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Budgeting 101

A wise spender has a budget. If you don’t have a budget, you’re likely spending far too much money on unnecessary things. In order to help you better manage your time and money, we’ve created a step-by-step list on how to create a budget.

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  1. Compile your statements – Gather any financial statements you have. Your phone bill, electric bill, bank statements, etc. The first step in spending wisely is realizing what exactly you’re already spending your money on.

  2. What’s your source of income? – Find out just how much you’re making each month. Maybe this is simply the net income on your paycheck. Maybe it’s the sum of your monthly paycheck plus your spouse’s paycheck. Whatever the case may be, get a good idea of how much money you’re bringing home each month.

  3. What are you spending your money on? – Make a list of your monthly expenses. It’s a good idea to separate these expenses into two categories: secure and varying costs. Secure expenses include any fixed amount of money you pay each month: utility bills, mortgage, gas, etc. Varying expenses include things you’ll likely spend money on that isn’t always set in stone: groceries, restaurant outings, morning coffee, or entertainment.

  4. Do the math – Total your monthly income and your monthly spending. You’ll probably be shocked at just how much money you’re spending each month; who knew those $1.50 coffees could put such a dent in your wallet!

  5. Make adjustments – Go back through your expenses and decide what things you could live without. Give yourself a monthly limit for your varying expenses, and stick to it!

By realizing your spending habits and limiting your expenses, you’ll save more money than you could imagine! This increase in savings could be spent in numerous ways such as saving for retirement, your child’s education, an exotic trip, or maybe that car you’ve wanted for a couple years now; the options are limitless. It really does pay to save!

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