Managing your spending to achieve your goals

Getting feedback on spending can help you keep your spending in check.

Managing spending sharegraphic

Have you ever lost track of how much money you spent during the week, and ended up spending more than you meant to? If you’re having trouble sticking to a budget or saving money, you are not alone. According to consumer marketing research, nine out of ten shoppers report that they frequently buy items not on their shopping lists. When people overspend, they may have to dip into savings or borrow money, sometimes at a high cost, to make up for the difference between what they earn and what they spend.

Feeling in control of your day-to-day, month-to-month finances is a key part of your financial well-being. Don’t get discouraged if you’re having trouble managing your spending—we have tips and tools to help you plan and stick to a budget.

We recently talked with consumers and found that many of them aspire to manage their spending better. We heard that people would like to use budgets and plans, but these tools can be hard to use in guiding spending decisions in the moment.  

We found that people were interested in getting real-time feedback at the point of purchase to determine if purchases fit into their budget. Over 90 percent of the consumers we talked with were interested in tools that could tell them how much money would be left in their budget if they bought something. These consumers said that spending feedback tools could help them curb impulse spending, manage spending on special occasions, and reduce uncertainty about their financial situation.

You can apply this research to your own financial life. We’ve created a worksheet with tips that can help you manage your spending. You can use the worksheet to:

  • Track where all your money goes 
  • Create a budget
  • Decide how much to spend
  • Keep track of where you are

To read the research that helped inform these worksheets, take a look at our report on Consumer Insights on Managing Spending .

If you are a financial educator or work with consumers around money issues, check out our Managing spending: Ideas for financial educators

Due to technical issues, the commenting feature of our blog is temporarily unavailable. We’re working to bring this functionality back, and look forward to hearing your feedback and comments about the CFPB’s work soon.