Every person who uses money, from prince to pauper, has to decide how to spend it. True, it’s easier to get what you want the more money you have, but you still have choices. Your first step in creating your “Ideal Budget,” then, is to determine just what your monetary priorities are. Go get the current budget you created and review it. It should help you in determining your absolute cost needs. Your current budget is just a starting point; it’s not written in stone. You simply cannot complete the second step in managing your finances until this is complete. The plus of “if you want to know someones priorities, review his checkbook” is still accurate in principle, even if now it’s “her bank statements” since we mostly use debit cards these days.
Go through your receipts and/or your bank statements for the last month or two to get an idea of how much you spent on what. Are you spending $5/day on lottery tickets or buying new shoes or clothes every other week? Do you go overboard on Christmas and birthday gifts? If your honest with yourself, you know what your really spending. My personal opinion is that if you’re spending $90 or more each month on something, it is a priority to you.
So now that you know what your priorities actually are, are they where you want them to be? Do you have any money left over to put toward future purchases? If not, you might need to re-examine your priorities.