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5 Steps to Create a Budget

Sep 12, 2008
Are you having a difficult time stretching your paycheck to cover all of your monthly expenses? If so, you are not alone. With our economy in its present state, millions of people are struggling to make ends meet and do not have the luxury of being able to save money.

Before you give up hope, you can improve your situation by setting up a personal budgeting plan. This will show you exactly where your money goes. To help you get started, consider some of the tips listed below.

HOW TO CREATE A BUDGET PLAN

First - write down your fixed expenses (house payment/rent, utility bills, insurance premiums).

Second - under your fixed expenses, write down all of your basic needs expenses (food, gas, clothing, toiletries, etc.)

Third - add all of these amounts together and subtract from your total monthly paycheck. The amount that is left is what you actually have to work with in terms of budgeting.

Fourth - list all of your remaining purchases for the month; every single thing you spent money on down to the smallest detail. Be honest. Every cup of coffee, every newspaper or magazine, every candy bar from the vending machine, every meal you ate at a restaurant, your pedicure, manicure, make-up, etc. Make sure you write down every single item.

Fifth - add up the amount you spent on all of those items and subtract that amount from the amount you had left for budgeting. How much did you spend? If you are being completely honest about every single thing you purchased during a month's time, the amount you come up with will probably be a big surprise.

SOLUTION

Can it be possible that you spent that much on items you did not need? Unfortunately, most of us are completely unaware that we are throwing away that much money each month when we could be saving it. How do you solve this problem?

First - you must determine the things that are most important to you. Identify and list the items you must have. When you are trying to budget your money, you should only be purchasing those items that are for you and your family's basic needs and lifestyle.

Second - now make a list of the items you want to have. Do you really need them? In order to be successful at budgeting your money, you have to be satisfied with the things you already have or you are setting yourself up for failure.

Third - you must now come up with a budget you can live with. Once you accomplish that, your biggest challenge will be to decide how you are going to use the extra money you have at the end of each month. Do you want to invest in an emergency fund (in case of illness or job-loss)? Perhaps you want to add more to your retirement fund. There are many possibilities.

These budgeting tips will help you succeed IF you have the determination to stick with your budgeting plan. You will be rewarded for your dedication by having extra money that you can use for you and your family's future.
About the Author
Debra Gropp enjoys working on the Internet by doing everything from paid surveys and working for affiliate programs to blogging about her interests. Her articles pertain to some of the subjects she is most interested in, ways to save money, hobbies, work from home information, and diet, fitness, and health-related information.
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