A well-designed, realistic spending plan is the most important step to
take in your journey to reach your financial goals.
If you're not completely comfortable with your
spending plan, or would like some guidance with this or other financial issues,
consider a free and confidential money management counseling session with a
BALANCE counselor. The average counseling session lasts approximately one hour,
and there is no limit on the number of sessions you may have.
Counselors are qualified to discuss general money
management, credit and housing topics including goal setting, spending and
savings plans, credit and credit reports, debt management, buying a first home,
mortgage delinquency and foreclosure prevention. Each session is goal oriented
and results in a written action plan clearly outlining the steps you and your
counselor decide to take in order to establish personal financial control.
Developing Your Own Spending Plan
Download the Money Management Planner, a budgeting
tool to see if
you're right on track or if you'll need to increase your income or decrease
your expenses in order to save enough money to get where you want to go.
The math that lies at the root of a strong spending
plan is simple: The amount of money going out must always be less than, or
equal to, the amount of money coming in. Most of us have a fairly good sense of
how much we bring home each month through our paychecks and perhaps earnings on
savings and investments. Money going out, however, may be a bit fuzzier. The
checks we write and the purchases made on credit cards are easy enough to
track, but cash may seem simply to disappear. As a result, there are gaps in
the spending plan.
Understanding and flexibility in your spending
habits is the key to successful budgeting. Once you’ve tracked your spending,
then you are in a position to make an educated decision whether to continue
spending as you have, or to make changes in order to more readily reach your
Wonder where all of your money goes?
For one week, record all of your expenses no matter how small. At the
end of the week, you'll have a clear idea of where those extra dollars could be
hiding. In the future, you can use the funds you currently fritter away to
increase savings, pay off bills, or buy something special.
Pay Yourself First!
Save and invest 5-10% of your gross annual income. Of course, for most
of us, this is easier said than done. If you're currently living from paycheck
to paycheck without seeing an opportunity to get ahead, begin by creating a
solid spending plan after tracking all of your monthly expenses. Or, call a
BALANCE counselor to help you get your savings plan in order.
BalanceTrack CourseMoney management is
the process of knowing where you are spending your money today, and
having a well thought-out plan in place for where you want it to go in
the future. This program will cover the core concepts of money
management, click here to get started.