TRACKING YOUR SPENDING

Personal Finance Portfolio: Part 8
   
Note: This is one part of a Personal Finance Portfolio in the course that we will be working on throughout the semester. The completed portfolio will count 10% of your final grade. 
Activity Goal
A budget allows you to compare your spending against your income. If you find that the amount you spend is more than what you earn, changes need to be made. A budget also allows you to start to think about what spending is more important to you, and what spending you can cut back on.
Budgeting can lead to some tough decisions. You have studied how governments and businesses use cost-benefit analysis to evaluate their options. In this worksheet, you will use cost-benefit analysis to help you consider your own budget.
Directions

Figure your weekly income by adding what you make from your job in a month and what you receive in monthly allowance, then dividing by four.

Figure your weekly expenses by tracking your spending (MS Word 15KB)    over one week. If necessary, divide any monthly expenses, like a cell phone bill, by four to get your weekly cost. You do NOT need to submit the completed table for a grade. Then use the four steps below to help you create a new budget. Your answers to these four questions below will be graded. 

Questions

Does your current spending match your current income? If your spending is more than your income, how much is the difference?     

In what budget category do you spend the most money? Do you have room to adjust this category, or are the costs fixed?     

Pick one category from your budget to examine through cost-benefit analysis. Make sure it is a category that you have the ability to adjust one way or the other. When you consider what benefits you gain from a spending item, include aspects such as enjoyment, satisfaction, and happiness. 

Write down what benefits you get from spending in this category. What needs and wants are being fulfilled? 
Consider any alternatives that may also satisfy the same wants and needs, and list them below. 
Weigh some of these options against your current budget. Are there any options that provide you the same benefit at a lower cost? Any options that may provide greater benefit at the same cost? If you need to reduce your budget, is there any way you can cut spending but still satisfy the same needs and wants?
  

Research shows that those who regularly contribute to a charitable organization have higher self-esteem and developed social skills. Using the cost-benefit process, is there any spending areas that you could replace with charitable donations?    

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