Georgia Student Finance Commission


Maintaining a Balanced Budget - Step Down Spending Method

College Money Matters

Maintaining a Balanced Budget - Step Down Spending Method

Reducing your expenses is not easy, especially when you include your wants. Needs are what you need to survive. Wants are the luxuries of life that relate to comfort and convenience. 

One way to reduce expenses is the Step Down Spending Method. Consider your current expenses and take steps to get the same item or achieve the same want or need while SPENDING LESS.

The chart below provides a variety of steps you can take to save money in different spending categories. 


Step1 Step2 Step3 Step4
Housing Rent a house Rent an apartment Find a roommate Rent a room
Clothing Shop at department stores Shop at thrift stores Shop less often Limit the amount of money you spend each month
Food (eating out) Reduce the number of times you eat out per week Eat at less expensive restaurants Do not order an appetizer or dessert Drink water only
Automobile Purchase a less expensive car Car pool Review insurance coverage for lower-cost options Combine trips to reduce gas use
TV service Change provider Have only one TV Reduce the number of channels you subscribe to Cancel satellite or cable
Mobile phone plan Reduce plan (data, text, minutes) Change provider Repay phone Purchase a less expensive phone

Start 'stepping down' by listing your current expenses in a particular category, then decide how many steps you're willing to go down. This isn't an all-or-nothing action. There may be some things you don't want to give up, but there are still ways you can get what you want while reducing your expenses.



Use this blank Step Down Spending Method worksheet to list your current expenses and find ways to step down and spend less.