Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: East Central Minnesota
The first thing I would do is sit down and list where all your money goes. Also, keep a list of everything you spend for a couple weeks. Yes, the debit card does this, but.... If you grab a bag of chips and a soda when you get gas, and put it all on the card, when you see it you will think gas, not extras. Also, account for every dollar of cash you spend. After a couple weeks, ( I actually did this for 6 months), you will see where any of your "extra" money is going. You may find some things that you can reduce/remove from your spending.
Does your bank charge you to have a savings account? If not, I would open one, and put in 10% of each paycheck. Even if you need to pull it out for bills, if you put it in a separate account it is out of sight/out of mind. Otherwise, could you ask your mum to just hold your savings for you? She wouldn't be controlling it, but could feel like she is "helping".
Then, add up all your bills for the month, and divide them by 2 if you are being paid every other week.
For example, if your phone is 90.75/month, you need 46.00 from each paycheck to cover this bill. If your car ins. Is 300.00 every 6 months, you would divide that 300 by 12 (6 month bill, paid every 2 weeks) so in this case you would need $25.00 out of each paycheck to cover car insurance. Once you know exactly what you need out of each paycheck, these are your comitted funds, and what you have after that is for "extras". It may help to actually just withdraw this amount, and use it on any item that isn't in your budget. It is very easy to swipe a debit card, when we wouldn't spend it if we had to use cash. Only you know what your spending habits are though.
Subtract any bills paid out of the current check from the total comitted funds, and put the rest in the savings account.
It will take a few weeks to get on track, but if you can track everything and stick with it for awhile, you will be amazed. I would not spend money on extras just because I didn't want to write it down.
Also, if it helps motivate you, set a target goal. When you get XXX in your savings account, you will spend XX on something special.
Smoking is an expensive hobby/habit, but so is my bottle of wine. Look at ALL your expenses, and decide what you can trim. If you cut your cigarette budget in half, you would have more money for something else.
What are you putting on your W4 for withholdings? You want to make sure that taxes don't bite you in the butt either.