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Learn... Plan... Act... Save

Steps to Build Plan
  Step 1 -Track and document your spending
  Step 2 - Organize expenses into categories
  Step 3 - Document your income
  Step 4 - Determine and analyze cash flow result
Calculators
  Budget Planning Calculator
  Budget Tracking Calculator
  Budget Comparison Calculator (Bankrate)
  Budget Comparison Calculator (CNN Money)
Tools
  Monthly Expense Record (pdf)
  3-Month Expense Record (Excel)
  Monthly Expense Record (html pages)
  Monthly Budget Planner (pdf)
  Monthly Budget Planner (Excel)
  Monthly Budget Planner (html page)
Organize your expenses into categories

Now that you have added all of your expenses and necessary savings to the expense record, it's time to organize your spending into various categories. For example, it's more important to know how much you spend a month going to the movies rather than how much you spend each time. The intent here is twofold: 1) create expense categories, and 2) determine the total amount spent in each category during the past month (or in an average month).

If you printed one of our expense records, then the categories are already defined for you. Simply add up the costs for each defined category. If you wish to create your own categories, then use a blank piece of paper and write down the categories that are appropriate for your expenses. You may review our list of categories to help you define your own. Then you can add up the similar items and write the monthly total next to each category. For example, one of your categories is groceries. You would go through the expense sheets, identify every item that is related to groceries, and then add them all up. You might also want to put a check mark next to each item as you add them up so that you will know what items still need to be included in other categories.

Step 4 - Document your income

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  Use our list of categories