My name is Vanessa Bowen. And this is how I learned about budgeting. So in my journey with money started, I had no idea how money worked, absolutely no idea like most people. And it wasn't until a mentor asked me how I was managing my finances and she asked me if I had a budget, sat me down, and we created a budget together. So what we did first was we downloaded all of my transactions for the last six months, throw them into an Excel spreadsheet, and literally went row by row and categorize each transaction.
And then we created an average for that category. So whatever category-- let's say, it was eating out or shopping, then I had a clear indication of how much I spent per month on shopping. That hurt. That really did hurt, but it was that awakening, that awareness of "oh, my gosh. This is where my money's going." So from there, knowing what my average spend was, I use that as a base mark to determine a benchmark to determine what I want at my new budget to be.
So when creating a budget, most of the time, people will include what they know off the top of their head, so like their monthly recurring expenses, but they tend to forget annual expenses or expenses that hit quarterly. You want to make sure you still capture that in your budget. So what you want to do is take whatever that expenses and divide it by 12. Put that into your budget. And then every month-- let's just say that came up to $20 a month.
Every month, take that $20 and save it into a separate savings account, not the savings account you use for your vacations or anything else because then you're going to spend the money. I always tell my clients to have a dedicated savings account for these miscellaneous or annual expenses. That way, they're captured. You're saving it. And when it's coming time to pay that car insurance, you have the money set aside.
You're not going into debt for it. Another big thing that people miss are gifts-- Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, all the gifts that we have to pay for, especially Christmas time. Christmas comes. And this is why most people find themselves into a death spiral is because they haven't planned for Christmas. So again, what you want to do is just kind of estimate how much you expect to spend in the year for gifts and do the same thing.
Let's say whatever that number is, divide it by 12. Every month, set that amount aside in a dedicated savings account. So when Christmas comes, you feel like Santa Claus and you can pay for whatever it is that you need to pay for and not have to go into debt. And then you start the next year feeling financially confident and not feeling like you're living in luck or you're living in debt. Thank you for watching.
I hope you feel a little more confident in creating your budget. I promise it won't be so scary. And be sure to check out more Hot Money Minutes. PRODUCER: Awesome Oh, boy. [LAUGHS] PRODUCER: [LAUGHS] [INAUDIBLE]