Creating a SPENDING PLAN may not sound like the most exciting thing in the world to do, but it is vital in keeping your financial house in order.

Before you begin to create your SPENDING PLAN it is important to realize that in order to be successful you have to include all your financial details, no spending is too small to be listed.  It is imperative all spending is listed.

Ultimately, the end result will show where your money is coming from, how much it is where it is all going.

  1.  First, at the top of the page write down the date and amount you bring home each week, bi-weekly or monthly.    By that I mean the amount you receive in your account which is your net pay,  this is the amount you have to live on.
  2. Write down EVERYTHING you spend each day.   Most people remember their mortgage or rent payment,  but often forget the impulsive things they buy,   like a chocolate bar, the lottery tickets they buy on their way to work each morning.    I recommend that you carry a small notepad with you and write down everything you spend money on,  including lunch, magazines, and your morning coffee.    By keeping track of everything you spend money on, you will have a complete list of all your expenses, which will make it easier to create your Spending Plan.
  3. Savings:  Your savings must be included in your list of expenses?  Remember to pay yourself first;  consider it a debt you owe to you.    Have your bank do your savings automatically for you.
  4.  Your weekly,  bi-weekly or monthly income should equal the same as your expenses.   If your expenses are greater than your income, you will need to revamp your spending plan.
  5. Once you have created your spending plan your job is to make it work for you.   What are you willing to give up, to make your spending plan work?    I do not recommend stopping or modifying your savings,  if you do you are again putting yourself last. Look at the amount you spend on groceries,  cable TV, eating out.    Groceries are usually the bigger culprit; make a list of what you already have and shop accordingly, not because it is on sale.
  6. If you choose not to decrease your spending, are you prepared to take on a part-time job?    To spend more than you are making is to dig a hole while standing in the same spot,  eventually you will not be able to toss the dirt over your head and out.   You will need to go over your spending plan several times, before you get it right. Keep at it,  it is worth the effort
  7.  If you have a spouse you will have to work together to produce a spending plan that will benefit both you and your partner.
  8. Even if one person manages the day-to-day of the spending plan the partner should be aware of what is going on in that plan.
  9. After you have your spending plan as you want it,  your next step is to implement the plan.   
  10.  Set up weekly, bi-weekly or monthly meeting where you and your partner go over the plan,  you will need to visit the plan often in e beginning.    Then you can go over it at least once a month to make sure you are on tract.

Tessa- Marie Shillingford is the author of Controlling the Debt Monster. She is Personal Financial Planner, with a designation from the Institute of Canadian Bankers, and a Financial Counselor certified by the institute of Canadian Banker. She is presently a Program Facilitator of Financial Literacy at JVS Toronto. Tessa- Marie was employed by TD Canada Trust for twenty years in the retail section of the bank. During her tenure at TD Canada Trust she held various positions interacting with customers of the bank. As a Financial Advisor and Manager of Financial Services she led a group of Financial Advisors in helping customers of TD Canada Trust successfully manage their finances. Details of her book… Controlling the Debt Monster, can be found at http://www.controldebtmonster.com