Keeping track of everything that is spent in the month can be a complicated task, because it requires a lot of discipline.
You can have a general idea of how much you are spending, but when making a monthly spending plan, the idea is to be as detailed as possible. This way you will have a better idea of how how much you are spending as well as what you spend the most on.
To start, you can divide your expenses into three large blocks:
Fixed costs: This section will essential monthly expenses such as, the rent or the payment of a loan.
Variable expends: Here you must include variable necessary expenses, such as food or services such as electricity or water which may vary from month to month.
Discretionary expenses: These are other expenses that can be expendable such as going out to dinner with friends, shopping for clothes or going out with a friend for a coffee for example.
The idea is that you make the list as detailed as possible. Although with variable expenses it can become complicated, especially if you do not register them at the time you made the purchase or spend. Over time, some of the purchases tend to be forgotten, especially if they were minor or insignificant expenses.
For this you can make use of technology. There are some applications for smartphones in which you can keep track of all expenses and you can do it at the moment.
Having a detailed record allows you to know how much you are spending and what is your limit, to avoid having to stretch the money every end of the month, or, to be asking for loans because it no longer reaches you.
Joan Lanzagorta , an expert in personal finance, also suggests that you take into account, not only the expenses that you have planned each month, but those that occur on a regular basis, but once a year, for example.
A case of this type would be to have the birthday present of your children contemplated, or the payment for the return to school.
Another recommendation is to constantly review the financial plan. If living conditions change, the plan must also change, this implies that expenses can also change.
Finally, try to be flexible. If you spend less than expected, avoid buying things that you do not need. These small amounts can be used at another time in a more useful way, for example, in the event that the car breaks down and you have to send it in for repair.