The Spending Plan tab allows you to document, track and plan a customer’s monthly cash flow. Accurately tracking income and expenses can be really helpful for understanding spending habits and patterns. It’s also a great way to begin to think about how to plan for saving.
Click on the “Spending Plan” tab to enter information about your customer’s income and monthly expenses.
Entering Monthly Income:
Enter any income the customer earns on a monthly basis in the “Monthly Income” section by clicking blue circle with the plus sign next to the Baseline button on the far right of the screen. Two icons will pop-up beneath the circle. If you hover your mouse over these icons you’ll see that the first is income and the second is benefits. This allows you to choose the type of income you’re entering.
Once you select the appropriate income type, a box will pop up for you to enter the information about that income.
If you’re entering income earned, Change Machine allows you to name the income source (or budget name) and enter any relevant information about that income including:
Initial Take Home Amount: the dollar amount of income earned after taxes and withholdings
Income Frequency: whether the income is received, weekly, biweekly, annually, is a one-time occurrence or “gig-based” (or total amount earned from gig-based jobs, such as ride-share services, in a month)
Income Category: where the income comes from, whether it’s a full-time job, money received from alimony payments, or something else.
Industry: the category of the activity by which the income was earned, if the income was earned through employment
Income Term: the terms under which the income is earned, at-will/permanent employment, seasonal or contract
And there is an option to include the end date for the income, in the event that it is earned for a specific period of time.
If you’re entering income from benefits earned, Change Machine allows you to enter a name for the benefit and select the type of benefit (such as social security or SNAP) and the amount earned.
Reminder: Don't forget to baseline your income!
Entering Monthly Expenses
Collect information from your customer to complete the Monthly Expenses tab.
Tip: Your customer is entrusting you with what is often perceived as sensitive information. Support your customer by having non-judgmental conversations. Every individual has different values; often, your personal values may differ from your customer's.
Enter any monthly expense the customer has in the “Monthly Expenses” section after clicking the blue circle with the plus sign next to the Baseline button on the far right of the screen. A pop up modal will appear and allow you to choose the expense category.
Change Machine allows you to add expenses by category by way of an exhaustive list of potential categories, from groceries to phone bills, and is searchable at the top.
It also allows you to choose the number of times a category will appear, for instances when you might have multiple expenses from the same category. For example, perhaps there are two car payments for two separate cars, the system will allow you to input and denote both payments twice by creating another row under that category.
If you click "Elevate Common Expenses", the system will automatically raise the common expenses to the top of the list for your convenience.
Once all of the categories have been chosen, they will appear on the screen so that you can enter all of the relevant information about that expense.
Once all expenses are entered, press “Save All & Close” when you’re done adding the expenses from this view. You can always add more expenses later on as well!
Tip: Talk with the customer about how they can track their expenses through the month.
You can enter the actual amount spent on each expense in the Actual Expense by clicking on the pencil next to that box.
Entering Savings Goals
A Savings Goal is where the customer can allocate a monetary amount to the goals they outlined in the Action Plan. So say if a goal is to buy a house, a Savings Goal can be to save an amount for the downpayment of the house. We can tie this to Taxes later on, which we’ll discuss later, but it’s important to note the importance of this section.
To enter any savings goals the customer has made in the “Saving Goals” by clicking the blue circle with the plus sign on the far right of the screen.
Two icons will pop-up beneath the circle. If you hover your mouse over these icons you’ll see that the first is “Target Amount” and the second is “Target Date”. This allows you to choose to enter a savings goal by a goal amount or by a specific date.
Once you select how you’d like to enter the savings goal, a box will pop up for you to enter the information about the goal.
Change Machine allows you to enter information about the Savings Goal including:
Budget Name: a name that describes the customer’s Savings Goal such as “buy car”
Savings Goal Category: a drop down with a list of savings goal categories to select from such as celebration or education
Savings Goal Term: a drop down that allows you to choose whether this is a short, medium, long-term goal or a retirement goal
Savings Goal Status: a drop down that allows you to make note of whether the customer is actively saving, has achieved a goal status, or is not actively working on this goal
Savings Goal Amount: in this box you’ll enter the amount of the savings goal
Initial Amount Saved for Goal: here, you’ll enter any savings the customer has already put aside towards this goal
Savings Goal Target Monthly Savings: in this box you’ll enter the target amount to be saved each month
Savings Goal Description: this box allows you to include any details about the savings goal that may be helpful or useful to make note of
Once the savings goal is entered, it will appear in the “Savings Goals” section.
You can edit Savings Goals at any time by clicking on the white circle with an x in the center at the far right of the Savings Goal you’d like to adjust. Two icons will pop up beneath the white circle, one indicating that you can edit the goal by month and the other indicating you can delete the month.