It's Important to Know Where Your Money Goes

woman struggling with bills

Keeping a budget isn’t the easiest thing for everyone to do, but according to Berni Johnson-Clark, financial education manager with FamilyMeans Consumer Credit Counseling Service, “it’s important to know where you’re spending your money.”

Berni recommends that even if a person chooses not to keep a budget, it’s critical to still track spending, and know what your fixed expenses versus your flexible expenses are, as well as expenses that only occur periodically throughout the year, such as a person’s license tab renewal or hobbies.

“Even tracking for three weeks will give you a pretty good indication of how you’re spending your hard-earned money,” Berni said. “It can be quite a surprise to see how your daily small cup of coffee, a lottery ticket purchase, or even withdrawing some extra cash can add up very quickly.”

For some, it’s a good realization to truly know where every penny is spent; for others, it may be eye-opening to see their expenditures exceed the money they bring in each month and even if it’s a small amount, the accumulation of expenses can lead to more grave financial situations.

“Many times people have no idea how much they’re spending at the gas pump,” Berni added. “When all of a sudden they’re spending $100 more than they planned, the rubber meets the road to begin learning how to budget.”

FamilyMeans works with thousands of individuals and families each year through credit counseling, bankruptcy, debt management, and financial education classes, the latter which are offered ongoing throughout the year. Some of the class offerings include Personal Budgeting, Successful Credit Management, and Tips for Twosomes; and online courses such as Better Fortunes and Money in Motion.

In addition, FamilyMeans, in conjunction with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, offers a free online assessment to determine your general financial health through MyMoneyCheckUp. Visit to participate in or learn more about any of the financial education opportunities.