Fox Money Blueprint: Creating a Spending Plan For Success

Transforming your finances with a budget that works

Welcome back to the Fox Money Blueprint! In the previous blog posts, we discussed how to take a financial inventory, set goals and identify where you are at in your financial journey with a variety of worksheets. Here, we’ll tackle the next step in the process, which is creating a spending/saving plan. 

How to create a stress-free budget

Creating a budget, or a spending/saving plan, is perhaps the most important part of the Fox Money Blueprint process. There is so much you can learn about yourself, your dreams, your spending habits, and your goals in this first step. It all starts with putting some information down on the spending/savings plan or budget

As you fill out this worksheet, we encourage you to be kind to yourself and try and reserve judgement about your current or past spending habits. Completing a spending and savings plan like this is a huge accomplishment and a big step forward in your journey to improving your financial health and wellbeing. It’s something to celebrate!

How to identify spending habits to create a realistic budget

The spending/savings plan serves as the concrete slab for your financial journey. Once you have completed it, then it’s time to start finding ways to optimize your wallet. Don’t forget to add your top three goals to this spending plan as a reminder of where you are heading.

Identify your spending habits

Looking at your budget worksheet, is there anything that surprised you? Did you have a surplus or a deficit? Did you have more funds at the end of the month than you expected or less? Are there any areas that you would like to spend less or more in each month? These are just some things to think about as you use the spending/savings plan to understand how your money is spent monthly.

Analyze and optimize your budget

Now that you have identified your monthly spending and 3 financial goals, this is a great time to start looking at ways to optimize your current spending/savings plan. Are there areas where you would like to spend less? Consider refining your budget to have less money planned for that category. 

  • Are there any categories where you keep overspending in? Consider reserving more funds each month for that category and observing over the next few months if that is beneficial to do longer term. 
  • Are you interested in increasing your savings each month? Are there any categories where you think you might want to reduce spending? 
  • Setting a “date night” or “fun night” once a month or once every 2 weeks where you go out for dinner and spend a budgeted amount of money.
  • Setting a weekly/monthly meal plan with a rotating list of 5 of your favorite easy meals. Grocery shop for all the ingredients and prep meals in advance for no-stress dining. 
  • Consider creating more income. Could you sell something? Can you develop a side hustle using your skills and natural talents? 

This is a great time in the process to write out a plan, using a fresh copy of the spending/savings plan to outline a budget that aligns with your goals. Feel free to put those new spending goals in the “future” column of the spending plan.

Fine-tuning your financial budget

The new spending/savings plan you created is a living, breathing document. It’s possible that your initial estimates are not 100% accurate. This is why it might make sense to track your expenses going forward for a few months to get a better estimate of your spending. Tracking puts your money on record, so you know where you stand. As you track, you get a clear picture of things that need to stay and those things you can lessen or do away with altogether. 

Fox Ripple Effect Financial Makeover Challenge

As you learn new skills with the Fox Money Blueprint, you can also follow 3 teams of Fox members and all that they are learning as part of the Fox Ripple Effect Makeover Challenge.

Fox Communities Credit Union launched this new event on April 2 and challenged 3 teams to reduce debut, build savings and improve their credit scores for chances to win cash prizes.

Each team works one-on-one with a Goodwill Financial and Debt Solutions Services personal finance coach to learn new skills and work towards their financial goals in this 6-month challenge. The team with the largest improvement in each of those 3 financial areas will receive up to $5,000, with a $2,500 prize for 2nd, and $1,500 for 3rd place.

Catch all the updates from the participants on Fox’s social media channels and blog!