Tracking what and where you spend your money is the first step to managing your money.
Expenses are things that you spend money on. You will want to break them down into the following categories:
If you are not sure where to start, here are three options:
The other half of the budget equation is figuring out your monthly income. List all your sources of income, including wages, savings, and financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans).
Compare what you're spending (Expenses) each month with the money you have (Income). If those amounts come out even, or if you have more income — even a little more — than what you're spending, you have your finances under control.
Making a budget can help you find ways to use your money more effectively, i.e. freeing up more money to save and invest. You can do this by identifying your wants.
If your spending outweighs your income, you should reduce your expenses or increase your income to bring the two into balance. Otherwise you'll find yourself in financial trouble. The first step will be for you to look at your expenses and identify your needs vs. wants.