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One Big Secret the Rich Know About Home Finances

How to design a personal budgetTheFamilyBudgetSmall

When it comes to managing your personal finance, a monthly budget is a vital element. Without one, you will lack a guide to direct and control your spending. Think of it as driving on a strange road without signposts. You will have to guess where you are going and the best way to get there. You may get lost and run out of time and gas before you reach your goal.

Drawing up a budget is like putting up signposts on your spending. True, it takes time and energy, but it is a worthwhile investment if you are to manage your personal finances effectively. Once you have the signposts in place, you will be able to travel the spending road knowing where you are headed and what your goals are.
Here are the steps you should take to draw up a personal budget:

1. Write down the categories on which you spend money each month.
Go over your bills for the last six months and note your major monthly expenses, such as groceries, gas, rent/mortgage, electricity, water, clothing, entertainment and insurance.

For smaller incidentals that can add up you may want to set up a category, such as “household expenses.”

2. Calculate your monthly spending on each category.
Add up all you have spent on, say, groceries in the past six months. Divide the total by six. That will give you the monthly average that you have been spending on groceries. Do the same for each category on your list.

For items that you pay only once every six months, such as auto insurance or property taxes, divide the amount by six to obtain an average for each month. Do a similar calculation for items that you pay once every two or three months.

3. Separate your list into three major sections.
In one section, list the categories that do not change every month. Examples are your rent or mortgage, your television bill, your internet costs or your bill for medical insurance. Label these items your non-variable costs. Add them up.

In the other section list those items that are subject to change, such as groceries, gas and household costs. These are your variable costs. Total them.

Now add a third section for savings. You will want to set aside as much as possible each month for this purpose. That money will be needed in case of unanticipated or emergency spending. If you are not saving any money now, write down a realistic number that you feel is affordable.

127320474. Do the math
First, add all the amounts — non-variable, variable and savings — to arrive at your total monthly spending.

Compare that amount with your total monthly income after all deductions. If the income total is the same or more than your monthly spending, you already have a workable plan to handle your personal finance. All you have to do is to make sure you continue to spend the average amounts each month. But if your monthly income is less than your total monthly spending you are going to continue to bleed financially and you will have to do some tweaking to make sure you come out as close to parity as possible each month.

5. Adjust until it hurtshousehold-budget
Now comes the challenging part of this whole exercise. First, examine your non-variable costs and see whether there is something you can cut out of your life, such as cable TV. Or perhaps you can find a less expensive telephone service. Chances are, however, that there is little you can deduct from the non-variable side of the balance sheet.

Avoid the temptation to cut out the amount you have set aside for savings. That item is a crucial part of your new spending pattern; you cannot eliminate it. It represents costs you cannot foresee, but you can be almost certain will occur from time to time. If you do not have such savings, one bad month will wreck your whole spending plan.

Your only choice to cut your costs, therefore, is to work with those items that you have labeled variable. You will need to pare them down until the total of all your spending gets as close as possible to the amount you receive in your monthly income.

How are you going to do this? Say you have eight items. One method would be to divide by eight the amount by which you need to cut your expenses and deduct that amount from each item. But a better idea is to go through the list and see whether you can spend less on some non-essential items, such as clothing or entertainment, while maintaining more or less the same level on items such as groceries, which are for the most part essential. Of course, if you know that you are spending too much on luxury grocery items, you should by all means reduce that amount, too.

But by being realistic in your spending cuts you will have a better chance of keeping to your new spending plan. Simply cutting everything down is easy to do, but if you cannot keep to it you will be frustrated and you will want to give up after the first month.

When you are done, you will have a monthly spending amount for each variable category on your list. Write it down in a place where you can see it regularly.

Budget-11456087-644x3206. Keep to the plan
From now on, keep a running tally during the month of how much you spend on each category for which you have budgeted. Once you reach the limit for an item in your list, stop spending in that category. Wait until next month for that new sweater. When your grocery limit is reached and you’ve run out of coffee, stop drinking it, even if it is just for a day or two, before the end of the month. Be disciplined. No one said this would be easy.
If you keep to the plan you have drawn up, you will find that it becomes possible to make ends meet. And to save money each month. You will be well on the now-signposted road to financial stability. And that’s a really good place to be.
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