Making Ends Meet

3. Your Family Spending and Saving Plan

When you have a clear picture of your family’s goals and income, you are ready to start your spending and saving plan. To begin the plan, you should determine your family’s expenses.

Look back to what you have spent on basic things such as food, clothing, and housing. Seeing what these things have cost your family in the past can give you an idea of what future spending will be. Records you may have such as bills, canceled checks, and receipts will help you be more accurate in determining your family’s expenses.

As you look at your expenses, consider which ones are fixed expenses, which ones are flexible, and which ones are periodic expenses.

Fixed expenses stay about the same. They include things such as rent or house payments, insurance, time payments, and charge accounts.

Flexible expenses, while they may be necessary, vary in amount from week to week or month to month. These include such items as food, clothing, utilities, gasoline, personal and recreation expenses, savings, gifts, medical care, and educational expenses.

Periodic expenses occur quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. These expenses include things such as driver’s and automobile licenses, subscriptions, Christmas spending, and automobile insurance. You should set money aside regularly to meet these expenses when they are due.

You should also keep in mind unexpected emergencies that may occur. These might be such things as automobile repairs, household repairs, and medical bills. You may want to develop a special emergency fund to help cover these expenses.

The chart below can help you develop your family spending and saving plan. You may want to develop your plan on a weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly basis, depending on how often you are paid.

Our Family Spending and Saving Plan

Fixed Expenses Date Due Amount Due
__________________________ ___________ ________________
__________________________ ___________ ________________
__________________________ ___________ ________________
__________________________ ___________ ________________
Periodic Expenses Date Due Amount Due Amount To Set Aside
______________________ _________ ___________ ________________
______________________ _________ ___________ ________________
______________________ _________ ___________ ________________
Flexible Expenses Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Food _____________ _____________ _____________ _____________
Gas _____________ _____________ _____________ _____________
Electricity _____________ _____________ _____________ _____________
Clothes _____________ _____________ _____________ _____________
Laundry _____________ _____________ _____________ _____________
Gasoline _____________ _____________ _____________ _____________
Medicine _____________ _____________ _____________ _____________
Doctor, Dentist _____________ _____________ _____________ _____________
Church _____________ _____________ _____________ _____________
Gifts _____________ _____________ _____________ _____________
Recreation _____________ _____________ _____________ _____________
Personal Care _____________ _____________ _____________ _____________
Insurance _____________ _____________ _____________ _____________
Savings _____________ _____________ _____________ _____________
Other _____________ _____________ _____________ _____________

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