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Tools to Use
Budgets and Spending Plans
Know Your Paycheck
Checking Accounts
Savings Accounts
Credit Cards
Wants vs. Needs
Invest in Yourself
Financial Goals
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What's a Spending Plan?

A spending plan is essentially the same as a budget. It's just a different way to look at things. Many people prefer to think of planning, rather than budgeting, how they'll spend their money.

BUDGETS AND SPENDING PLANS

Spending plans and budgets are tools that help you take a realistic look at your income and expenses. With this information, you can figure out how to successfully manage your money.

DANCE DILEMMA

This great boy in Sandra's biology lab invited her to the spring dance at his fraternity. And she was thrilled. Grabbing two of her biology major friends, Sandra and company hit the mall. By the end of the afternoon, Sandra had her outfit—a gorgeous new gown, earrings, shoes, new eye make-up and an evening wrap. Her friends pronounced her, "fabulous." When she got back to her dorm, she spread her goods on the bed. Quickly, she added up her purchases and subtracted the amount from her checking account balance. If her calculations were correct, she only had $35 left from her scholarship stipend to last until the end of the semester—more than one month away! She had finals to get through, Sunday dinners to pay for—her meal plan didn't cover Sundays—and she owed her roommate for gas.

If you were Sandra, what would you do?
Think of some creative solutions. (Begging a family member for money doesn't count!) Here are some of our ideas:

  • Sandra could borrow a friend's gown and return her purchases. Or she could wear an older gown that her date has never seen.

  • She could keep the dress and return the accessories.

  • She could clean out her closet, taking unwanted wardrobe items to a consignment shop that pays up-front.

  • Sandra could take the new duds back and shop for a cool vintage gown.

It is also important to think about budgeting for both the short and long term. Go to this next section to learn more.

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