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Mansfield Magazine

Budgeting Tips From MISD's Financial Services Director

Sep 20, 2016 05:11PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

How does one go about organizing their finances? How important is balancing a check book, and do people still do that? What is the best way to be realistic about their spending? 

We were able to get in touch with Mansfield ISD's Monica Irvin, RTSBA, CPA, Director of Financial Services, and get a few financial budgeting tips.

5 Tips from MISD's Financial Services Director

1.        A person should begin by writing down their “net” check amount.

This is the amount after taxes; your “bring home pay,” as sometimes we don’t realize the deductions that will be coming out of our paychecks. 

2.       Make a category for savings and start now. 

Making that the first thing out of the paycheck is so important; getting in the habit of putting back a little something for later.  

3.       Then subtract out fixed expenses such as car payments. 

Other examples include rent, insurance, utilities, etc.  What is left is your discretionary spending; these are the wants, not the needs…there is a difference. 

4.       Estimate the discretionary expenses. 

Track your discretionary expenses by putting them into categories such as groceries, household items, dining out, etc. and do this for every little purchase. I personally even go so far as to organize my grocery store purchases into categories so it make recording and tracking easier. 

5.       Evaluate.

See how much you are spending on each category to see where you stand compared to your income. If there is a shortfall, look at the categories and determine what could be cut back on.  Maybe eat out less, drive less, get a cheaper car, comparatively shop for the best deals, shop clearance racks, etc.  You can look for ways to earn extra money.  You should not ever impulse buy as you might fall short on a fixed expense.  Instead, sleep on it, evaluate the budget and see if there is room for this discretionary expense.

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