Campus News

Track spending to create more cash

Food prices are up, and gasoline-although lower recently-costs more than it did this time last year. Most paychecks have stayed the same, but there are ways to make them seem like they too are growing, according to a UGA financial expert.

“You can increase the amount of money you have to spend each month by as much as 20 percent by paying more attention to where your money goes and developing an action plan to target problem-spending areas,” said Michael Rupured, consumer economic specialist with UGA Cooperative Extension.

To find out where your money goes, track it. Record everyday purchases for a few weeks to determine spending habits. Costs associated with daily activities like smoking, eating out and buying coffee to go can add up in a month. And the longer you keep track, the more you will learn about where your money goes.

Another idea is to see how low you can keep your expenses for a few months. For example, pretend your income has been cut in half, Rupured suggests.

“Spending is such a routine part of life that it’s easy to lose track,” he said. “You can’t know what you should do differently until you know what you’ve been doing with your money.”

To identify where you are spending the most, group regular expenses into categories. Combine similar expenses into one category. Once spending habits have been identified, work to change areas where you are spending more than you’d like to.