Create a Spending Plan

Create a SpendingPlan

Most people know how much money they make per month, but are surprised to know how much they actually spend. With a spending plan you can see how much money you need to cover bills, loan payments, and everyday expenditures like gasoline for your car and entertainment. 

The key is to keep it simple and reference it at least twice a month. You can choose a spending plan that you update on a spreadsheet, keep track on a notebook, or use Ascentra’s My$Manager that is available through Online Account Access. It tracks spending and even lets you view spending and balances on accounts, loans and credit cards that you have with other financial institutions. If you do write it down, be sure to keep your information in a safe place.

Start with a list of monthly “Expenses” and next to it writein the “Amount” of that expense. Please reference the chart. You can do yourown or total household if you share expenses and earnings with another person.



Mortgage / Rent


Home/Renters insurance


Utilities: power, gas, water


Cable / Satellite






Home maintenance


Mobile phone


Auto loan


Auto insurance




Credit card payments


Life insurance


Health plan premium


Savings (Vacation/Any goal)


Savings (Emergency)


Lunches/ Eating out




School Tuition/Fees


School lunch


Day care




Newspaper / Magazines











Then start your “Earnings” list. Write in the “Amount”earned. List your monthly salary, your spouse’s monthly salary if you combineyour earnings, and any other form of income including child support, alimony,disability, and/or Social Security. Then add up your total monthly earnings.



Salary #1


Salary #2











Now subtract your total expenses from your total income andyou should have the amount of dollars left over and available each month. Thisamount should be used to pay down debt. Don’t forget to save for your two monthemergency fund.

If the amount available is a negative number then you have tomake some changes in your spending quickly. Look at your expenses; where canyou cut back? What can you eliminate?

You can only spend what you have available. Remember thatthis is a document that changes when you pay off credit cards, loans or as youget more monthly expenses. Stick to your plan, make adjustments as needed andset yourself up to be financially fit.