Money Management

Money Management can help you to live more comfortably and allow you to do things you really enjoy. It's the process of tracking expenses, budgeting, banking, spending, and assessing assets versus liabilities.

Budgeting Methods

The main purpose of creating a budget is to make a plan for spending, which allows an individual to take control of their finances and accomplish their financial goals.


Although many younger adults no longer use a checkbook, if you still do use a checkbook, usage of the checkbook register is a great way to control spending.

  • The register provides a place to record purchases and withdrawals, and periodically during the month, the register can be referenced to assess progress.
Notebook or Spreadsheet

A notebook or spreadsheet can be used to record expenditures on a day-to-day basis.

  • Individuals can write in amounts budgeted for items they plan to spend money on during a budget period.
  • Individuals can assign items to different categories, and build rows for each category.
  • Groceries, coffee, soda, vending machine purchases, restaurants = categorize as Food.
  • Build a Food row with a budget of $xx.xx.
  • Anytime money is spent within that category, an entry should be recorded in that row for the amount spent.
  • Calculate a declining balance for that category.
  • If individuals reach $0 within that category, they can either stop spending on those items or transfer a balance from another category and reduce spending for items within the category they transferred a balance from.

The Envelope Method works great in controlling a person’s spending on variable expenses such as entertainment, groceries, toiletries.

  • At the beginning of the month the exact amount of money to be spent on each category is placed into separate envelopes.
  • The category name and budgeted amount can be listed on the outside of each envelope.
  • As money is spent on each category, proper amounts of cash is removed.
  • When the envelope is empty, funds are exhausted for that category.
Digital Options

Excel spreadsheets or apps can be used to control spending.


Many people will use a combination of budget methods to plan for spending.

  • Track fixed expenses in a checkbook register, and use the envelope method to track variable expenses.

Whatever budget method or combination of methods you find useful, remember these three things:

  1. Attitude is everything! Be positive about the benefits of your spending plan. Set realistic goals that meet your values. If budgeting becomes a sacrifice, how likely are you to stick with it?
  2. Keep it simple! Simplicity will allow you to go back and adjust goals as your financial life changes.
  3. One-size does NOT fit all! Budgets are customized to fit you. Try different templates or approaches until you find one that works for you.

Finding the best budget apps

How you can decrease expenses

  • Cook at home.
  • Make your own coffee/tea.
  • Take your lunch to school/work.
  • Make a grocery list before going to the store (and stick to it!).
  • Don’t grocery shop when you are hungry.
  • Buy generic products if possible.
  • Avoid ATM and overdraft fees.
  • Carpool or ride a bike.
  • Shop at resale shops and garage sales.
  • Cancel any unnecessary subscriptions, such as cable or a landline.

Sharon Lechter. (2014, September 10). Savings Tips: Savings Tips. Sharon Lechter.

AFCPE®: Money Management Essentials.