Welcome to Day 3 of the 30-Day Financial Wellness Challenge.
Each day will comprise of financial exercises, some short and others a bit longer, to help you become financially fit. The goal is to tackle different aspects of personal finances one day at a time.
After the 30 days, you’ll have a stronger understanding of your financial health and an action plan to improve your financial wellbeing. Review Day 2: Your Income Number.
On Day 3, we’re going to create your Expense Statement, a list of all your expenses.
You might be familiar with listing expenses because it’s a significant part of budgeting. A budget helps you allocate money for spending and used as guidelines for expenses. For the purpose of today’s exercise, we’ll focus on simply categorizing and listing all your expenses.
Fixed and Variable Expense Categories
Let’s start with the two main categories of expenses: fixed and variable.
Fixed expenses are the same each month like mortgage, rent, car payment, subscriptions, and installment loans or insurance premiums.
Variable expenses change each month like gas, utilities, car or home maintenance, food and entertainment. Basically, the amount billed or expense fluctuates based on usage.
Using fixed and variable categories are good. But, the vast majority of us don’t think of spending based on fixed or variable, so I like using expense types. It’s much easier to think about expenses based on the type, not the category.
Different Expense Types
The three distinct expense types are:
Bills are expenses that are necessary, needed, or essential to living. It includes your monthly mortgage or rent, insurance premiums, utilities, transportation, food, subscriptions, and credit card payments.
Debts are fixed financial obligations such as student loans, car loans, unsecured loans, etc.
Discretionary are expenses that aren’t necessary or an obligation. They are entirely at your discretion and include clothing, dining, entertainment, trips, and subscriptions.
Note: Savings can also be considered “spending” as you’re putting money aside for future expenses. But we’ll address savings later in the challenge.
List of common personal and household expenses
What are you spending on? Here is a sample list of expenses:
- cost of housing (mortgage/rent),
- utilities (water, electric, gas,)
- subscriptions (cell service, streaming services,)
- insurance (auto, home, life, renters, pet),
- dining and entertainment,
- groceries and household supplies,
- home and car maintenance,
- transportation (car payments, fuel cost, tolls, tickets, public trans)
- healthcare (copays, OTC medicine, prescriptions),
- debt like a credit card, personal loans, etc.,
- and also the expense of paying yourself first.
Learn more about listing monthly expenses using needs, wants, and saving goals.
What listing your personal and household expenses reveal?
An integral step in managing money and taking control of your finances is listing expenses to track how you’re spending money. This challenge creates financial awareness. It will help you know where you’re money is going, how you spend it, and what opportunities are available to achieve your goals.
Day 3 Assignment
Let’s complete your Expense Statement
- List all your expenses
- Multiply each monthly expenses by 12 (months) to calculate your annual cost
|Expense Statement||Monthly Cost||Annual Cost|
|Bills||Multiply x 12|
Expense Statement Tips
- Get very detailed with your Expense Statement
- Don’t forget annual expense and quarterly expenses
|Total Monthly Expenses||$|
|Total Annual Expenses||$|
Why is listing your expenses important?
- Increases financial awareness. It helps you see how you’re spending your money.
- Discover opportunities to reduce expenses.
- Get the personal financial assessment sheet to help identify expenses.
- Personal Capital is a free personal finance app with a 360-degree view of your money. With Personal Capital, you can see all your accounts in one place with planning and analysis tools.
- Spend trackers can help you see how you’re spending your money. Find a personal finance assistant in the marketplace.
Next Daily Challenge: Day 4 – What’s your Cash Flow?