The first step to start saving money is to figure out how much you spend. Keep track of all your expenses—that means every coffee, household item and cash tip.
Once you have your data, organize the numbers by categories, such as gas, groceries and mortgage, and total each amount. Use your credit card and bank statements to make sure you’re accurate—and don’t forget any.
Tip: Look for a free spending tracker to help you get started. Choosing a digital program or app can help automate some of this work. Bank of America clients can use the Spending & Budgeting tool, which automatically categorizes your transactions for easier budgeting in the mobile app or online.
Once you have an idea of what you spend in a month, you can begin to organize your recorded expenses into a workable budget. Your budget should outline how your expenses measure up to your income—so you can plan your spending and limit overspending. Be sure to factor in expenses that occur regularly but not every month, such as car maintenance.
Tip: Include a savings category—aim to save 10 to 15 percent of your income.