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Emma Thompson

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Making Choices

At the beginning of this section, you started out tracking your spending. This is the first step in starting a spending plan. In order to create your spending plan, you need to:

  • Identify your income
  • List your expenses
  • Compare income and expenses
  • Decide which items are most important
  • Make changes: Use the following charts as a guidelines

If you have income or expenses not listed on the chart, be sure to add them to the list. It is very important to be as honest and accurate as possible. If you live with your parents and do not pay your own bills yet, go through the worksheets with them and learn about your household budget.

You might want to print out this chart and write your answers on it.

Step 1: Identifying Income

Income................................................................. Per Month

After-tax wages (you only)......................................$ _____________

After-tax wages (others in household)...................... $_____________

Tips or bonuses..................................................... $ _____________

Child Support........................................................ $ _____________

Public Assistance………………................................... $_____________

Other................................................................... $ _____________

Total Income........................................................ $ _____________

Remember to update this information when things change. Half the battle is making money. The other half is cutting down on spending. Both are important–on to step #2.

Step 2: Listing Expenses

Use the spending journal you created earlier to fill in the following- add lines for expenses not listed.

Expenses................................................................. Per Month

Savings (See pay yourself first)..........................   $ _____________

Rent or Mortgage.................................................$ _____________

Heating and electricity......................................... $ _____________

Water................................................................ $ _____________

Telephone (home, cell)........................................ $ _____________

Other household expenses (cable TV, Internet, etc.) $ ____________

Groceries..............................................................$ ____________

Snacks/meals eaten out....................................... $ _____________

Transportation (bus fare,car payment, gas, repairs) $ ____________

Auto insurance premium........................................ $ ____________

Health insurance premium..................................... $ ____________

Life insurance........................................................$____________

Doctor and dentist bills (not covered by insurance)... $ ____________

Child care.............................................................$ ____________

Taxes (property, auto, etc.)....................................$ ____________

Pet care.......................................................... .... $ ____________

Clothing/uniforms.................................................  $ ____________

Loan payments ......................................................$ ____________

Alimony/child support..............................................$ ____________

Financial support to other relatives.......................... $ ____________

Credit Cards...........................................................$ ____________

Personal (toiletries, allowances, etc.)...................... $ _____________

Religious/charitable contributions.............................$ _____________

Entertainment (movies, concerts, etc.)..................... $ ____________

Miscellaneous (classes, gifts, vacation)..................... $ ____________

Other.....................................................................$ ____________

Total Expenses........................................................$ ____________

Step 3: Comparing Income and Expenses

To learn how much money you have left over after paying all of your bills, subtract your total monthly expenses (Step 2) from your total monthly income (step 1).

Your total monthly income..........................................$ ____________

Your total monthly expenses..................................... $_____________

The difference equals =............................................ $_____________

If you find that your expenses are too high for your income, come up with ways to reduce your expenses. Do you eat out too often? Can you shop around for cheaper car insurance? Do not forget the small things like bringing your lunch to work or school instead of buying it each day. Small changes can add up!

Step 4: Setting Priorities and Making Changes

To complete your spending plan, you will need to decide what is most important to you. For example, if you want to buy a car, but also want to go out with your friends, you may have to set priorities. This does not always mean having to stay home and give up having fun with friends. It may mean that you and your friends rent a movie or watch one on TV rather than going out.

No Limits. And of course, never, never be afraid to ask for help!

 

 


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