Does it seem like someone’s making off with your money? Before calling the cops, check first to see if the culprit may be you. Look for budget thieves–those expenses that tend to slip through the cracks–by scrutinizing your spending and tracking down the culprits. Here’s how:
First, using the table included on the image above as a guide, write down how much you think you spend every month under “Expected.”
Next, track all of your expenses for one month, assign each to a category, and write the total under “Actual.” HINT: Don’t rely on the catchall “Miscellaneous” category as this is where budget thieves tend to hide (we’ve purposely excluded it).
Then, compare your actual expenses to your expected. If any expense category exceeds 10%, you’ve found your budget thief!
Expose your thieves for the crooks they really are and bring them to justice. Do this by adjusting your expectations or consciously cutting back. Often, suspects hide in the expense categories Healthcare(e.g., prescription medications, gym memberships, pet vet bills), Household (e.g., carpet cleaning, painting, lawn services), Food (e.g., lunches out, pricey coffee drinks, fast food), and Auto (e.g., registration, tolls, parking).