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Sticking to a Personal Budget

May 3, 2008
You have taken the time to create a budget. It has been a overwhelming task, but you achieved it. Now, you must continue to use it in order to achieve your financial goals. Your financial plan may look wonderful on paper, but it will not help if you don't transform the spontaneous spending. Here are different ways that even the least financial savvy person can use.

1. Think before making a impulsive purchase. Having the master card,American Express, and Visa cards in your wallet or purse stops us from thinking clearly. We encounter a material item we desire and we act like a celebrity with an unlimited amount of money and "Charge it!" Then after the fact you have realized, that you have spent a portion of your monthly bill money. Now, once that is gone, there's no way to get it back until next month unless you make the right choice and return the impulsive purchase.

2. Put your credit cards away. Once they are at a zero balance, hide them. If you carry them in your purse you will use them. However, it may be smart to hold on to a few credit cards because you will never know when an emergency will occur.

3. Forget about that raise. Don't spend money that has not been accounted for. Sometimes raises can be forgotten or delayed. We are all notorious for planning on future purchases before the ink dries on the paycheck. So, instead of spending that money, try building up your savings, retirement or IRA account. That can be an wonderful bonus for your future retirement.

4. Try Saving your tax refund. Every year I used to rely on the tax refund to dig myself out of debt once again. Unfortunately I got myself back into debt and needed help getting out of the negative again. A person should treat tax money like a raise or a bonus - keep it hidden.

5. Withdraw money from the ATM once a week. If you believe that you may need cash in your pocket, go to your bank just one time and budget the right amount of money that will last you for important things not for new pair of shoes or golf clubs. Why? When it is spent, there is no going back for more. Resist the urge for withdrawing more money that is not budgeted for spending.

6. Become a savvy grocery shopper. This seems like an easy task but there is a realistic way to obtaining enough food to last, even with a family. Cut coupons out of the Sunday paper. Buy extra essentials such as toilet paper, laundry detergent, soap, and the like when they are discounted. Purchase typical food staples in bulk. Buy meat from a butcher and have it cut up for free.

7. Re-negotiate insurance rates and utility plans. Every three years or so it may be beneficial to see which competitors offers you lower rates - your current insurance agent or a different company.

Sticking to a personal budget may take time and patience and we all lapse into old habits sometimes. The main thought is to get right back in the saddle and don't make the same mistake repeatedly. With that said up you will reach your debt-free future.
About the Author
Fred Hopkins is an 9 year personal finance pro specializing in mortgage cycling and lawsuit cash advances. For more information on the loan programs he has available, visit http://www.mountaintopmtg.net.
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