Where Do I Start?

First you need to know what expenses you have each month. Then you will estimate how much you need to set aside for reserve money.

Where Does My Money Go?

Where does all my money go? If you’re like most Americans, this question is not new to you. Gaining control of your financial situation and using money wisely is possible, but first you must answer this basic question: What do you actually spend during the month?

  1. Make a list of everything you buy in a month and how much it costs. Include all of the big items and even small purchases for snacks and beverages.
  2. Separate the payments into two categories. Identify the items that are regular, expected expenses in one list. Add the other discretionary purchases to another list.
  3. Tally the amounts in each list to calculate a total for your regular expenses for the month and the total amount that you chose to spend on other expenses.
  4. Review your expense lists for potential ways to reduce expenses to have money to build the emergency fund.


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