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How to create a spending and savings plan

Understanding how you spend your money is a key step to get a handle on your debt and work toward a savings goal. Here are four steps, along with online tools, to help you track where you are spending your money and how to make a spending and savings plan, provided by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (The CFPB implements and enforces federal consumer financial law):  

Step 1: Where does my money come from? The first step is to track all of your income and sources of money that you are using to live on.  CFPB tool to help you: Income Tracker.  

Step 2: Where does my money go? This is probably the toughest part of managing your money, to get a realistic picture of your spending for an average month. Record spending by categories like housing, utilities, money spent for groceries and eating out, entertainment and other expenses.  CFPB tool to help you: Spending Tracker

Step 3: What are all my bills and when are they due? To help you match your income to your monthly bills, create a calendar to help you plan when your income comes in and when your bills are due. If you’re coming up short by the end of the month, you’ll need to make a plan to reduce spending or increase your income. CFPB tool to help you: Bill Calendar.  

Step 4: Create your working budget. Once you’ve started tracking your income sources, your spending, and when your bills are due, create a plan for spending and saving. CFPB tool to help you: Budget Worksheet

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