List Your Monthly Expenses

Determining monthly expenses can be a challenge, but don't become discouraged. Finding out what you really need or want to spend on a monthly basis is critical to managing YOUR MONEY. You will most likely have expenses that fall into 3 categories:

Fixed (FI): those expenses that stay the same every month, such as a mortgage or rent, auto insurance, perhaps day care costs

Flexible (FL): those expenses that change on a monthly basis, such as utility bills, food costs, gasoline costs

Periodic (PE): those expenses that only occur occasionally, such as holiday/special occasion gifts, doctor or dentist visits, car repairs.

Use the Monthly Expense Form (PDF) to list your expenses. Fill in all the items on the form that apply to your personal situation. In some cases, you won't know exactly what an expense will be -- just estimate as best you can; you can always make adjustments later. Try to mark each expense on your Monthly Expense Form as Fixed (FI), Flexible (FL) or Periodic (PE).

As you complete this form, you may feel a sense of dread coming over you. Don't panic... this is normal. Most consumers really do not realize what they are spending every month. However, this is a crucial step in gaining control of YOUR MONEY and YOUR LIFE.

When you have finished as much of the Monthly Expense Form as you can, add up everything (be sure you determine the MONTHLY cost for each item) and place it in your Money Management file.