Budgeting & Spending

Learning how to responsibly manage your money is an essential skill.  We can help!

First off, do you know how to tell the difference between a need and a want? Understanding this basic concept is the backbone of learning how to budget and spend your money wisely. 

NeedWant
Things we must have to survive such as food, water, shelter.Goods or services that are not necessary but that we desire or wish for.

NOTE: A person’s ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ are not always simple to put in these two categories. For example, a person could ‘need’ a car due to where they live, but not necessarily ‘want’ one.  The distinction between the two categories can get more blurry when thinking about buying things like clothing; you definitely need clothing – but do you need brand name clothing?  Ultimately this will come down to how you choose to manage your money.

Building a Budget

When you build a budget you need to balance your needs and wants. It’s a good idea to write down all your expenses on paper and see where they all fall in the needs and wants categories. A budget is the best way to be in control of your finances and make sure your money is going toward the expenses that are most important.

Follow the steps below as you set up your own, personalized budget:

Set your goals.

  • write down your goals
  • think about what you want to accomplish financially in the next three months, the next year, and the next three years.

Determine your income.

  • Figure out your available income (the amount of your take-home pay, or your net pay)

Determine your expenses.

  • “Fixed expenses,” such as a rent, auto, or student loan payments, are easy to determine.
  • “Flexible expenses,” such as food, clothing, and entertainment, vary from month to month.
  • Don’t forget about expenses, such as taxes or insurance, that could be billed quarterly, semi-annually, or yearly.

Create your budget.

  • Think of your budget as a “spending plan,” a way to be aware of how much money you have, where it needs to go, and how much, if any, is left over.
  • Your budget should meet your “needs” first, then the “wants” that you can afford.  
  • Your expenses should be less than or equal to your total income.
  • If your income is not enough to cover your expenses, adjust your budget (and your spending!) by deciding which expenses can be reduced.

TRY THIS BUDGET TEMPLATE!

Check back periodically.

  • Be sure to review your budget regularly.
  • Does the plan still meet your needs and help you achieve your goals? If not, make some adjustments or create a new budget that better meets your needs.

If you’d like to explore a couple really awesome websites/apps for budgeting, personal financing, and credit tracking check out the following:

www.mint.com

www.wally.me

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