lined exercise book. Over a period of 6 months I would write down every cent we spent, every day. Its not as hard as it sounds, once you have been doing it for a couple of weeks its just part of the routine.
At the end of each week write down the total. Then at the end of 4 weeks you can see what you spent over the month. I would also do separate totals for regular expenditure eg. bills, groceries, to note fluctuations.
Writing down every expense has a couple of benefits.
1. You find out exactly where all your money goes. If you need to make changes to save money, it is all there for you to make a start cutting back.
2. There is nowhere to hide! You must be completely honest in your recordings, therefore, I often re - thought purchases before they were made, knowing it would have to go in the book. I guess its like writing down everything you eat when trying to lose weight, the truth is there in writing.
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