Starting a Foolproof Budget

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Dollars are not like socks in the laundry. There is no mischievous elf dipping into your bank account each month to siphon off your balance. The double latte monster does that. It preys on paycheck after paycheck because that’s how you’re living. Stop the madness! Get out of debt and get into budgeting! Your future is counting on you. 

Step 1. Figure Out What You Really Want

An extra shot of espresso, or a new car? Then:

  • Make a list of your short and long-term goals
  • Rate those goals on a scale of one to ten to help you figure out which one to tackle first (don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to save for everything at once)
  • Now, hold that thought…

Step 2. Face Your Demons

To get a clear picture of what you’re up against:

  • Identify each source of income
  • Be honest about your expenditures: that means every dollar, whim and penny spent, from bills to bubblegum

Step 3. Bend, Don’t Break

Treat your goals as expenses and assign your dollars accordingly, but be flexible. A blown budget is one that never fit in the first place.

Step 4. Lighten Up

A budget requires discipline, but it doesn’t have to be a drag.

  • Be realistic and logical about your budget.
  • Geek out on a budgeting system that makes saving fun. There really is such a thing.
  • Dig deep in your psyche to distinguish between your wants and needs.

Are you still holding onto that thought? Good. You’ll reward yourself later for wising up about money now.