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Making Money Work

3 Steps to Create a Smart Spending Plan

Want to experience a better sense of well-being? Or feel more financially secure?

Creating a smart spending plan can help! A spending plan puts you in control of day-to-day finances and reduces financial stress. It helps you map out expenses so you can decide the best way to use your money. Start taking control today by following these three steps to a smart spending plan:

1. Find out where the money is going. Once you know where it is being spent, you can determine any adjustments needed so that your spending reflects your priorities. Use this budget template to gather information and analyze current spending.

2. Evaluate spending. Use the information gathered to answer a few questions. Ask yourself:

  • Do I have enough to cover all essential living expenses?
  • Do I have money left over for savings?
  • How does my spending compare to recommended budget guidelines?

3. Create a plan. A smart spending plan has three parts: bills due, savings, and spending allowance. Use this spending plan template to record the amount and due dates for bills. Next, record the amount needed for savings. Total up bills and money for savings, and then subtract that amount from monthly take home pay. What is left makes up the spending allowance. Use this money to pay for things like gas, groceries, meals out and entertainment.

Many people believe budgeting is about saying ‘no’ to spending, but really it’s finding out what you can say ‘yes’ to. It gives you the freedom to use your money to have more of what is really important to you.

4 Questions to Control Your Spending:

  1. Will I use this product? Impulse buys are all too common. If you won’t really use it, it’s a waste of money, even if it seems like a good deal.
  2. Do I really need this product? Separating between needs and wants is an important part of sticking to a smart spending plan.
  3. What if I wait to buy? Retailers use ‘Today Only’ sales to encourage spending on items that you weren’t planning to purchase, and probably don’t really need. Waiting cangive you a chance to decide if it’s really worth buying.
  4. How do I feel right now? Logic doesn’t always rule spending decisions. Don’t let emotional ups and downs sabotage your spending plan.

 

Interested in learning more? Use this form to let us know.

*ResourceS: Greenpath financial wellness