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How To Budget Your Money. Ann House, MS, CFCS. Why should I budget my money?. Budgeting your money will help you make smart money choices:. Make your money go where you want it to go Pay off debt Resist the urge to overspend Make your money work for you. Budget Wisely.

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How To Budget Your Money

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How to budget your money

How To Budget Your Money

Ann House, MS, CFCS

Why should i budget my money

Why should I budget my money?

Budgeting your money will help you make smart money choices:

  • Make your money go where you want it to go

  • Pay off debt

  • Resist the urge to overspend

  • Make your money work for you

Budget wisely

Budget Wisely

Being smart about money can help you:

  • Start saving

  • Finance a higher education

  • Buy a house

  • Build a retirement fund

  • Improve the quality of your life

Steps for making a budget

Steps for Making a Budget

  • Total monthly income

  • Track expenses

  • Compare income to expenses

  • Evaluate and adjust

Total your monthly earnings

Total Your Monthly Earnings

List your salary or self-employment wages as well as any other income you receive, such as:

  • Bonus pay

  • Dividends and interest

  • Commissions

  • Alimony and/or child support

  • Public assistance

  • Pension or retirement income

Fixed expenses

Fixed Expenses

A fixed expense is a cost or obligation that occurs regularly and doesn’t vary in amount.

List fixed expenses

List Fixed Expenses

It’s important to know where your money is going. Make a list of all your fixed expenses:

  • Rent/mortgage

  • Car payment

  • Insurance

  • Groceries

  • Utilities

Variable expenses

Variable Expenses

A variable expense is a cost or obligation that occurs regularly, but may vary in amount.

Examples of variable expenses

Car repair


Lawn care














Examples of Variable Expenses

List variable expenses

List Variable Expenses

Write down all variable expenses for one month, even small ones.

  • This is important – it will help you understand your spending habits

  • Write down every purchase, even cash purchases

  • You may be surprised at how much you spend in each category

Discretionary expenses

Discretionary Expenses

Discretionary expenses are your indulgences – things you splurge on but that you can live without.

List discretionary expenses

List Discretionary Expenses

Look at bank/credit card statements and estimate expenses for cash purchases or keep a daily log to track these expenses. Examples:

  • Restaurants

  • Massage

  • Manicure

  • Concert tickets

Compare expenses to income

Compare Expenses to Income

Which is higher, your income or expenses?

  • If you’re spending more than you’re bringing home each month, you have a deficit.

  • If you’re spending less than you’re bringing home each month, you have a surplus.

If you have a deficit

If You Have a Deficit

If your income is less than your outgo, begin cutting back on nonessentials:

  • Spend less on variable expenses.

  • Use cash instead of credit cards.

  • Be realistic—take control of your spending now.

Use the step down method

Use the Step-Down Method

Instead of drastically cutting things out of your lifestyle, try the Step-Down method.

  • If your family has a tradition of going to a movie and dinner every week, try renting a movie and eating popcorn.

The step down method

The Step-Down Method

  • If a haircut at a salon normally costs $15, get a $5 haircut at a beauty college instead.

  • If you enjoy winter sports, try snowshoeing instead of skiing.

  • Offer your services in place of a gift, like babysitting for your sister for a night out.

Tips for saving from america saves

Tips for Saving $$$ from America Saves

  • Save $.50 a day in loose change$15

  • Bring lunch to work ($5/day) $100

  • Cut soda pop consumption (60¢ day)$18

  • Eat out 4 fewer times a month$60

  • Eliminate premium cable channels$20

  • Buy grocery store brands$10

  • Avoid credit card late fee$25

If you have a surplus

If You Have a Surplus

Saving is the key to a successful financial future. Direct your savings toward your primary objectives:

  • Emergency funds

  • Child’s education

  • Home ownership

  • Retirement

Additional sponsors

Additional Sponsors:



  • Trish Cutler

  • F. Dean Miner, Jr.

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