The Savings Tool is a budgeting worksheet on which users can develop a savings plan.
A picture of the Savings Tool (Excel version) appears below.
Within our project some participants were helped to use an online version of the Savings Tool. The online version has not been made available on this webpage due to privacy concerns.
An Excel version of the Savings Tool is available with similar contents. The Excel version can be downloaded and printed on an A4-sized sheet of paper.
Before advancing in the present toolkit, please download the Savings Tool (Excel version):
Easy steps to use the Savings Tool.
1) Rough-draft Savings Plan:
First users should create a Savings Plan. This can be revised later. The Savings Plan includes the following items.
- Something a user wants to buy in the next 12-months: e.g., a bike
- How much it will cost: e.g., 100 GBP
- How much they have already saved: e.g., 25 GBP
- How much they plan to save over the next month: e.g., 25 GBP
After filling in the above items the Savings Tool automatically calculates how much more money users need to save to reach their goal.
2) Monthly Income
Now users should enter their monthly income.
The monthly income should include the amount of money users typically have available to spend each month (after taxes). In addition to income users may receive from an employer, their income may include money they receive from benefits, family, etc.
3) Monthly Spending
Here users should enter their typical monthly spending for different categories.
Entering these numbers can be challenging, and users may need to start with estimates. As users continue to use the Savings Tool, they can revise these numbers to more accurately reflect their spending and in so doing build their financial capability.
In addition to the provided categories (e.g., rent), five editable ‘[other]’ categories are provided. Users can personalize these categories to best suit their needs.
After filling in the above items the Savings Tool automatically calculates how much more money users tend to spend each month.
Now users should reflect on the information they provided with two questions. Based on their answers, the Savings Tool may direct them to revise information.
- Question 1: Is your income less than your spending?
If yes, then the user should try to increase their income (green box), or decrease their spending (spending column).
- Question 2: Is your potential to save more than your plan to save?
If no, then the user should try to increase their income, decrease their spending, or decrease their savings plan (orange box).
Lastly, users should agree to follow their savings plan.
To signify their agreement, users should write their name, the dates the agreement should cover, indicate where they plan to keep the worksheet, and then sign and date the worksheet.
Printing out and posting the Savings Plan in a public place, like a family refrigerator, may help users stay on track!