Authors as Published

Heather Greenwood, Family and Community Sciences agent, Fauquier County

Congratulations! You have kept your spending log for a whole month. Now take all 4 logs and figure out what you spent last month. Fill in the charts below using the exact amount from your spending logs.
IncomeMonthly Amount
Your Take Home Pay 
Spouse's / Partner's Take Home Pay 
Child Support (received) 
Alimony (received) 
Disability Income 
Income - Expenses 

Is your actual spending different from what you guessed last week?

SpendingMonthly Amount
Fixed Spending 
Rent or Mortgage 
Car payment 
Furniture payment 
Other loan payment 
Car insurance 
Health insurance 
Disability insurance 
Life insurance 
Flexible Spending 
Electric bill 
Gas / Heating / Fuel bill 
Water bill 
Phone bill 
Other utilities: 
Total credit payments 
Car repair 
Oil change (car) 
Grocery store 
Eating out costs 
Cleaning supplies 
Doctor / Dentist 
Charity / Church 
Child care 

Matching Income and Spending

Answer these questions. Next ask your family the same questions. Are you surprised at their answers?

1. In what areas would you like to spend less next month?


2. Can you give up spending money in any area?


3. Can you lower what you spent in other areas?


Cutting Costs

Cleaning - Bleach is the best kitchen and bathroom cleaner. Baking soda removes baked-on grease spots on the stove.

Gifts and Donations - Give time in place of money to charities and churches. Make gifts for family and friends or give time - offer to baby sit, clean, do odd jobs, or run errands.

Cars - Run errands all at once to lower money spent on gas. Change oil often and keep car tuned to lower repair costs. Carpool when you can.

Utilities - Turn off lights. Use your air conditioning less. Turn your heater controls down. Seal cracks around windows. Only wash clothes when you have a full load. Always rinse clothes in cold water.

Telephone - Stop using Caller ID, voice mail, call waiting, and other extras. Cut back on long distance.

Food - Buy foods in season. Drink tap water in- stead of bottled water or sodas. Beans are healthy and low cost! Don't use prepackaged foods that cost a lot and are unhealthy. Use leftovers.

Adapted from Cutting Costs, Virginia Cooperative Extension publication 354-155. 1999

Keep up the good work! You are on the road to financial success.

For more information, contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension Office.

Reviewed by Mabel Dianna Edlow, Extension Specialist, Virginia State University

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

May 1, 2009