Track Your Spending to Save More Money

Escaping the Paycheck to Paycheck Life

In August, she spent $508 on food and dining, $255 on personal care, and withdrew about $300 from the ATM. In just one month she reduced her food budget to $347, personal care to $50, and ATM withdrawals to $228.

“Tracking my spending is paying off,” says White, who took it a step further by organizing all bills including due dates on an Excel spreadsheet. “Before I was just guesstimating and I didn’t have a clear idea where my money was going, but now all of my expenses are categorized and I’m able to see how much money I’m spending on shopping or other things that I didn’t realize my money was going to.”

Now she will realize immediate savings by moving into a cheaper apartment. When her lease ended in October she decided to share a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate, saving $300 a month on rent. She plans to live there for six months to save money and then move into her own place by April.

The Advice
Black Enterprise and Dawn Brown, CFP, a senior financial adviser with
Altfest Personal Wealth Management in New York City, offer the following advice:

Continue to live with roommates: White was paying $750 in rent and moved into another apartment this month to reduce costs. She plans to put money aside for six months to move into a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn at an estimated cost of about $950 per month. Brown advises White extend her stay. “It doesn’t add up. Talisha has to consider that she will most likely have to pay a security deposit, first and last month’s rent, which adds up to $2,850. Even if she saves the difference she was paying in rent before ($300) that will only give her $1,800 in six months. She’ll still be $1,000 short.” Brown suggests that White focus on savings. If she doesn’t want to continue living with this roommate, she should find another roommate to keep housing costs as low as possible.

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