Thursday, March 13, 2008


Budget, the mere mention of the word conjures up images of stacks of spreadsheets piled on a desk or computer tapes whizzing and whirring in an old 1970's video, it does to me anyhow. Today, a budget is a necessary tool used to alleviate the burden of living paycheck to paycheck or swimming in debt. A budget can be a simple spreadsheet or a complex software program. Either way, it is a valuable tool in today’s world of finance. By tracking every dollar spent, you can easily determine what areas to cut back on. For instance, we tend to eat out a lot, too much in my opinion. By tracking this cost over the past 2 months I am able to see exactly how much we are spending and can adjust that accordingly. I have decided to try and cut this cost back by 15 - 20% per month. The new number, (15 - 20% lower than the average of January and February), will be plugged into our budget for the month of March. I can then track on an ongoing basis and make every attempt to stay with this budgeted amount. There are plenty of other areas that I can try to make cutbacks as well. I am using Quicken to track all of my expenses and incomes. The software has some good points and some bad ones but I am still getting used to it. A budget is not a set in stone thing; it is a living document, meaning that it will change constantly. I am sure that mistakes will be made, but after 6 months or so of working with it, it should be easier to follow.
Budgeting can be a daunting task, if you let it. Take it slow, at your own pace. Start out knowing that mistakes will be made and learn from those mistakes. Once you have a budget in place and you are tracking everything you spend, you will be amazed at how much money you can NOT spend with a little determination.

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