Many people tend to avoid the b-word, budget. But a budget is really a spending plan that gives you control over your finances by tracking what comes in and what goes out. It’s that simple and it doesn’t need to be fancy. It could be just two columns titled income and expenses. Start by tracking all your expenses. Include essential costs like rent groceries and medicine as well as non-essential expenses like cable TV, entertainment and travel. Next add up all your income such as your salary or paycheck after taxes and any other income including child support investment or rental income. Then subtract your expenses from your income. A break-even or negative number means it’s time to take a closer look at cutting non-essentials or trimming where you can. With a clearer picture of your income and expenses you can adjust your spending to begin saving for important financial goals like an emergency fund, college or retirement. Review your budget every few months and adjust accordingly. Your budget should be flexible enough to change with your needs.
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