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Budgeting doesn’t come naturally for everyone. It takes a bit of pre-planning, follow through, and then plenty of practice.
Before you create a budget, identify what you’re spending now. Look at your last monthly statement and list EVERYTHING! Include bills, groceries, entertainment, pet care, childcare, dining out, fuel, etc. For a quick way to evaluate your expenses, click here for FORUM’s “How much am I spending?” free online calculator.
What are your goals? Are you looking to go on a nice vacation, pay for your child’s college education, or enjoy a comfortable retirement? Decide what your priorities are and then set short-term goals to help meet your long-term goals. It may be wise to pay off some debt in order to put more toward savings. Or, perhaps it would help to set up a separate special savings account. FORUM is now offering a new Saving for a Reason account that can help you start meeting your goals. You can earn a competitive dividend rate and choose a savings term between one and five years. Click here for more FORUM calculators that can help with questions like “What will it take to save for a vehicle, home, or college education?”
Once you’ve created a budget based on your monthly expenses and goals, start keeping track! Make sure you are sticking to your plan by reviewing your spending on a weekly basis in the beginning. It may even help you to begin using cash instead of a debit card. For example, if your monthly budget for entertainment is $100, withdraw that amount and put it in a labeled envelope only to be used on entertainment for the month. For budgeting inspiration, check out FORUM’s calculator “What’s it worth to reduce my spending?”
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