I Need Help Sticking To My Budget
by: Linda Holmes
Now that you have a budget, what do you do with it? You have listed all of your income and expenses - The idea now is to not spend more than you listed for any given expense.
Since a lot of your bills are not the same amount each month, you should have estimated the amounts for those bills that fluctuate. For instance you may have listed your heating bill at $75.00 but during certain months of the year this bill will be much more and during certain months of the year it will be much less. However for the whole year, the total amount spent will be $75.00 times 12 which is $900.00.
As you go along you should calculate, each month, where you are in your budget. This will require you to keep a running total of how much you have spent in each category.
In our example, at the end of March we have allowed ourselves $225.00 so far on our heating bill. If at the end of March we have spent $212.00, we are under budget. This is good since we want to be right on budget or under as much as possible.
Look at how much you have spent each month as you go along and ask yourself if you are over or under budget in any category. If you find yourself going way over budget somewhere, see if you are way under in another category. If you are not balancing out, and you are consistently over budget (you are spending more than you estimated), you need to try to cut back in some area.
Examine your budget again. Where are you consistently over budget? Is it an area that you and your family could cut back? If it is your home utilities, go take a look at this web page on Thrifty Home Energy and see what money saving ideas you can get there.
On the other hand, if you are over budget on groceries or any kind of shopping, visit this Thrifty Shopping page and link to the different shopping pages.
In other words, see if there are some simple ways to trim your expenses.
Unfortunately if you are over budget because your estimates were too low, you may need to take a closer look at your expenses. Do you find you are way over budget and living on credit just to make ends meet? You may need to downsize your living quarters or sell or trade in your vehicle for an older model or a less expensive model.
If you currently have a car payment, you could go to Kelly Blue Book and see what the retail value of your car is. Then find out what you still owe on the car. To do this call the company you financed it through and ask for the pay off amount. You may be able to sell it and make enough to buy a used car, in which case you would not only eliminate a car payment, you would most likely reduce your vehicle insurance payment.
These are drastic suggestions and hopefully you are not to the point of implementing anything quite like this, but in the event you are going way over budget on a regular basis, it is better to make changes before you are too far in debt. The longer you let it go, the worse it will get.
Having a budget allows you to always see where your finances are and where you are spending your money.
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