Gather as much information as you can to determine a monthly average for expenses in each category. Going through your checkbook and your credit card bills for the past year will probably be helpful. Be sure to include periodic expense items such as auto insurance, taxes, etc., that may not be paid on a monthly basis. If you have not kept records in the past, some of the categories may be difficult to estimate. Give it your best shot, recognizing that if you don’t have records showing how much you’re spending in a particular area, the amount is probably more than you think it is!
The income figures at the top of the page should be your monthly take-home pay after taxes and other deductions. Make a note of any deductions (such as medical insurance, retirement contributions, etc). Where those items occur under expenses, enter the notation “payroll deduction.”
If your income varies from month to month, use a conservative monthly estimate based on the last two or three years’ earnings. Referring back to your income tax records could be helpful in making this determination. Remember, you are looking for after-tax, take-home income.
The gift list is an often overlooked or underestimated part of spending. Write the names of individuals you will be purchasing gifts for in the coming year. Remember to include cards, postage at Christmas, parties, etc. You may wish to include some money for as-yet-unannounced weddings, etc.
Click on the links below for the Gift List and What I Spend forms.