Money Mapping (Budgeting)

Understanding Your Money Map

Spending Less Than Your Income

Spending less than your income is good! This is called a surplus. It means you have money left over, or a positive cash flow. You’re in good shape.

When you plan a money map at the beginning of the month, plan to spend less than your expected income. At the end of the month, compare your Total Spending for needs and wants to your actual Total Monthly Income.

When you have a positive cash flow, you can put that left over money toward savings.

A woman sits at a table looking at a bank statement with her dog in her lap.
Lauren is reviewing her bank statement so that she knows how much she spent last month.

Spending More Than Your Income

Spending more than your income is not so good! This is called a deficit. It means you have overspent and have a negative cash flow. It is time to look at where you are spending too much.

What should you do if your actual spending is greater than your income? You may have to make up the difference by using your savings or by borrowing.

You will get yourself into financial trouble if you keep spending more than your income. Your monthly money map will help you clearly see this so that you can avoid over-spending.

If you find yourself spending more than you had for the month, don’t panic. Take a look at where you over-spent. Can you cut spending for entertainment? Could you stop eating out? In your money map, commit to spend less on your wants and try to stick to the plan. This is how you control your finances.


A money map is a plan for your money. It is good to revisit your money map at the end of every month before you start a new month. This way you can make adjustments based on whether you had a surplus or a deficit. The more you practice planning out how you will use your money, the better you will get at it – and the less likely it is that you will have a deficit at the end of the month.