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Make a Budget to Help Your Dreams Come True!
By Monica Resinger
A budget helps you to see where your money is going and helps you determine
where you can cut back. It is also an important guide for what to do with your
money when you get paid. If you are serious about your financial goals, a
budget is an absolute necessity.
When my husband and I got married over 18 years ago, we had no idea of how to
manage our money. Even though we both worked, we always had a hard time
paying our bills and had nothing to show for our money. Then my son came along
changed all of that; I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.
We also wanted to travel, save for retirement and college funds, and purchase
our own home. We knew we had to start managing our money better to be able to
do these things and the first step in doing that was to prepare a budget.
When you think of your financial goals, write them down at the top of a piece
of paper. This will help you stay on track and give you motivation to stick
to your budget.
The first step in making our budget was to list out the necessities… rent,
utilities, phone, vehicle expense and food and the amounts we paid on them per
month. Then we listed our credit card bills with minimum monthly payments and ‘
miscellaneous’ for items like clothing or birthdays. We listed these on the
paper that listed our financial goals.
When listing your budget amounts, be sure to be accurate and honest about how
much you spend on them. Look back into your checkbook and add it all up. If
you write down less than what you actually spend, how can you possibly cut back?
Once we made our list, we looked at it to see if there was anywhere we could
cut back. We saw that we could probably cut back the amount we spent on food
by using coupons and shopping sales and discount stores, so we lowered the
amount we originally budgeted. We saw that we could probably cut back the
we spent on gasoline by making fewer trips to the store, only driving when
absolutely necessary, etc. So we lowered that amount also. We vowed to cut back
our power usage -- turn off lights when leaving a room, dry clothes on the
line, wear sweaters so we can set the thermostat lower, etc. We stuck to these
amounts and made it, and I was able to quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom.
At first we didn't have any money left after paying our necessities but that
was okay because we had a roof over our head and I was able to stay home and
raise our son. As my husband got raises then eventually started his own
business, we began to have a little extra money left after our budget was paid.
enabled us to go out once in a while and add a new category onto our budget
called ‘savings’ where we strive to save for vacations, home improvement,
retirement funds, etc.
Within a few years, we were able to purchase our own house, remodel it a
little at a time, make our credit card bills smaller, buy a nice car and take a
couple nice vacations.
So please Make a Budget and Help your Dreams Come True!
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