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Military Finances 101: Building a Spending Plan

Managing Your Finances

Today's Blog Post Was Written by Financial Coach Tonia Peasley


Even those of us that spend our days with the “numbers,” need to spend time evaluating whether our spending is in line with our goals.  The COVID situation gives us all time to re-evaluate our priorities in life and to tighten up our spending.  To do that, using a generic spending plan is a good place to start.  It’s designed for after-tax income. To find out how much you can spend in any area, just multiply your monthly after-tax income times the percentage. For instance, according to the plan, you can afford to spend $688 on housing ($2,150 times .32 = $688).

A Generic Spending Plan

                                   

Spending

category

Typical budget percentage

Example with a $2,150 monthly income

Housing

32%

$688

Auto

15%

$323

Food

15%

$323

Insurance

5%

$108

Debts

5%

$108

Entertainment

7%

$151

Clothing

5%

$108

Savings

5%

$108

Medical / dental

5%

$108

Miscellaneous

6%

$129






This is just a guideline. You’ll need to adapt it to your situation. If you live in a major metro area, you might spend more on housing and clothing than the guideline recommends, but because you can use public transit (and not a car), you may need less for auto.  If you are feeding teenagers, your food category might be much higher.  

Using percentages and buckets to track spending make it easier to make changes when appropriate.  The categories and percentages created are just an average, but it gives you a place to start.  The next step is holding yourself accountable to stick to the categories.  If you would like more help with creating a spending plan and then working with someone that will help you be accountable to a plan, give me a call.


If you found this article useful, you might like the following blog posts:

Military Finances 101:  SGLI


Military Finances 101:  Retirement Accounts


Military Finances 101: Liquidity Risk






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