Debtors Anonymous - Record Keeping and Planning - Spending Records and Spending Plans

Spending Records and Spending Plans

"Keeping numbers" is a daily practice that requires recording each cent owed, spent and earned, including recording any part of a debt that has been paid. Members use different methods to keep their numbers, a simple approach is to carry a small notebook and record numbers in it daily. Daily records are used to create monthly spending records with income and expenditures separated in to specific categories (e.g. rent, groceries, phone, entertainment, etc.). The purpose of these records is to increase clarity, cutting through any denial about how much money is being earned and spent. A detailed spending record will show values, habits and responsibilities.

Spending records are used to create spending plans. A spending plan is essentially a list of all goods and services to buy in a given month. Members regularly review their spending plans and assess whether items and amounts in the plan are reasonable. The spending plan puts the member's needs ahead of the creditors and should not cause one to incur unsecured debt. Spending plans should include categories for income and debt repayment. Unless one is having trouble meeting very basic needs, it should also include a category for savings.

Accompanying a "real" spending plan is an "ideal" spending plan, detailing what one's finances would look like in an ideal universe, how much money one would earn, and how it would be spent. The ideal spending plan focuses efforts on increasing income and following a vision for the future. DA avoids using the term budget, as its connotation may imply rigid categories. A spending plan is designed such that one has the best possible life under their present financial circumstances. Spending plans are flexible and convey that there are options, that one chooses how to spend money.

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