Cash Flow Sample Assignment

Use

Cost

Rent

$900

Parking

$200

Elec/Util

$40

Cable

$35

Food/ Groceries

$640

Entertainment

$565

Travel

$165

TOTAL

$2,345

The chart above represents an accurate summarization of my monthly spending for the time period beginning October 6th, 2011 and ending November 4th, 2011. The table is broken down into broad categories of spending. Included in the food/ groceries category are meal plans, cash spent on pre-made food, and cash spent on food I cooked. The entertainment section includes dues paid to the frat for social expenses in addition to anywhere that I spent my “leisure” dollar, like the movies or disco. The rent, parking, elec / util, and cable are all fixed costs that I incur each month.

In order to accurately keep track of my spending, I had to do two things. First, I had to calculate my fixed monthly expenses. These expenses include the monthly rent for my apartment, rent on where I park my car, the cable bill, and fixed meal plans and entertainment (frat meals, BRBs, frat social dues). Next, I had to track what I spent out of pocket. In order to do this, I used a notebook; at the end of each day, I would write down where I spent cash. At the end of the week, I would add up my spending and categorize the outflows. At the end of the month, I totaled the sum of all the categories to find my monthly cash spending, added that number to my fixed expenses, and was able to derive my total monthly spending.

Because I do not hold a job while I am at school and am completely supported by my family, my income is considered equal to my spending. All of this income is considered “gift” income. While there are many positives to this situation, it is not realistic in the real world. Because I have no real income, I cannot generate savings like I would hope to do when I graduate.

After analyzing my spending habits for a month, I was able to figure out where I am wasting money. Hopefully, this will help me to be more conscious in the future about my spending habits.

I noticed I was wasting a lot of money on food and groceries. I am in a fraternity and therefore I must pay dues to the frat for a meal plan, which is $250 a month. The frat provides all meals from Sunday – Thursday during the semester. In addition to this, I pre-purchased $100 a month worth of Big Red Bucks. That means I am spending an additional $290 a month on food. The issue with this, however, is that I am not taking advantage of all the meals I prepay for at the frat house. Often, I purchase my own food, and, thus, I am paying twice for one meal. I also do not use all of my BRBs in one month; this is not an issue, though, because that money can carry over to another month and be spent—it is not a sunk cost in a particular month.

I also noticed that I wasted some money that went towards social dues at the fraternity. While the fraternity provides a fun social scene, it is not always what I am looking to do. Therefore, there are many nights at the house when some of my money is allocated towards the social scene at the house that I am not participating in. I am, however, spending my own money at the bars. Once again, I am double spending.

In order to overcome these bad spending habits, I plan to be more conscious about the number of meals I eat at the fraternity and number of events I attend at the fraternity. This certainly should decrease my cash spending, thus decreasing my overall expenses.