Did you make a financial resolution for 2015? According to a recent survey by Fidelity, chances are that you have not made one. With only 31% of respondents claiming they are setting a money-related financial resolution for 2015, what is everyone else doing? January is over, but February is a brand new month to start again. Our credit counseling suggestion is to try the February Track Your Spending Challenge!
Track Your Spending Challenge Rules
1. Calculate your total income for February.
Consider all sources of income you will receive in February. Keep that total handy throughout the month. At the end of the month, you don’t want your income to be less than what you spend. If you are new to budgeting or just have not been tracking your spending lately, this is a great exercise to practice.
2. Write all of your spending down for the month of February.
Whether it’s on paper or a spreadsheet, account for every cent you spend via cash, card or check. Coffees, credit card payments, utilities, groceries, dining out, movies… all of it needs to be tracked. At this point, don’t worry about organizing if you don’t want to. Just get everything down. Try this pocket budget worksheet from ACCC.
3. Total your spending half way through the month.
Around February 15th, take a look at your spending. If you have already spent most of your income, try and adjust so you don’t spend more than your income by the end of February. This mid-month check-in will let you see if you are spending a lot in one area or the other at a glance.
4. Balance your February books.
Admire your thriftiness or take a moment to mourn the $100 you spent at Starbucks. Did you end up with money left over, even steven or are you in the red? Taking inventory of your spending habits is an important step towards regaining control of your finances. The better you are at budgeting, the more success you will have to eliminate debt and or start saving.
5. Create and follow a budget for March.
Don’t let February overwhelm you! Let this budgeting challenge inspire you to create and follow a budget in March. A challenge is not an easy task, but your hard work will pay off immensely. Try this budgeting worksheet, PDF or Excel file, to get you started.
Take Control of Your Finances
When we don’t take spending seriously, it can harshly ripple through our finances. The ease of spending thanks to credit cards has both negatives and positives. Without a physical loss of money, it’s harder to account for spending when it’s not monitored frequently. Too much credit card debt can pile up without even knowing it. So, take the February Track Your Spending Challenge and empower your finances in 2015.
If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today.