A Monthly Budget Technique that Saved an Extra $2100 in 3 Months

By Monday, June 22, 2020 9 0

Today I’ll show you how I saved an extra $2100 in three months using a monthly budget. Everybody wants to have money left over after they pay their bill but we all know this rarely happens. This reality is where the phrase “living pay check to pay check” comes from. I tried to budget my money before but I could never find a way that could adapt to my unique situation and spending habits. To fix this I made my own budgeting strategy called the Fingerprint Budget Technique. It looks at your actual spending and designs a monthly budget unique to you and your needs. The budget adapts to you rather than the other way around.

Below I layout the detail of the Fingerprint Budget Technique where you can have some of the same results I did. Including,

  • Identifying your spending habits and understanding where your money is going every month.
  • Transparently saving at least $2000 in 3 months.
  • Gain the discipline to build on this success.

The Fingerprint budget technique takes only 3 steps and doesn’t require you to buy anything or do anything more than to dig into your financial history and trace down where your money is going. Let’s check it out step by step.

Step #1: Aggregate your spending data into one place

At this point, I would strongly recommend you to start spending all of your money through a credit card each month. This will aggregate all of your spending for you and you can really see what is going on. If you haven’t done that at this point it’s not a blocker. You’ll just need to get all that data in front of you so you can start to see what you spend each month.

There is old wisdom that credit cards are evil. This wisdom is antiquated and a relic of people who put themselves into credit card debt and couldn’t get out. What I’m telling you to do is spend your money on a credit card and pay it off each month. This lets you take advantage of their analytical spending tools and you earn rewards like mileage or even cash dumped straight into your bank account. Personally, I like to take the cash. Discover now lets you take the cash in any increment.

I’m using Discover Cards Spend analyzer tool. It principally focuses on using pie charts to display a coarse idea of your spending. I’m running it with 6 months of data so I can take an average for each spending category and know what I typically spend. This is your unique fingerprint of spending. In the next step, we’ll budget each category and look at the savings.

This data shows me incredible insights into my personal spending. The first thing to notice are the big slices of the pie. Mine are supermarkets, services, and merchandise. This already identifies them as the categories that are dominating my spending and probably have the most room to budget. The other thing to notice here is that this is 6 months of data so really I found out that I’m spending $7826/6 ≈ $1306 per month on supermarkets.

Step #2: Budget Your Fattest Categories 

You can see my biggest categories are supermarkets, services, and merchandise. Your spending can be broken down much more than this but deeper digging on spending led me to make this spreadsheet

Monthly

From Zero to Hero with a Monthly Budget

You can see here I have an average column and a budgeted column. They largely match but you can see on the restaurant category I have made a decision to cut spending there. My income is generated by cell G22 and the leftover amounts in D25 and D26 are the differences between my income and the total monthly spending. Without too much sacrifice I have easily gone from a loss of $43/month to a savings of $712/month. This is how I saved $2100 in 3 months and you can too. Grab a copy of my Excel file here , tailor it to your own needs, and commit to savings. Going from a loss to a savings of hundreds per month is the hallmark of a successful monthly budget.

Step #3: Track your partial spending and make sure you are on track

You’re on your way

You can see in my Excel file I have left a column for partial spending. You can use this as much or as little as you like but it’s the feature that keeps you committed. The majority of people will decide to budget but never take consistent action on it. Once your behavior is consistent you will build new budgeting habits. You’ll probably even start to think of ways to budget on your own.

In this post, I’ve shown you the Fingerprint Budget Technique. It shows you how you can save a substantial amount of money every month. The selling point here is it’s unique to you and your needs. This makes it much more likely that you will actually take action and make progress. Everyone knows they should budget their money. However, they lack a transparent way to do it, so it simply doesn’t get done.

There are many alternate budgeting techniques but most are just too generalized for people to use. Advice like “your mortgage payment should be less them some percent of your take-home salary” is just too vague to be applicable. Any real budgeting is going to have to start with a hard look at your real needs and wants. If you fall down and break your arm, you need a cast. You don’t really need a new iPhone. The iPhone is something you want but don’t really need. The Fingerprint Budget Technique forces you to get organized about your spending. It also gives you all the decision making power to identify and cut wasteful spending. Working like this gives you an actual dollar amount that you can save. Actual amounts will give you the motivation to stay committed and actually succeed.

Get Started

Fill in the form below to get your copy of the Fingerprint Budget.

Change the categories to reflect your needs and see what kind of savings you can generate for yourself each month. If you save that file and stick with it you will have a solid starting point to save money every month.

9 Comments
  • Lomash Kumar
    June 24, 2020

    That’s great! Learned a lot, Thanks for sharing.

  • Katie (The Twenty Percent)
    June 24, 2020

    It’s amazing what difference a budget can make! Thanks for sharing your own experiences and keep you the good work with your savings 🙂

  • Leslie Nichole
    June 26, 2020

    I love that you used these methods to save so much! I need to get my spending on the right track myself. I think I’ll be taking a few hours tomorrow to use a fine tooth comb over my finances.

    • Adam Wilson
      June 26, 2020

      Tracking your money is perfect first step.

  • Unwanted Life
    August 9, 2020

    Looks like a smart way to get control of your money, and being in better control of your money should help you save more and avoid unnecessary debt

    • Ottermo Invest
      August 17, 2020

      Great blogpost!

      Budget is such a key factor to have control of your finances. Everybody should be doing it.

  • Ottermo Invest
    August 17, 2020

    Great blogpost!

    Budget is such an important tool to be able to have control of your spendings.

  • Susie Q
    September 19, 2020

    Nice post, Adam! Exactly the approach I suggest people use – figure out where your money is coming from and going, set goals and make a budget that moves you towards those goals.

    • Adam Wilson
      September 19, 2020

      Thanks for taking the time to read. Let’s hope it helps out some people trying to find their way with their finances.

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