Now that you've helped the Jones family and tracked your own income and expenses, you're ready to set up your monthly spending plan. Follow the four steps below to set up next month's plan.
In the section "Income and Expenses" you entered your monthly income and expenses using the Family Income and the Family Expenses forms. They will show you what you already entered for the current month.
Check to make sure that the amounts are correct. If they are not, make any changes necessary in the boxes provided, then click on Save Changes to store the information.
To begin setting up your spending plan, you will need to see if you overspent. Look at the form below to check how you did. Did you have enough income for all of your expenses? Or, did you have more expenses than income? Remember, you have to balance your expenses to your income!
If you overspent, you will need to cut back on expenses. Look at your Flexible Expenses first and cut back as much as possible. You can do that by clicking on the Cut back button. It will reduce the amount by $10 for each click. If you still need to cut more, look at the Fixed Expenses. If you still need to cut back more, you will need to add more income or think of other ways to balance your expenses to your income. Refer back to the sections on Cutting Expenses and Adding More Income for suggestions.
Before starting, make sure that you are looking at your current month's income and expenses. Good luck and do the best you can!
Now that you have balanced your expenses to your income, you're ready to try your plan for a month. You will need to track your expenses again to see if you estimated correctly. Use the fixed, occasional, and flexible expenses forms to enter your next month's amounts. If your income changes, you will need to enter those amounts, too.
At the end of next month, compare your plan with what you actually spent. Do you need to change your plan or change your spending? Maybe you estimated some of your expenses too high. You may have spent more on something, for example, food, than your plan allowed. Or, you may need to add more money in a category because you did not budget enough. In either situation, you can change your plan and try it again the next month.
Only you can decide where you want your money to go. Are you spending money on the things that are most important to you? Do you need to change your spending to match your values and goals? Remember, this is your plan, and it needs to fit your needs.