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Spending - Head Matters


3. Spending Plan

Let’s  look at Jose to find out how a spending plan can change your financial situation.

Jose has a job at an office. His take home pay is $800 every two weeks, after taxes have been taken out of his earnings. Jose spent $650 in the first week after he got his pay check. He pays his $500 rent in installments of $250 every two weeks.  You can see how he runs out of money every two weeks.

Before Jose had a spending plan, he had a hard time making ends meet. He got paid every other Thursday and often went out with friends the next night, on Friday. He continued to spend money the next week, but by the following weekend he was down to his last few dollars. He didn’t have a credit card so he often used a pay day lender if he needed money in the three or four days before he got paid again. The payday lender’s hefty fees were really starting to cut into the amount he made. He knew he needed a change. His first step was to develop a spending plan.

Jose wrote down everything he spent money on for a month and realized that he spent money on a lot of stuff he didn’t really need, like eating out and snacks. Because he spent that money on wants as soon as he got paid, he often didn’t have enough money for his needs by the end of his pay period. Here’s an example of what Jose wrote down for one week:


Thursday Payday lender payment - $200.00 ($60 in fees!)
Soda - $1.50
Groceries - $35.25
New shirt - $22.45
 Friday Dinner out with friends - $10.75
Movies - $8.00
Snack - $1.75
Soda - $1.50
 Saturday Breakfast out - $6.50
Coffee - $1.10
Sunday Gas - $29.60
Snack - $1.75
Laundry mat - $10.50
 Monday Rent - $250
Bills - $56.70
Soda - $1.50 
 Tuesday Lunch - $5.90
Soda - $1.50
Candy bar - $1.75
 Wednesday Soda - $2.00  $2.00

When you’re working on a spending plan, it’s important to consider every dollar you spend – even on small things like sodas and snacks. It adds up! Jose spent almost $15.00 on sodas and snacks in just one week. If he did that every week – that would add up to around $60 a month and $780 a year. That’s almost a whole paycheck!

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