Are those pesky overdraft fees getting you down? Or, more importantly, are they draining what's left of your bank account? Could be that it's time to start thinking about creating a budget. Contrary to what you might think, creating a budget doesn't mean "stop spending" -- and it doesn't mean you can't continue to do things you enjoy. In fact, a budget will help ensure that you can afford to do and buy the things you want.
Yes, you will need to make some compromises. Money doesn't grow on trees, you know. So, if your priorities are to go skiing every winter and snorkeling every spring, so be it. The most important thing is to understand yourself - what your needs and wants are, what you must have, and what you can live without. After that, budgeting is really easy, and it won't be long before you wonder how you went without a budget.
Be a sport and share some tips and learnings below.
Look on the bright side:
- With a budget, at least you'll know everything you can't afford to do or buy.
- You finally have an excuse to skip that dreaded annual party at your crazy Aunt Harriet's: "Sorry, it's not in the budget!"
- Hey - at least you have money to budget!
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Tips from the trenches:
- Pay for everything with cash for a while. You'll always know how much is left, and forking over actual cash will make you think before you spend.
- Try using only credit/debit cards, if you pay them off each month, so that you'll have statements tracking everything you spend.
- Set aside cash in different envelopes (e.g., gas, clothes, food) to track and control spending.
- Look for money leaks and plug up those holes. Daily coffees and lottery tickets add up!
- Review past bills from utilities and other expenses, and project a monthly amount for each category.
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Survival kit contents:(replenish as often as needed)
- Bitches on a Budget: Sage Advice for Surviving Tough Time...
- The Budget Kit: The Common Cents Money Management Workbook
- Shoo, Jimmy Choo!: The Modern Girl's Guide to Spending Le...
- The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fit...
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- The Flying Lizards - Money - MP3