Sometimes there are circumstances beyond our control that affect our financial situations. But in many cases it is our choices that affect our finances. Sheri Richards wrote a recent article about people saying they are Living Paycheck to Paycheck. As she said some people have circumstances where they are actually living paycheck to paycheck but others are living paycheck to paycheck because they choose to spend every dollar they have.
One way to get an idea of how you are spending your money is to track your spending. For at least a week or month, write down everything you spend money on and then take a look to see if there are areas that you can cut back on or cut out completely. This is also useful when setting up amounts for different categories in your budget.
Another area of making choices is when you are lured by sales or coupons. I recently started receiving sale and coupon alerts from a store. The other day there was $50 off $100 purchase of winter clothing items and the items were on clearance also. First I was tempted to go look but then decided I didn’t need winter items and could use the money I would have spent on something else. I am saving for an upcoming trip and am trying to pay for it without taking money from my savings.