Organise your money: Day 4 - list your variable expenses
Welcome to day four of this "Organise Your Money" series. On day one we recorded the details of the bills you pay regularly. On day two we created a register to record these payments. On day three we tracked your income. Today we’ll be getting a handle on your variable expenses.
Your variable expenses are pretty much anything you spend money on that doesn’t fall into the regular bill categories. The amount you spend on them varies from purchase to purchase. Generally, you have a lot more control over how much you spend on variable expenses so these are often the areas where you can cut back on your spending in order to save more.
To help you identify what your variable expenses are, you may want to look through your receipts and over your bank statements to see where else you spend your money. Some ideas to look for are:
Transport: petrol, vehicle repairs, vehicle service
Food: groceries, takeaway, eating out
Entertainment: alcohol, games, movies and events, holidays
Clothing: adult clothes, kids' clothes
Medical: doctor, dentist and specialist appointments, pharmaceuticals
Education: uniforms, excursions, school supplies
Extra-curricular: uniforms, equipment
Home: repairs and maintenance, furnishings
Personal: hair and beauty treatments, cosmetics
Gifts and donations: birthdays, Christmas, other gifts, charity
Savings: holiday savings, Christmas savings, other savings
Print out Our Variable Expenses printable. Take a look at your variable expenses and sort them into items and categories such as in the example below:
Next, you want to determine how much you usually spend on these items. So, add up what you've spent on each item over the past four months then write these amounts in each month's column. Then, calculate the average spent over the four months for each item.
And you're done! This exercise is useful because it often highlights the areas you want to cut back on. You'll then use this page as a guide when setting your budget each month.
Happy money planning!