Managing Your Money – A Tale of 2 Plans: Spending and Saving

Online Course with Worksheets – Community Supervision Child Support Division/Corrections Department

This information has been compiled to assist you in managing your money and improve your spending. Using a spending plan will help you find leaks and habits that you may not be aware that you do.

How can I stop living paycheck to paycheck?

Planning how you spend your money can help you pay bills on time, make it through times when you are not working, get the things you need for yourself and your family, teach your children lessons about handling money, have a sense of security about the future and feel more in charge of your life. A plan for spending and saving money is called a spending plan.

A spending plan can help you manage money wisely and stretch your current income. Spending plans are not only for people with financial difficulties–a spending plan can help anyone meet current needs and save for future goals. You can have a better lifestyle if you manage money wisely.

What’s a good way to start a spending plan?

First step,  look at how you spend your money. Track your spending for a month by writing down every purchase you make and every bill you pay. Don’t forget to add automatic payments or fees that come directly out of your bank account and fixed expenses, such as rent/mortgage, car payment or auto insurance. At the end of each week, break your spending list down into categories. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Housing (rent or mortgage payment, property taxes)
$  Entertainment (movies, books, magazines, toys, cable TV, Internet access)
$  Food (groceries, restaurants, sandwiches coffee, sodas, snacks)
$  Child care
$  Auto (car payment, gas, repairs, insurance), parking or commuting expense
Savings (transfers to savings account, retirement fund or brokerage account)
Child support or support to other dependent family members, such as elderly parents or family living in another country
Home (cleaning supplies, maintenance, renter’s or homeowner’s insurance)
$  Medical bills
$  Clothing and personal grooming supplies
$  Legal expenses (immigration or citizenship documentation, tax preparation, family law, child support)
$  Health and life insurance payments
$  Income taxes in addition to those withheld from your paycheck Vacations

The next step is to record your monthly income from all sources and compare it to your expenses. Does your income cover all your expenses? Once you have an idea of where your money is going every month, you can begin to use the information to make decisions about how to spend your money wisely, and where changes need to occur.

Thirdly, complete the spending plan and do the math to see if you are staying within your guidelines.  Review Suggested Guidelines – Budget & Expenses for additional inform.  Remember the 3 most difficult parts of managing money are:

  1. Managing/reducing spending
  2. Getting out debt
  3. Saving

They all take time.

The attachments are information that will aid in building your financial knowledge and assist in creating a spending plan.
(Click on the PDF files below to obtain each document)

To receive credit for this mandatory part of your orders please complete the two month spending plan and the evaluation – which can be submitted via email.

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