Track Your Spending

Before you can decide where your money should go in the future, you need to figure out where it's going now.

We'll start with your regular bills (see Table 11.1)—what many people call “fixed” expenses (although few expenses are truly carved in stone).

Table 11.1. Fixed Expenses
ExpenseMonthly Payment
Car loan 
Child care 
Credit cards 
Health club 
Internet access 
Personal loans 
Retirement savings 
Student loan 

The extra spaces are for you to enter the other monthly bills in your life, but remember that this worksheet is just a guideline. You may well create one of your own that's more or less detailed. Instead of “Utilities,” you may decide to track your gas, ...

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