How to Track Every Penny

Now that you know the fundamentals of budgeting, let's talk about what your flexible expenses look like.

So, let's say you fill up your gas tank twice a month, and that is $30 each time. $30 x 2 = $60 a month for gas.

You go to a movie with your friends twice a month, which is $10 per ticket. $10 x 2 = $20.

Pizza and drinks you split with your teammates, which is $10.

Smoothie stop after school, $6 each time. $6 x 2 = $12.

Let's add that up and see what we have:

$60 + $20 + $10 + $12 = $102

You budgeted $115 for flexible expenses. You spent $102.

Budgeted Expenses - Amount spent = Surplus

$115 - $102 = $13

High five! You have $13 left over this month! Remember what surplus means? (This is all the extra moolah you have after you pay all of your expenses.)

So what are you going to do with the surplus?? You have so many options, but these are our favorites: Stash that baby into savings. You'll need it later. This is the BEST choice for building your financial power, a skill to develop to help now and in the future $20 + $13 = $33 saved this month! That's over a 50% increase. Good work, dude.

2. Pool it for something later, like when you want to buy jeans next month so you'll have a $13 cushion.

$13 + $115 = $128 for next month. It is super helpful to carry over the extras for when you want to pay for something that wouldn't normally fit in your budget.

Okay, now that you know HOW to budget, let's talk about ways to track and manage it.

1. Keep a note in your phone. If you don't spend a lot, an easy way to track it is in a notes app on your phone. This is also helpful when you spend with cash and cards because it doesn't matter how you spend it, it will end up there. You have to be diligent to put things in as soon as you spend it!

2. Track It app (Free). This is an easy to use app that tracks expenses. You can add up what you've been spending to know how much money you have left over!

3. Unspent app ($0.99). Normally we don't encourage paying for something you can do yourself, but this app is great. You can add money in when you get paid and label your expenses so you can track how much money you've spent on different categories.

Whatever you choose, whether electronically or you go old school with pen and paper, the most important thing is that you keep track of what you spend. You have to make sure to track what you're dishing that cash out for because you can't control it if you don't understand where it is going.

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