Friday, October 20, 2006

Budgeting Success

A budget is a plan on how you are going to spend your money before you get the money. Everyone should have a plan for your money. If you don't, your money will soon be gone with nothing to show for it.

The easiest way to create a budget?

1. Take the amount of money you get each month and divide it up into large general categories.

2. Then divide each of those large categories into smaller categories.

3. Then break down the small categories into the final amounts you plan to spend for each item in the category.

For example, first you would divide your money into housing, transportation, food, clothing, bills and miscellaneous. Now using the housing portion, break that down into house payment or rent, utilities, and maintenance. Then you break down those categories to their final amount. The utilities category would be broken down into electricity, gas, water and sewage. You would then assign dollar amounts to each one of these items.

Then, you would do that to each of the other large categories that you have listed on your budget such as the transportation category.

Break that category into auto payments, insurance, gasoline and maintenance. You would then assign an amount to each of these categories. Be sure to put some money aside for maintenance as there will be things you must do to keep your car in working order.

Also, in the miscellaneous category, you should allow for mad money because constantly being strapped for cash will cause you to break away from your spending plan. It boils down that you should be realistic with your budget.

To make your budget something that you can live with, you will need to make sure that the amount you have totaled adds up to less than the amount of money you bring in each month. If not, you will not be able to keep up with your plan and the whole thing will fall apart.

You have heard that you should keep a journal listing every penny you spend to see where your money is going. While it may be helpful and surprising, for most people it is impractical and will not be followed. The best way to keep up with small amounts is to take cash out of the bank for those purchases and do not go over that amount. When the money is gone, you stop spending with no exceptions.

With these steps, you should be able to put together a spending plan you can live with.

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