Financial Literacy for Everyone

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It’s a balancing act

You need to buy a jacket, but you also want to buy a new phone. How do you choose?

To make good decisions about how to spend your money, start by setting your money goals and work toward achieving them with a plan in mind. A personal budget is a plan that helps you put the money you’ve earned toward savings, expenses (lunch, bus or entertainment money) or paying off debt (money you may have borrowed).

When you’re creating a budget, it is important to understand the difference between something you need to have and something you want to have.

Needs
food
clothing
lodging
Wants
games
bike
skateboard

Remember to take care of your needs first, so you can think about saving for what you want. A budget can not only help you consider your immediate needs and wants, but prepare you to achieve your long-term financial goals. You may have some short-term goals that you can achieve in a matter of weeks, or long-term goals that will take years to attain.

It all adds up

Start creating a budget by setting goals for how you would like to spend and save your money over a specific time period.

Be sure to consider everything you may want or need to purchase and separate those into categories. A ride on the bus would go under transportation, and a slice of pizza would fall under food.

Complete the budget below by filling out how much money you would like to spend in different categories each month. The goal of a budget is to have money left over for saving, so you should start by thinking about how much you earn.

fun fact

Did you know?

If you save the $6 you might spend on popcorn during a monthly trip to the movies, you could have $72 by the end of the year.

Turn spending into saving

The goal of a budget is to have money left to save.

Once you can see where you would like to allocate your money, you may be surprised by certain categories that add up more than you thought. These can be good opportunities to cut back. The money you spent on a trip to the mall might be better spent somewhere else, especially if you have $0 in your total savings for the month.

Planning a budget helps you make choices about which goals you want to prioritize.

short term goal

Short term goal

A new book for school.

medium term goal

Medium term goal

A new winter coat.

long term goal

Long term goal

A new smartphone.

Every once in a while, something unexpected happens and you have to spend more money than you planned. Whether it’s something small like stepping on your sunglasses and having to buy a new pair or something bigger like needing a new smartphone, it’s always good to have money saved for a rainy day.