Do you know where your money really goes?

  • Published
  • By Community Readiness Consultant Tracie Faulk
  • 341st Missile Wing
Do you ever wonder where your money is going? What you're spending it on and why it's gone so fast? How much are you really paying? Have you ever added it up?

We see the $1,000 flat screen television that we must have and we just buy it without a second thought. What about making responsible choices? How about saving each month and paying cash for that TV? Or not buying the magazine or coffee? What about paying debt off on time or saving for an emergency?

Making responsible financial choices is essential to financial stability. Financial planning helps map your spending and savings, regardless of your income. It's an overview, or picture, of where you are now, where you're going and what you need to do to reach your financial goals.

By understanding your own financial picture, the benefits of planning and developing financial goals will enable you to really take control of where your money is going. By taking control of your finances, you will know how much you need and when you need it.

Learning a few helpful strategies can really make a difference in your spending. For the next month keep track of your expenses. Every time you purchase something from a $4.50 latte to a tank of gas--write it down!

Write down what you purchase, where you purchased it and the price. At the end of the month review your expense sheet to evaluate areas you might be able to cut back on. Also, look at areas that are variable expenses such as entertainment, fuel and groceries.

Decide on what you believe is a reasonable amount to pay in these areas. You'll want to pay attention to non-monthly expenses as well, such as vehicle registration, holidays and vacations. Make sure you incorporate non-monthly expenses into your budget. Once again, determine a reasonable amount.

What are your priorities? When creating a budget you must have financial goals.  Setting goals will help keep you on track. Knowing why you're keeping a budget can help you stay on track.

Set priorities and save a little each month. Be reasonable by living within in your means and setting limits. Start with a budget you can live with. If you are too strict, you may not stick with the budget. Plan a budget that is realistic.

If you find your budget is not working, make changes. It might take a few months to find the budget that works for you. Also seek assistance, the Airman and Family Readiness Center has trained professionals available to help with your financial needs.

From developing a budget to eliminating debt to retirement investing, the A&FRC can help.

Call 731-4900 to schedule an appointment. With financial planning you won't wonder where your money is going. You will know!