Step 5: Manage Your System

The fifth and final step in developing an effective spending plan is to commit to manage your system for the long term. The key to any successful spending plan is to get into the habit of managing a system that works for you.

  • Track expenses regularly
  • Pay bills regularly
  • Balance your checking (spending) account monthly
  • Review goals annually or after major life change
  • Does your spending plan fit with your goals?

As you can see, you need to start with the end in mind—always keep your goals in mind as you develop your road map for spending.


  • Set SMART goals by making them specific, measurable, adjustable, realistic, and time-oriented.
  • Try several tracking methods and then use the one that works for you.
  • Use spending plan work sheets and the cash-flow statement to help you reach your goals.
  • Give yourself an annual checkup and make adjustments as necessary.