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Man using calculator. Gears shifting in the background as he budgets.
Taking control of your finances can improve your financial well-being and your overall mental and physical health. By creating a budget, setting goals, and tracking your spending, you can reduce your money-related stress and anxiety. If you aren’t tracking your spending, using a monthly budget, and setting savings goals, it is likely that you are overspending and feeling out of control when it comes to your money. The good news is that there are some basic steps you can take now to get you and your budget moving in the right direction.

1. Evaluate your income.
Make a list of your income sources (include your spouse’s income, if applicable). This should be based on post-tax numbers. If your income fluctuates during the year due to seasonal income, it is best to round down your earnings.

2. Track every dollar that you spend.
In order to control how much you are spending, you must know where the money is going. The first step in creating a budget is evaluating your current expenses or outflow. Spending can be tracked by category and individual budget limits are easily established and controlled by the user.

3. Evaluate and search for spending leaks.
By tracking every dollar you spend it is easy to see where your paycheck is going. Look for categories that stand out and are absorbing more of your income than you anticipated. Look for unused memberships that can be cancelled, dining out that can be reduced, and utilities that can be bundled or combined for savings. Every dollar counts and even a few wasted dollars a month adds up over the course of a year.

*This material is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific recommendations for an individual.