Plan Your Spending EVERY MONTH

I provide one-on-one financial counseling for 10 to 15 people each week.  In this counseling, we usually put together a spending plan for the upcoming month.  This is usually a VERY eye-opening experience!  The words "WOW!" and "Oh my goodness!" and "That's insane!" are commonly said (No – I am not the one saying that!).

Folks then leave with their spending planned for the next month.  They have spent every dollar on paper.  If they follow the plan, they will start winning in a way they never have before.  Two or three months pass and we meet again – only to find out that they are still trying to use the same spending plan we had put together!


Why?  Well, every single month is different.  Now, some costs are fixed (or close to being fixed) like the mortgage, rent, insurance, car payment, student loan payment, etc.  However, many expenses are variable – they don't happen every month.  Items like vacation, Christmas, weddings, baby showers, graduations, weekend getaways, etc.  If you do not plan your spending every month, you will not maximize the use of your money!

Let me give you a practical month.  In this month of May, Jenn and I traveled to Atlanta the weekend of 5/5.  This past weekend?  Wow!  We traveled to seven states, 2000 miles, for two graduations (Jenn's sisters) and a wedding shower.  This next weekend, we are going to another graduation – my twin is graduating from medical school.  Is that a typical month?  I HOPE NOT!  The "gifts" part of our budget for May is HUGE!  Next month will be calmer in the gift category, but the vacation line item will be boosted.

Get the picture? 

Every month is different.  It only takes 15 minutes to tweak the budget and make it work fabulously well EVERY SINGLE MONTH!


  1. Tonya on August 11, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    I just happened upon your site while gooling a bunch of budgeting info. Thanks for such a great site! Anyhow, dh and I have been life long budgeters, but definitely had to retweak things when he started his own business 3+ years ago. We are finally now getting on a consistent income and I am retweaking our budget. We have a family of 6 and part of the problem is I don’t know what’s realistic spending in some categories. What would you say is the average and/or appropriate spending per year (or percentage) for gifts: birthday, Christmas, baby shower, etc.

  2. Michelle Haughton on October 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I am a CNA that does in home health care. I have a schedule where I am assigned hours at different clients…but the schedule can and does change and lately, it’s changing faster than I can keep track of. I am finding it very difficult to budget! Love my job, but definitely having trouble with budgeting just about now. Help?
    Slump funds are great, when you have them already there…I don’t. And I am definitely hitting the slump…

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