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A basic saving and spending plan looks at things at:
• How much money comes in during the month?
• How much money is spent during the month?
• How much money is left over or what is the deficit?
Saving and spending plans are helpful when trying to create a complete picture of your money management.
Some questions to consider when making a plan are:
• What are my necessary expenses each month?
• Which expenses could be considered optional?
• Which of my bills need to be paid first?
• Would a re-payment plan for long-standing debt or rental/utility arrears be possible?
Why “saving and spending?” Why not “budgeting?” For many people, the word “budget” implies restrictions, like a diet. Saving and spending acknowledges that money is for spending, that everyone has expenses and that money is also for saving, when possible.
A saving and spending plan often works best when planning for a specific financial goal, such as a trip or a down payment on a car or home.
What do I spend each month? Sometimes figuring out what is a necessary expense versus what is desired expense can be helpful for thinking about spending during the month. To start thinking about needs and wants, make a list of your expenses during the month.
These should include (but are not limited) to:
• Housing costs (rent and utilities)
• Insurance expenses (car & health)
• Grocery expenses
• Clothing purchases
• Personal care items• Restaurant purchases
• Monthly cable costs (TV, Internet and/or phone)
• Cell phone
• Entertainment costs
• Transportation (e.g. gas, bus, train)
• Existing debt payments (e.g. student loans, credit card, personal loan)
Many of these expenses will fall somewhere between a necessity and a want. By listing out expenses, it can help to prioritize what is most important during a particular month.
Looking for more help? To download a worksheet that lists potential expenses using a “needs and wants” format, click here.