If you have a take-home of $5,000 a month, plan how much of that you want to save and then you will know how much you have to spend. For example, if you are going to save $1,000 a month, that will leave you with $4,000 to spend on everything else. That is an example of your savings dictating your spending. If you get your $5,000 paycheck and spend $4995 a month, that only leaves $5 for savings. That is letting spending dictate savings.