A budget is the best way to see where your money is used.
We use and recommend YNAB.
We can see by recording every purchase and accounting for every dollar just what we are doing.
We can see where spend , where we save, and we have found that a twice a month review together has been so helpful.
You see, my income varies every month. We may plug in amounts and then find on a bad month that our income doesn’t agree
with our plan. So we adjust our outlook an plan our month for the lower end of my likely income. Then if we see an increase, we have a choice
to either save, or perhaps apply it to use for what was waiting for a way to be funded. See the planning effect?
YNAB allows you to input info right from your bank. We have chosen NOT to do that. I prefer to enter each transaction as it comes from
our checking account. This keeps us aware of what we are spending and when I record an expenditure I have to apply it to the category that
we chose to fund that expense from.
Another way that applies: When I am about to make a purchase, I 1st think about what the budget has available in that category. Like if my
Garden budget has 18 dollars left in it. I know that I can’t go out and buy 5 bags of topsoil unless they are about 3 bucks each. But if it is
5 dollars each, then I need to revise my plan to stay in budget.
With the discipline and increasing in the habits of proper planning we can accomplish more, get along better, and be better stewards of what we have.