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Fixed Vs. Flexible Spending

Many people made it a goal this year to improve their financial wellbeing, and one way to do that is by looking at different types of expenses: fixed and flexible.  By keeping track of your fixed and flexible expenses in your spending plan, you can see exactly where your money is going and possibly see where you can make adjustments to your budget.   Fixed expenses are what you pay for consistently, such as your rent or mortgage, car payments, day care, phone plan, utility bills, etc.  These don’t leave a lot of wiggle room to make tweaks to your budget.  On the hand, with flexible expenses, you have more say in what you spend on these items, and you may or may not spend on these every month.  Flexible expenses can be dining out, groceries, hobbies, gifts, clothing, entertainment, and more.  Look at what you spend on flexible expenses, and see if you can make any adjustments or cuts (Torres, et al., 2012).  If you feel like you are just barely covering your fixed expenses, don’t have enough to fully attack your debts, or you don’t have a lot that you are putting away towards savings, try seeing what you can do about your flexible expenses.  For example, by not dining out or going to the movies, you will have more money to put towards saving, investing, paying off debt, or putting away towards a goal, such as a family vacation.  It may require a bit of a lifestyle change, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.  Making sacrifices today puts you in better financial shape for your future.  You may be surprised at how much “extra money” you can find once you start recording where your money is going, and will find the sacrifices to be worth it.

References:

Torres, N.I., Turner, J., and Williams, B.C.  (2012).  Building a Spending Plan: All Six Steps.  Retrieved from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/he827

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