Here’s an ideal monthly budget for $1000.
But it often ends up like this…
As Leonardo da Vinci said:
Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/leonardo_da_vinci_120052
So having the perfect budget doesn’t help unless it’s followed. To stick to a budget, tracking your expense is essential. Every day, make it a habit to itemize everything you spend on an excel sheet. This is very cumbersome but it will force you to review your daily spending and where you’re spending too much.
For example, I have set my ideal food budget to $330 to achieve my financial goal, but the first month I started tracking I spent well over $600 (for a two person household). This forced me to be more mindful of my grocery shopping and to think of ways to cut my grocery bill. It is a work in progress.
Here are some free tools that would help you with budgeting:
- Budget Calculator
- There are many free calculator like this one (https://financialmentor.com/calculator/budget-calculator). Find the one which suits you most (eg student calculator is different from retiree’s)
- Google Sheets/Open Office ODS file
- Free excel sheets are available, no need to purchase any special software. I am currenty using google sheets so I can enter my data on my phone/computer.
- Google Keep
- Take a picture of your receipt, then capture expense by using “Grab Image Text”. This will make the data entry slightly less cumbersome.
Note: There are many budget/expense tracking apps out there that takes a picture of receipts but at this time I haven’t found one that would capture each item bought on the receipt. Most of them will capture the total spent at a certain store, which is not very helpful.
I found this Japanese app which captures every item bought, and even suggests a recipe. Unfortunately, it is not available outside Japan. If you have any suggestions about which app to use to make receipt -> expense tracking easy, please let me know. Because of the way my receipts tend to build up (not practicing what I preach), I’m willing to use a pay-for-app. I think it’s worth it!