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List Your Monthly Expenses

Determining monthly expenses can be a challenge, but don't become discouraged. Finding out what you really need or want to spend on a monthly basis is critical to managing YOUR MONEY. You will most likely have expenses that fall into 3 categories:

Fixed (FI): expenses that stay the same every month, such as a mortgage or rent, auto insurance, perhaps day care costs

Flexible (FL): expenses that change on a monthly basis, such as utility bills, food costs, gasoline costs

Periodic (PE): expenses that only occur occasionally, such as holiday/special occasion gifts, doctor or dentist visits, car repairs.

Use this Expense Tracking Form (PDF) to list your expenses. Write down your recurring expenses for the month. In some cases, you won't know exactly what an expense will be - just estimate as best you can; you can always make adjustments later. Try to mark each expense on your Expense Tracking Form as Fixed (FI), Flexible (FL) or Periodic (PE).

As you complete this form, you may feel a bit overwhelmed when you see how much is going out. Don't panic...that feeling is common when you start. Most consumers don't realize how much they are truly spending until they see their expenses listed. This is a crucial first step to gaining control of your financial situation.

When you have finished as much of the Expense Tracking Form as you can, add up everything (be sure you determine the MONTHLY cost for each item) and place it in your Money Management file.

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OCAP believes that financial literacy and understanding the financial aid process are critical aspects of college planning and student success. OCAP staff who work with students, parents, educators and community partners in the areas of personal finance education, state and federal financial aid, and student loan management do not provide financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice. This website and all information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to be construed as financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice.