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Budgeting Lessons 1 through 5

Lesson 1: Guide to Better Budgeting
Lesson 2: Create and Maintain A Budget
Lesson 3: Keep Them Handy: Budgeting Tools That Work
Lesson 4: A Little Goes a Long Way: Smart Secrets To Budgeting
Lesson 5: Manage Money and Earn More

Lesson 1: Guide to Better Budgeting

A budget is basically a money plan, outlining your financial goals. Having a budget, you can well establish and regulate funds, set and achieve your financial objectives, and make advance decisions as to how you want your finances to function well for you.

The main idea in budgeting is for you to put aside a certain amount of money for expected as well as unexpected costs.

Simply put, budgeting means an estimation of monthly home expenses basing it on previous expenses and bills.

The initial step to take in budgeting is to find out how long your compensation last. Define fixed expenses like car payments, home rental, insurance, etc. Likewise follow up your expenditures thoroughly for a month so you can discover and understand where your funds are going. Through proper determination of your ‘spending patterns”, you can immediately identify solutions for effective budgeting.

For instance, when you have a steady monthly income of $4,000, you should subtract all your identified monthly bills from that income.

Other bills can be assessed and then subtracted from the amount of your income. The balance that remained after fixed costs can now be your budget in the household. Rather than allocating money for miscellaneous like gas, clothing, entertainment and groceries, financial planning will allow you instead to use proportions or percentages of it.

The strategic solution in order for budgeting to be successful is inflexibility as well as flexibility; there are fixed expenses so payment must be an inflexible factor.

Budgeting will best work when very scarce omissions are made to greater limits. The idea here is to formulate goals and plans, then abide by it as much as you possibly can.

Here are tips on how to budget:

1. Have good sense of money management. Your attitude is essential. Reach an agreement and compromise and know the significance of reducing expenditures; it all involves a lot of sacrifice.

2. Plan your situation. Make a listing with your earnings to one side and your overheads on the other side.

3. Know the difference between luxuries and necessities. List down what you believe as luxuries, with it, split the list in half, crossing out half the list.

4. Practice frugality but with dignity. You can have fun with little or without spending at all. Rather than going shopping, play with the kids at the beach or at the park.

Budgeting is an effective and fundamental tool that is readily available to everyone. Consider it, and benefit from it.

Lesson 2: Create and Maintain a Budget

The first step to avoiding the troubles of financial debt is to create and maintain a budget. It’s not as intimidating as it sounds, don’t worry.

First off, create a list of all your monthly income and also a list of your monthly expenses. When determining income, list all sources including alimony, child support, side jobs, etc. In calculating expenses, be sure to include housing, food, transportation, utilities, entertainment, etc. To gain an accurate reflection of actual expenses, sit down each night and write down expenses, just make sure to save receipts. Determine if your income covers all of your expenses. If the answer is no, then some expenses need to be reduced.

Adjust expenses. If it is a small discrepancy, it may mean reducing some minor expenses like entertainment or cell phone plan. If the deficit is larger, you may need to downsize your vehicle or living arrangements. If your income covers all of your expenses, you still may want to trim some of the excess fat off your spending habits. This can free up extra money for things such as vacations or college funds for your children.

Additionally, consider if you need to add new categories. Some areas that are often overlooked are debt reduction, emergency savings funds, and retirement savings. An emergency fund ensures there is an adequate amount available to cover unforeseen events (car emergency, etc), should it arise. This will eliminate the need for using credit which can quickly damage your budget.

There are several advantages to sticking to your budget. Firstly, most people have set financial goals that they would like to reach in the future. Sometimes it may be a trip, a brand new car, or a college education. A budget can help people save money to make these goals a reality. Additionally, many people are crushed under heavy consumer debt. Without a disciplined pattern of spending, it is virtually impossible to make much headway in reducing debt. A personal budget will provide the necessary framework to begin eliminating these inflated account balances.

If executed properly, a budget will allow a person to simultaneously meet their expenses, place money into savings, and pay back outstanding debts. Therefore, it is anyone’s best interest to create and implement a budget.

Cut Back on Spending

At first it may seem difficult to limit spending and stick to a budget, however there are a few practical changes that you can make everyday that will cut your spending more than you expect.

Firstly, alter credit car behavior. Start to pay cash whenever possible. This will help you avoid making a purchase unless you actually have the money available. If you decide to make a credit card purchase, be prepared to pay the balance off monthly. This will save a lot of money through avoiding interest charges. If you already have a credit card balance, then transfer to a card with a low interest rate. Also, find a card that does not charge an annual fee.

Another tip is to pack your lunch everyday. All of those lunch hours spent at restaurants will add up. Bringing your own lunch can save you several dollars every day, which will add up over time.

Use your cell phone during off peak hours. Some people will spend a couple hundred dollars a month on phone charges. Avoid this by making most calls during off peak times. Check with your service and plan to find out when you have cheaper or unlimited calls.

Stop throwing away the Sunday newspaper before skimming through the advertisements. Clip some of those coupons and check out the sales. This may seem tedious, but the savings are often worth it. Many stores will double or triple the amount of the coupon. This technique can save you up to 20 or 30 dollars each time you head to the food store.

Additionally, refinance. Mortgage rates have been extremely low over the past year. This has been a great opportunity to reduce the monthly house payment significantly. If you are planning to have your house paid off prior to retirement, then you may want to factor this in before refinancing.

Finally, bundle your insurance. Many insurance companies will offer their customers lower rates if they purchase multiple policies. For instance, some people use the same agent for multiple cars, and others combine their cars and house. Always keep in mind that a dollar here and there really begins to add up. Avoid the temptation of thinking that changing your spending habits wouldn’t save that much money.

Start Saving!

So you are loaded down with bills to pay each month and are wondering how you can begin a savings account for emergencies and other high-expense endeavors. In other words, where can you find that extra cash to put away for later?

Firstly, when configuring your budge, plan for your savings first. You will grow richer each month if you begin to pay yourself first. Before paying any bills, decide on a set amount that you will pay yourself first—maybe five or ten percent—or whatever you decide—of your paycheck. Then, deposit the amount into a savings account before paying any bills.

When you do this at the beginning of the month, your entire paycheck will not suddenly slip through your fingers. If you wait until the end of the month, there may be nothing left to save. Paying yourself first will give you a systematic way to make your money grow. Regardless of your profession or your income, this system will work if you stick to it.

Another technique you may try for saving money is to empty your extra change into a coffee can or a jar each day. At the end of the month, roll the coins and put them into your savings account. You may be able to save 30 or 40 dollars each month just with your spare change.

Remember that good money management is more than just a mathematical formula. It’s too closely tied with the ups and downs of living to be just that. Your money management plan is always subject to change if your life situation changes. The object of a good budget is to make your money go the farthest in helping you reach your goals, it is not there to force to you to abide by rules.

Don’t get discouraged if the budget plan doesn’t work perfectly right away. It may involve some revising and editing until it fits your needs. Then, make sure to review it often, and be sure it is making the best use of every penny! Because we know how helpful those spare pennies can be!

Avoid Spending Pitfalls!

With all the advantages that are evident from personal budgeting, it is no wonder that more and more people are relying on them to reduce debts and increase their savings. However, all “budgeters” need to be careful to avoid some common pitfalls that appear often.

Credit cards may seem like small pieces of plastic, however they can cause a great deal of trouble for the owners. It is common for people to make unwise purchases, which they would have avoided otherwise, because they had the credit card in their wallet. The best solution for many people is simply to get rid of credit cards and begin paying only by cash, check, or debit cards. You may want to keep one card handy for emergencies, but it is probably best to keep it out of reach, and far away from your wallet.

Another problem with budgeting is impatience. There are financial goals set, but people do not have the patience to complete a savings program. For instance, an individual begins setting aside money for a new car; however, after a few months they discover the car of their dreams. Rather than waiting, they make the purchase. This could pose some serious financial strains. Discipline is a must to prevent impatience from breaking your budget.

Once a person makes a budget, they often fail to adjust it when necessary. A budget is created using a set of expenses and income figures that are liable to change. As these figures do change, it is important that the budget changes to reflect the adjustments. There could be some major deficits if this is not done appropriately and promptly.

Of course nobody forgets about Christmas or Hanukkah, however many people do not consider budgeting for holidays when creating a budget. Therefore, adequate funds have not been set aside for presents, food, parties, etc. These items should be factored in and saved for throughout the year.

Finally, many people factor in transportation and accommodations for vacations in their budget, however they underestimate money needed for food, entertainment, and spending money. Keep in mind that all the resorts and tourists areas are double or triple what you would normally pay. With a little planning, you”ll be on your way to saving more money than you ever thought possible!

Easy Money-Saving Changes

One of the most obvious and easy ways to save some extra cash is to change some of the way you use products and items in your everyday life. The key is to make minor changes.

For instance, always buy the cheapest hand soap you can find. The quality doesn’t necessarily go up with the price and you can use it in place of “bath soap.”

Always use the whole product. Turn bottles upside down and drain to get the last bit from them. Tear open sugar and flour sacks to get everything; squeeze or cut open tubes to use it all before running out to buy more. You”ll be surprised at how much there really is left! Also, never use more than you need. Just because it says on the box that you need a full cup, doesn’t mean that you really do it need it. Half a measure of laundry detergent and a half teaspoon of dish soap are examples of what are usually enough, rather than what the manufacturer says.

To save some cash, you can use some of the things in your house in some unique ways. Instead of spending lots of money on the fancy floor cleaners, try using ammonia. It does a great job, and you can use plain water in between times. If your furniture needs some polishing, mix equal parts of white vinegar and vegetable oil and rub on the furniture. Buff with a cloth until it shines.

For a freezer bag, use empty chip bags and close with masking taps. Also try a bowl with a lid, such as a margarine tub.

If your skin is feeling a little dry, there are several substitutes for expensive lotion. Petroleum jelly rubbed into your hands at night after a warm water soak, mayonnaise (rinse w/ cold water after), or any other oil based food. Just be sure to put it on immediately after your hands have been in water.

To save some money on laundry, dissolve a bar of hand soap in water to replace laundry detergent. Add three gallons of hot water, mix thoroughly and add a cup of washing soda. Sure, these are small changes, but added up, they can put some extra change into your pocket throughout the year!

Lesson 3: Keep Them Handy: Budgeting Tools That Work

Budgeting your monthly expenses in order to get the greatest return on your income (and perhaps, even put aside some for saving!) doesn’t have to be extremely hard.

Various budgeting programs are available for use. Money management programs provide you with a usual package that allows you to enter your cash inflows and outflows, categorizes your expenditures, and at times, presents to you analysis of your spending behavior. Through these programs you can also input the various payments you have to make monthly, and subsequently track if you’ve paid your dues on time. Moreover, some programs also offer you a tax form draft that will help you make sure you’re not missing out on any dues or any deductibles, for that matter.

Another budgeting tool that you can utilize are coupons. Various stores and magazines contain coupons that you can use to get discounts on various products. Should there be a need to purchase a particular product for which you have a coupon for, you will end up saving a fraction of what you might have had to spend on a regular purchase.

Lists—whether on a piece of paper, on your cellular phone, or on your personal digital assistant (PDA) will help you keep focused on what you have to buy, and in effect, keep track of the purchases you make. A classic example is your regular grocery trip. Prior to making the trip, plan out the week’s entire menu and identify what food items and materials you need to purchase that are unavailable in your pantry. Then, make a list of other household items that you’ve run out of (or are eventually going to run out of before you can make the next trip to the grocery). Armed with these lists, you can go to the grocery and know exactly where to go and what you”re going to buy. Without these lists, you will walk idly along aisles, and will likely pick up various food items that you won’t likely need in the immediate future, or already have at home.

A filing system is perhaps one of the best budgeting tools you can have in your home. With simple, labeled file folders, you can put together your bills, your receipts, and whatever bank documents are issued to you when you save or pay. By putting together your bills, your credit card receipts, and the like, you are able to keep track of how much you owe and when your payments are due.

Effective budgeting tools are those that best address your needs as a consumer. Create your own budgeting tool or find a program to do it for you—just make sure it suits your lifestyle.

Lesson 4: A Little Goes a Long Way: Smart Secrets To Budgeting

There’s nothing more we want than to be able to efficiently manage our money. After all, the money that we want to manage is money that is oftentimes, hard earned. This is where a budget comes in. A budget executed properly, should help you see where your money is going, get more utility out of every buck, and help you save some extra for future use.

The first smart secret to a budget is to set a goal. What do you want to achieve? Do you want to correctly appropriate your income into bills payments? Do you want to put an amount aside for a big purchase or a huge investment? By having a goal, you will be able to shape your budget to best serve your interests.

Secondly, you would want to take note of where your money usually goes. This includes bills, major but regular purchases (like grocery costs, healthcare costs, and the like), and everyday miscellaneous purchases. The fact is, only when you list down where you know your money usually goes will you be able to identify which expenses you can do without. Once you’ve identified these regular expenditures, take into consideration what you can cut back on. How much do you spend on your daily caffeine fix in the morning? How much do you spend on newspaper deliveries to your front door? The measly $2 or $5 of these small purchases cumulatively translates to more than $3600 a year! Instead of buying your expensive latte or reading the newspaper on print, put aside the amount you would usually pay for these small routine purchases in a small container. You will be surprised at how much you’re saving out of your older budget.

Being indebted is a vicious cycle on its own. You’re talking about continuous payments, not to mention huge interest rates. The best way to deal with this is to pay the minimum on all of your debts in order to avoid paying extraneous late fees. Whatever cash excesses you may have, you can opt to add on to the payments you make in your biggest debt. This way, you are concentrated on getting the biggest debts first that cost you the greatest interest rates. Doing this progressively, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll get off your huge debts.

The last and most important step is to jot down the amount you earn the sum you spend. You can make use of computer cash management programs, or make database sheets of your own. Make a system that works for you and will help you keep track of your monthly budgeting progress.

Lesson 5: Manage Money And Earn More

Managing money is associated with saving, budgeting, keeping, and the like. However, the truth about managing money is that it is just a concept that encompasses a larger scheme of handling money. The way to manage money and earn more is more than just a single way concept. Not only does managing money mean being able to keep money per se, but also to be able to mobilize the money that we have to the direction in which we intend them to go. This includes investment, business ventures, and leisure activities.

More Saved, More Resources

Though it is quite confusing to understand how one may be able to earn more when he is saving more and not the other way around, the concept of the former dictates the effect.

Being able to save more will give you more freedom to allocate the money in what business and endeavor one seeks to have. In conjunction with the previous statements, managing money does not only mean saving, but being able to have the resources to move about. In this case, having more money in the bank or floatingly available enables you to use them for businesses or leisure.

The Power of Capital

Should you choose to invest your earnings and savings on a business venture, one thing that limits one’s capability to start off with the desired business is the capital needed. Though most businesses require a substantial amount of money, these are the big establishments which require a corporation of several investors with investments in the millions.

As a private businessman or entrepreneur, one may start with a personal business of a small nature such as handcrafted items or services, and work your way up from there. Once you start rolling in the Benjamin’s, you are on your way to choose your path to either retain your business or go higher up the economic chain.

Capital and the way to manage money and earn more in the process is a tricky and risky thing to do though. Be prepared to accept a losing business as well.

Wholesale Concept

Another concept which enables you to earn more is to keep a wholesale concept in mind at all times. This is simple defined as being able to see that the more you acquire in a single deal, the more you save, and the more you save, the more you are able to use that savings for other businesses or other requirements, therefore cutting down on the total projected expenses.

It may not be always be the case for many, especially if one has a very limited capital to invest. Nevertheless, what is more important is that one is able to work efficiently in one’s own means of production and not depend on floating bonds and loans as these are the usual causes of a business to stay stagnant and not earn due to the interests.

It is quite daunting to manage money and earn more, with the consistent juggling of resources and risks to achieve at something without foolproof success. However, a properly set management and a little bit of luck will definitely rake in big rewards to the whole process. Starting small and working up rather than starting with big things right away is crucial to the learning process and the tricks and trade as well in business handling. This is what will matter especially when the competition becomes tighter in the higher business environment.


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