The Unknown Spending Vortex
- track money or watch it disappear

Everyone knows what a budget is. Many people even have a home budget. But using the home budget effectively, well, that is another matter.

Your budget is only useful when you use it to measure how you're doing. And in order to measure against your budget, you need to know your spending.

And there's only one way to know how much you're really spending, and that's by tracking it. All of it. Every last dollar.

Where did that $20 go ? I know I didn't spend it !

Sound familiar ? Maybe you forgot about that snack from the vending machine. Or the cup of coffee from the cafeteria. Or the day you went out to lunch.

So when the end of the month rolls around, you're scratching your head wondering how in the world you over-ran your budget.

To make sure your budget is really working, you need to track all of your spending for an entire month. Better still, track for 3 consecutive months, to account for all sorts of unknown spending and disappearing money.

You can carry a small notepad with you, and write down where every dollar goes, from phone bill to milkshake to oil change. If you have a smartphone, you can track spending electronically.

At the end of the month, you do your comparison. If you've never tracked your spending before, you will likely be in for a rude awakening. You may be shocked to find out how much money has gone into the vortex.

Once you know your spending, you can make informed choices on cutbacks or changes. And that will keep money out of the vortex, and in your pocket.