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Budget Planning Tips

Every successful financial plan has some form of a budget. Making a budget can be tough, however for some, sticking to a budget is even tougher. While everyone requires a budget catered specifically to them, having one forces you to evaluate where your money goes. Starting the process is always the hardest part. 

Tips to Developing a Budget:

Start by looking at your current income and expenses. Looking at how you are spending today is a great way to set some goals. You will need current credit card statements and bank statements to start. Any bill, check or statement that can show income and/or expenses over the past year will be helpful. You can then use this info to break it down to a monthly outline then to a weekly snapshot in order to help you better understand your habits.

Most people have a general idea about how much they are spending on cable, electricity and the mortgage. It’s the discretionary spending that usually tips the pot. It is the latte you order every morning or the splurge on dining out are the variable costs that change every month and are the things you can live without and could be eliminated from your budget. 

Don’t be scared if you see some expenses that you don’t remember or regret. This part of the budget is the scariest, but the most important. Now that you have your budget, you can analyze other variable expenses that can be adjusted so at the end of the day, you can have a budget that can afford those kinds of purchases. Every budget has to have a bit of room to fluctuate. If there is no give and take, then people are less likely to follow their own budget.

Ultimately, reducing your spending to less than your income is always the ideal situation. If your initial budget continues to show areas where you spend more than allotted, but in other areas you continuously come in under budget, an adjustment needs to be made.  Completing reviews and adjustments in your budget can help you make more obtainable goals and ultimately, put you at ease regarding your spending.

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