Creating a Spending Plan
Taking a look at all of your expenses side by side with your take home pay is an important way to navigate this difficult time. Having a spending plan allows you to see how much financial slack you have. Here are some tips to get started:
- There are tools that can really help. We offer a spending plan worksheet to help guide you. We also have financial health tools that are free to use and built into mobile and online banking if you prefer a more interactive experience.
- Focus on the big areas first: food, utilities and shelter. Add any other expenses that you consider critical, including your mobile phone.
- Don’t judge yourself when you’re considering what to cut. While some people might consider Netflix to be a luxury if it helps you better deal with stress consider including it in your plan.
- Look for areas where you may already be spending less right now, such as transportation, movies or clothes. You could repurpose that for necessities or an emergency savings fund instead.
- Look at what areas you could trim or cut. Start with the easier expenses to cut first then work through the harder sacrifices by making trade-offs until you get to a spending level you can live with.
- Leave room for emergencies. Don’t use every dollar you have available in the spending plan if you can help it. If possible put some money aside in an emergency fund each month to help you handle unexpected expenses.
Awareness of your expenses allows you to set realistic saving and spending goals. Things change, so continue to monitor as you go. This plan is not set in stone. The goal is to become more aware of where your money goes so you can adjust as necessary. Planning is the key to being financially healthy.