Have you ever gotten to the end of the month and realized you have a lot LESS inside your bank account than you thought would be there?!

Or, have you opened your credit card bill and been shocked to find the amount to pay off is higher than you expected?!

Many individuals & couples begin each month with grand optimism: OK, anything left over this month is going straight to savings (or debt reduction or the college fund).

But when the end of the month rolls around, they’re discouraged—and surprised!—to find there are no leftovers. How does that happen?

Every time you swipe your debit card for day-to-day expenses—Amazon purchases, Target runs, grocery trips—your bank balance decreases. That’s obvious. What’s not obvious is by how much it dwindles… because the amounts are all over the place. So it’s nearly impossible to accurately predict how much you’ll have left over for your future goals.

To fix that problem, it’s essential to turn your day-to-day spending into a fixed expense. Here’s how:

Set up a second checking account and call it your spending account. If your bank insists on charging you for a second checking account, check out online banks like Ally who offer free checking accounts.

Look over your last few months of everyday spending (groceries, gas, takeout, Amazon, etc.). Don’t just guess how much you spend, really dig into your statements to come up with a realistic amount.

Divide your monthly day-to-day spending by the number of times you get paid each month.

Transfer that amount to your spending account every pay period. Use this account for all of your day-to-day expenses.

Now your day-to-day spending is a fixed expense. It’s count-on-able, so your coffee habit can’t sabotage your savings plans.

This action has helped dozens of my clients pay down debt and save for future goals. By transferring a set amount to a spending account every pay period, they stopped worrying about every-day expenses ransacking their bill account. They went from waiting until the end of the month to see how much extra they had to pay down debt to knowing EXACTLY how much they had to throw at their debt on every payday. This clarity gave them power.

To learn more about the importance of turning your everyday spending into a fixed expense, check out my free 10-minute video: 3 Simple Steps to Uplevel Your Budget! You can also read about those steps in my January blog post here.