Before we do anything we need to figure out where we stand. How much are we really spending? Some people think to set goals before determining your situation because they want the dreams to be unfettered by reality. I think that having a good dose of the situation helps your goals in Stage Blue to be more realistic.
I know it's scary, but we need to figure out what we have to work with. Let's just rip the band-aid off and figure out where we are at. First we are just going to look at what we spend our money on. We'll worry about how much money we spend later on.
Take out a sheet of paper and list every expense that you have in a given year. Don't worry about putting numbers next to it yet. Just write down everything that you spend money on. Here's what I had:
Gas (for car)
Household Items and Decor
Maybe you have more or less than me. Don't try to do this all at once. Start the list and then hang it up on your fridge. Each time you think of something new, put it up there. Maybe you spend enough on something that it needs it's own category, like my Starbucks category. Trust me, I drink alot of Starbucks.