Start by making a list of your personal values. Understanding how finances fit into your values will help you keep yourself focused.
Set goals that will help you to maintain your stated values. Set goals for different intervals – the next three months, the next year, and the next three years.
Determine your income. Look only at income you receive after deductions.
Determine your expenses, ie. Rent, loans, payments, food, clothing, entertainment, etc. Some are fixed, and other will vary from month to month. Keeping receipts is a good way to see how much you really spend. You might be surprised!
Create a spending plan in which your expenses MUST be less than or equal to your income.
Start an emergency savings. In order to stay on track think of it as paying yourself. A good goal is to have three to six months earnings in savings.
Live within your means! This can be more challenging than you might think. Eating out, purchasing drinks from vending machines or convenience stores, and paying ATM access charges can add up over the course of a month, or a year. Balance your checkbook to avoid insufficient funds fees from your bank and penalties for bounced checks.