How to Map Out Your Spending Habits

    2 minutes
    Get strategies on navigating your finances with a spending plan.
    Do you ever wonder where your money goes each month? Does it feel like you'll never get a handle on your finances? Mapping out our finances is difficult and discouraging for many of us. And like a ship captain looking for the best route forward, our finances can feel like it requires the skills of an expert navigator. At Credit Human, we want you to know we are here to help. Here we’ll take a look at some ways to build a spending plan – helping you navigate where you are today so you can get where you want to be tomorrow.

    What’s important?
    Being specific in identifying what’s important in accomplishing our financial goals can be even more illuminating. A great first step in navigating your finances is figuring out what’s important.
    • What goals do you have with your finances?
    • What areas of your finances would you like to better understand or track?

      For example, maybe you want to discover:
      • How much money do I actually spend per month?
      • Where did my bonus or birthday money go?
      • How much money would I need if I wanted to retire?
    Getting started
    Here are some resources to consider when getting started with your spending plan.
    • We offer a spending plan worksheet to help you navigate your finances. 
    • We also have financial health tools that are free to use and built into your mobile and online banking experience if you prefer something more interactive.
    Other considerations.
    Like a handy GPS app guiding us in our finances, a spending plan can be a great tool to help you navigate your spending on a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly basis. The process of figuring out your current monthly income and expenses can help you evaluate your spending habits and align them with your financial goals.
    • Look at what areas you could trim or cut. While some people might consider Netflix or Starbucks a luxury, if it helps you better deal with stress consider including it in your spending plan.
    • Don’t judge yourself when you’re considering what to 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.
    • Focus on the big areas: food, utilities and shelter. Add any other expenses that you consider critical, including your cell phone or transportation.
    • Look for areas where you may already be spending less right now, such as gym membership, eating out, or clothes. You could repurpose that money towards a savings instead.
    • Leave room for the unplanned and unexpected emergencies in life. Avoid using every dollar you have available to spend. If possible, include putting some money aside in an emergency fund each month in your spending plan to help you navigate those unexpected expenses.
    Anything else?
    A spending plan is a way to keep our money from slipping away unnoticed, allowing us to take charge of decisions such as what to buy, when to buy it, and why. 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.

    Make an Appointment with a Financial Health Specialist. We'll help you get started on a spending plan.

    Get Started