New Budget Wizard Turns Spending Plan into Interactive Activity

Post by: Kimberly Roy
Icon money spending plan

If you are taking a road trip this summer, you probably are mapping out one or two possible routes to your destination. You might take a fun detour along the way or have an unexpected pitfall, but at least you will start with an expected route that you can adjust as needed.

Budgets are similar. They are a general outline of how to get from where you are to where you would like to be financially. But just like when you’re driving along the highway, you might face slowdowns due to accidents or construction, or you might encounter an unexpected opportunity that is too good to pass up.

NEFE’s revamped Smart About Money (SAM) Budget Wizard is not just a worksheet. It guides you to create a spending plan based on your values and situation. You organize your money into spending categories, set your financial priorities, and update your plan as life happens.

Creating the budget, just like planning your trip route, is only the first step. Budgets need to be adjusted and course corrections made to keep up with changing circumstances. SAM’s Budget Wizard anticipates the need to update and adjust, so your budgets can be downloaded to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and saved in your SAM profile to adjust as needed.

As you create budgets for yourself or guide your students to create their own budget, remember that budgets are not meant to be starvation diets. In fact, if your budget is too restrictive, you're less likely to stick with it. It’s best to create a budget that balances your desire to reach your goals with your desire to enjoy the journey along the way.

Pairing HSFPP Lessons with SAM’s Budget Wizard 

SAM’s Budget Wizard aligns directly with the HSFPP Module 1: Money Management. Here are some specific practice activities students can complete using the Budget Wizard.

1) Lesson 1-4: Spending Plan

  • The first HSFPP module focuses on money management decisions. In the fourth lesson of that module students learn how to create a spending plan. The Budget Wizard can be used to complete the practice activities and performance assessment. Budgets created in the Budget Wizard can be downloaded into Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and submitted for review. The spending plan should reflect the recommended performance criteria outlined in the scoring rubrics for Challenge 1-A: My SMART Goals and Challenge 1-C: My Spending Plan.

2) Lesson 1-5: Cash Flow

  • In this lesson, students explore strategies to maintain a positive cash flow, including finding spending leaks by comparing their budget from the previous lesson to actual spending. SAM’s Budget Wizard allows them to return to their saved budget and enter actual expenses to compare with their projected spending categories. This is a great opportunity to talk about whether their projected spending was accurate, and how to adjust accordingly.
Tagged with: Newsletter June 2017

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