Your Secret Weapon... A Budget
For many, the word 'budget' immediately sends shivers down the spine. Why in the world would anyone need or want to budget their money?
First off, budgeting your money does NOT mean you are poor, or are in need of financial assistance. You'd be surprised to know how many considered to be "middle class", regularly budget their money in order to make the most of what they have.
Secondly, designing and implementing a budget does NOT take a Harvard doctorate degree requiring hours upon hours of tedious work.
What is a budget?
Simply put, a budget helps you to track your income and keep your spending habits in check over a certain period of time, allowing you to reach specific goals.
Why Start A Budget
There are many reasons why a family may want to implement a budget. These "reasons" can be labeled BUDGET GOALS. The reason(s) you are budgeting your money.
It is imperative that you actually determine what your GOALS are before actually designing a budget plan.This is what you will be striving for.
Answer the question - 'Why do I want to start budgeting my money?' To save for a new house or car? Saving for your childrens' college education? What about an early retirement?
These are all very important goals that many of us will have to face at some point in our lives. And these are some of the goals that can be tackled through the implementation of a budget.
** Summary - Set Your Goal(s) **
Cash Flow Analysis
It is now time to determine the amount of "cash" that comes into your pocket every month, and the amount that leaves your pocket every month.
This is one of the most important steps in planning your budget, for it allows you to get a whole perspective of your current financial situation. At the same time, analyzing your "cash-flow" allows you to actually see where your incomes are coming from and how it is being spent.
Remember, this does not have to be done professionally nor does it need to be time consuming. In addition to that, try not to track every single penny that you spend. You'll drive yourself crazy. A budget should not frustrate you to death.
Start with your income(s). It's best to take it a month at a time so you get a clear, concise view of what you make on a monthly basis. Don't forget to include any benefit or interest payments you receive.
After you have an idea of the TOTAL amount you receive monthly, it's time to add up the expenses you pay every month. Generally, you can group most expenditures into two categories - fixed and variable.
Fixed bills - mortgage, car, insurance loans, etc...
Variable bills - utilities, phone, car maintenance, entertainment, food, etc...
It is really important that you tally up EVERYTHING that is paid out monthly. That includes all taxes, social security, 401(k) (retirement funds), and any other deductions that you might have taken directly out of your paycheck.
It works best if you write down ALL the expenses/bills that you pay monthly.
If you are having difficulty remembering what is paid every month, take a look back through your financial records, checkbook or bank statements for more accurate numbers.
Remember, you do not want to spend hours and hours, sweating over this. Budgeting should not be like another 9-5 job. The quicker and easier this analysis process is, the more you will be willing to go through with it.
** Summary - Write Down ALL Incomes and Expenditures **
Review Your List
Now that you have your list of incomes and expenditures, it is time to review what you have written. Look and see what bills/expenses can possibly be lowered. Do you notice any excessive spending areas? Any bills you know for sure that can be lowered?
This is where you might have to make some sacrifices. Is your dream of a brand new BMW worth giving up your restaurant outings three times a week? These are the choices you are faced with when you must decide how you are going to reach your goal(s).
Start out small. There's no need to become a first-rate miser overnight. That's hard to do! Take things a step at a time. Implement one money saving strategy a week, or month. Remember though, you decide at how quickly you accomplish your goals.
** Summary - Review And Decide Where To "Cut-Back" **
Track Your Spending
In the real world, you are faced with thousands of advertisements and gimmicks begging you to 'buy their product'.
Buy what you must, just keep in mind your budget.
In order for accurate records, track as much of your spending as possible. Simply save all the receipts you get from your purchases.This is important because you need to tally everything to see how much money you saved at the end of the month.
** Summary - Keep Track Of The Money You Spend **
Compare Results & Modify
Now it's time to find out if all your hard work has paid off. Were you able to lower some bills? Finding out how much you saved is the best part of budgeting. It's exciting! This is what makes the whole budgeting process worthwhile.
Stick with your budget! Modify your spending habits to try and lower bills bit, by bit. You'll soon forget about the whole budget idea, and just see it as a game, where you try and save as much money as possible month by month.
You can find more money saving articles to help lower your bills at:http://www.SavingSecrets.com/tips.html
** Summary - Compare and Make Necessary Changes For Increased Results **
The hardest part of the whole budget process is starting one. Once you set your mind to implement a budget, and take the time to formulate a written agenda, the rest falls into place.
Budgeting requires some small sacrifices. Changes in lifestyle. Changes in spending habits. Be creative and have fun saving money off your bills. You are doing this for YOU, to accomplish your GOALS, so stick with your budget plan and your will be rewarded!
** Summary - Start YOUR Budget and Accomplish Your Goals! **
Gregory Thomas has been writing effective money-saving tips for SavingSecrets.com for over six years. Hop on over and you'll find FREE money-saving articles, a monthly newsletter, and even a FREE Ebook download just for stopping by! http://www.SavingSecrets.com
An IVA (individual voluntary arrangement) is an alternative to bankruptcy introduced by the government as part of the Insolvency Act 1986. This article provides an overview of IVAs and suggests what readers should watch out for when looking for IVA advice.What Is An IVAAn IVA is an alternative to bankruptcy introduced by the Insolvenc...(related: Debt Relief)
Start Small And Your Wealth Will Get Bigger
We've all heard the phrase, "You have to start somewhere." Nothing could be truer of creating wealth and prosperity in your life. Sometimes the idea of becoming wealthy can seem so overwhelming that we don't know where to begin. After all, if we're up to our eyeballs in debt or barely making it, how can we possibly think about getting wealthy?Start small. This is one of the greatest wealth creating habits. If an oak tree can spring forth from a miniscule acorn, a money tree can certainly grow from a tiny bit of seed capital. Starting small can work in two ways to generate wealth: saving small amounts and investing small amounts.Let's start with the savings end of the equation. If you're spending equal or more than your income each ...(related: Debt Relief)
Tips To Take Control Of Debt Collection
Yes, debt collection tips can help. You may think you have no power when the debt collector comes calling, but think again! Creditors don't like losing out on the ability to collect money owed them. And most creditors will take steps to settle an unsecured debt to collect some money as opposed to no money.Tip 1 - Keep Communications OpenOnce you have your Money Management Plan on paper, you will be able to professionally respond to requests for payment from creditors and debt collection agencies. They may ask you, or you can offer, to send them a copy of your Money Management Plan. This open...(related: Debt Relief)
Debt Reduction, A Necessary Endeavour
Massive debt is something many Americans face. Debt reduction is now becoming more and more of a necessity. Even a low amount of debt can cost you a lot in the end and it can take a very long time to pay off. An example: Let's say you have $4000 in credit card debt and your interest rate is 14%. If you only make the minimum payment each month, it will take you 21 years to pay it off and you will have paid over $5100 in interest. Doesn't that sound awful? This is why you may be interested in debt reduction.Debt reduction can be done in many different ways. A recent method being used is to buy some debt reduction software. You can purchase debt reduction software online or at a computer software store. The software usually comes with a debt reduction calculator to help you decipher...(related: Debt Relief)
Is Debt Negotiation Bad?
Educating yourself about the ins and outs of debt negotiation is a good first step. Please note that the term 'debt negotiation' is also known as debt arbitration or debt settlement.For starters, a lender has little motivation to arbitrate anything less than the full amount unless the person is two to three months behind in payment.To answer your question is debt negotiation bad? You need view it as a last-resort measure. The truth of the matter is it's one step away from decla...(related: Debt Relief)
Debt Handling Solutions
Sometimes debt can seem overwhelming. In those instances, or even before things get that far out of hand, get back to basics and try some of these debt handling solutions.BASICS ? Lower insurance deductibles for your homeowners, renters and vehicles policies where appropriate and save money. Do...(related: Debt Relief)
Is There Any Way To Get Out Of Debt?
In this era where we are bombarded daily with commercials on television, radio, billboards, through email, not to forget the flyers slipped under the car's wiper blades while shopping at the mall, it's no surprise that so many of us find ourselves endlessly in debt to the services and products offered by others. How can we refuse, when we're baited with the juicy orange carrot of '0% APR' up to a certain amount or for a specified time, or 'no money d...(related: Debt Relief)
Your Ticket Out Of Debt Relief
If you are in debt over your head and wondering if you will ever find a way out, the answer is yes! Serious financial problems can make life miserable and cause a great deal of stress and worry. Many people have found themselves in the situation of avoiding calls from creditors and wondering how they will ever get out of debt. Debt relief is not impossible. There is a way out of debt and you can be on your way to financial freedom in a shorter period of time that you ever thought possible.Making minimum payments on your unsecured debt is almost pointless. It could take 30 years or longer before you are able to pay off your debts. Debt relief companies can help you reduce the amount of interest you pay so that more of your payments go toward...(related: Debt Relief)
Bankruptcy ? Bankruptcy Myths
Bankruptcy has long been a big question mark in the eyes of the consumer. After all they don't teach us about bankruptcy in school. More often than not, a person's view of bankruptcy is largely developed by either their parents or close relatives personal views or dealings with bankruptcy, or a persons view is based on what they see as far as ads etc. regarding bankruptcy. Too often these ads are simply put together by bankruptcy attorneys that want your business. Bankruptcy is big ...(related: Debt Relief)