Where Does Your Money Go? – Creating a Personal Money Plan

Coffee, Donut, Newspaper - Expenses can add up
Where does your money go? Discovering all the little places you spend your money can be eye-opening

Where does your money go? Before you can begin to create a Personal Money Plan, you must determine where it is going.

Where Does Your Money Go and How Much Do You Spend?

Right now, grab your SMS Finance Journal and write down all of those big expenses you face throughout the year and how much you think you spend on each. Include things like rent/mortgage, car payments, credit card payment, and insurance.

If you spend money on a business you own, a similar approach may be used to gain control over your business money, but keep these expenses separate from your personal expenses. Business expenses and business money plans will be looked at in depth in future posts. If you spend money looking for a job, write that down as well as the amount you spend in your personal expenses.

Once those major payments have been written down, think about other payments you make such as food, gas, electric, and membership dues. Don’t forget to also include things such as gift money as well as money for savings and donations. Write these down as well.

Finally, after all the big monthly expenses have been accounted for, take a look at those little expenses that can really add up over the course of the year. Keep track of and write them down this week. You may be surprised at how often you shell out a dollar or two for little things like coffee, a candy bar, newspaper, or a soda. All those little dollars add up.

Look Over Your Expenses

By the end of the week, you should have a list of most of your yearly expenses. It usually takes a month or two of remembering and realizing hidden expenses to get a completely accurate list, but you must start somewhere. Be sure to look your list of expenses over and include things which may be out of season costs like summer daycare for school aged children and increased gift money at Christmas time.

Next Monday, I will include a list of household expenses for you to check against your own list. I do not include it in this step because I want you to really think about your own personal money plan rather than to have one handed to you. If you invest time and thought into your own personal money plan, you are more likely to succeed.

If you do not have a SMS Financial Journal, you may be able to set up a chart like this for your expenses:


Rent monthly $1900
Groceries weekly $150
Dining Out (pizza) monthly $46
Clothing monthly $75


Obviously you may have many more columns, but this should give you an idea of how to get started. Leave extra rows at the bottom of your list for expenses you have forgotten about or are unsure of how to classify at this point. Also, leave the last column blank. We will come back to that soon.

What Are Your Dreams? What Does Financial Success Mean to You?

Last week, I asked you to write down at least 10 goals that you would mean you have reached financial success and post them somewhere visible. Do not worry about how realistic you think they are at this point. Just post them and keep your eye on the prize!

Action – Really Know Where Your Does Money Go!

Begin your Spending Chart. Write down EVERYTHING you spend money on no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time. ______________________________________________________________________________

SMS Monday posts offer financial advice and an easy to use, real life money plan from someone who has faced many of the same struggles you have.

Next Week: Household Budgeting – What Are Your Expenses?

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