Financial program managers such as you can help ensure your Service members and their families learn how to make a solid spending plan. Do they know that a spending plan, or budget, is simply a plan they can create to help them with their expenses and stop them from spending money without thinking? This way they can reduce their debt and build up their wealth. In keeping with the goals of Military Saves Month, share the following tips with them.
Spending Plan Tips
Use worksheets to make basic monthly spending plans. This will be your personal or household budget. It is an itemized list of expected income and expenses that helps you plan for how your money will be spent or saved, and you will be able to clearly see and track your actual spending habits.
On your spending plan worksheet, you will enter:
- Money coming in:
- Child support
- Any other cash benefits
- Money going out:
- Required expenses and regular monthly bills (housing, food, utilities, child care, car payment(s), insurance, credit card(s), doctor/medical bills, etc.)
- Money set aside for emergencies, etc.:
- Replacing/repairing your vehicle
- Home repairs
- Medical co-pays
- Other future expenses
- Discretionary spending:
- Eating at restaurants/takeout
- Going to the movies/other forms of entertainment
To Keep in Mind
- Creating a spending plan is a process. Try it, then tweak it to make improvements and try it again.
- After a few months of keeping track of your budget, you might discover that you are consistently spending more than you're bringing in. In this case, don't panic. Just take a closer look at where you are spending your money in the "discretionary spending" category and adjust those areas where you can make up the difference.
- If you discover that you consistently have money left over every month, you now have the opportunity to decide what to do with that extra cash. You can:
- Pay off certain loans faster.
- Contribute more to your retirement savings.
- Build up an emergency fund.
- Save up for that special purchase or trip.
For more information on putting your Service members on the path to financial success, browse the QuickSeries® library of guides, including 10-Step Spending Plan and Becoming Debt-Free. Do you need a customized outreach product? Reach out to an Account Manager today!