|your money...||...your future.|
Goals for spending get broken in to 3 categories: Short Term, Mid Term, and Long Term goals. Making this distinction is important if you plan on following through with them.
A short-term goal
(Less than a year) might be something like buy a new CD or setting up an Emergency Fund with 6 months expenses in it.
A mid-term goal
(Under 5-years) could be to invest $1200 a year for grand total of $6000 in 5-Years time.
A long-Term goal
(More than 5-years) is something like having saved up a certain amount of money towards buying a house, or have $1,000,000 saved for retirement.
After you've decided what goals you want to accomplish and figured out the numbers that you need to meet, follow these 3-steps to budgeting your way to those goals: Planning, Tracking, and Reviewing.
Know how much you make from all sources of income and be sure to figure in income taxes.
Keep track of ALL your expenses and add them together.
Figure out if your goal can fit your budget. If it doesn't, alter your goal and/or your budget.
Keep some money stored away for those days when mayhem decides to strike.
Watch your money, keep your receipts, keep a purchase log, track your accounts online, or however you want to keep an eye on where your money comes from and goes.
Regularly check your accounts to make sure your sticking to your budget and that others aren't accessing your accounts.
Understanding Needs vs. Wants
Include food, water, and a place to sleep. The things you need to survive.
Include things that you personally need for school, work, or just life in general such as backpacks, aspirin, pencils, etc.
Include everything you can get along without, such as music, eating out, cable TV, or unlimited calling.
Make a list
Know what your going to buy before you shop or impulse buys will drain you of your money, so make a list before shopping.
Use coupons for the things on your list, they'll add up.
Use a search engine to look up larger buys to see whether there are better deals or if the product is as good as advertised.