Friday, December 30, 2011

Budgets: Are they Do-able?

Christmas is over and plastic organizers are showing up in all stores reminding us to clean house. It's time to clean house, literally and financially. Folks, it is time to sit down and think about a budget. A budget never works for me you might say. It doesn't if you don't do it right.

Gather up all your bills. Write down what you make. It is a bad thing if you suddenly realize you spend more than you make.You really need a slush fund to account for unexpected auto repairs and trips to the emergency room. How do you make your income cover your output?

Sell things you don't need. I've sold online, on community bulletin boards, and yard sales. I usually avoid the local paper because they charge too much.

Get extra jobs where you can. Sometimes a weekend job or a part-time job can help pay down credit card debt. Even an occasional time job of working the polls, substitute teaching, or even writing can put some extra dough in your pocket.

Plan your expenditures. Start a Christmas club now so you don't go broke next year.Put away money for your car each month because you know it will need tires.

Have an emergency fund of $1000. That way a new washer to replace your dead one won't put you into financial hot water.

Consider second hand. Often we buy things new that have a 500% to 1000% markup. A good example of this is jewelry and furniture. You can get some great deals combing the Internet, the paper, consignment shops and even just asking.

Cut expenses. A good place to start is halving your eating out, followed by basic or no cable, downgrade your cell phone plan, drop magazines you don't read, and quit gyms you don't attend. Downgrade your food brands. Seldom is a name brand worth the extra expense.

Live within your budget. This involves using the word "no" to members of your family. They won't like it at first, but they'll get used to it.

Constantly monitor your expenses to see what can be cut.The cup of coffee on the way to work tastes good, but you can bring your own from home for a fraction of the cost.

Sometime you need to downgrade a vehicle or even a home that is breaking you.

This is a new way of thinking and will take definite practice, but it can be done.

If you think you can't do it on your own. Contact Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University and find a seminar near you.

Have a goal. It is great to live with in your means, but the family works together better if you are working toward a goal. Please don't make it an expensive goal, either. Maybe something as simple as trip to the zoo or a family camping trip to celebrate reaching your finacial goal.

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