To manage personal debt, you need to figure out where your money is going.

Start by tracking everything you spend for 30 days on a notepad. Include all you monthly expenses, debt payments, and savings amounts. Use this information to build your spending plan.

For free courses and resources on budgeting and paying down debt, visit the Money Mentors website at


You can follow the steps below using Money Mentors’ Spending Plan Form to help you figure out your budget:

Step One: Write down your monthly expenses; include everything! Add all the amounts to get your Total Monthly Expenses in box (1).

Step Two: Write down your monthly net income (what you take home each month after taxes). Add all the amounts to get your Total Income in box (2).

Step Three: Write down your annual (yearly) expenses. (Tip: If you make payments on something every 6 months, add the payments together to get the annual amount). Add your total annual expenses, and then divide that total by 12 to get the amount paid each month in box (3).

Step Four: Add the totals from box (1), and (3) to get your total monthly expenses (4).

Step Five: Subtract your total monthly expenses (4), from your total monthly income (2) to get your balance. (example: Total Income $1500 – Total Expenses $1450 = Monthly Balance of $50).

If your monthly balance is a positive number, you could be saving money. If it’s a negative number (less than zero), you’re going into debt every month unless you can spend less.