Budget Help

Written by Sarah Provost
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If you have too much month left over at the end of your money, then, like so many of us these days, you need budget help. The world is a lot more complicated than it used to be when the earner came home each Friday night with an envelope full of cash. In today's cashless society, it's hard to see where your money's going, and far too often, we don't notice till it's gone.

Your first step is to learn how much money you actually have for discretionary spending. Are you aware that when lenders analyze expenses, only 20 percent is earmarked for personal spending such as food, clothing, medical bills, insurance and entertainment? Thirty-five percent goes to housing, which includes rent or mortgage payments, taxes, upkeep and utilities. Another 20 percent goes to transportation, including car payments, insurance, gas, parking and maintenance. The remaining 25 percent is divided between debt repayment (15 percent) and investment.

Now that you know where your money is supposed to go, it's time to look at where it's actually going. The only way to do this is to keep track of all your expenses for a month. Don't forget to factor in annual and seasonal expenses such as gifts and insurance. This is a tedious process, but there is budget help available online, which takes some of the work off your hands.

The Best Budget Help Is Your Own Determination

Most people discover that they are spending far more than they thought on incidentals and unnecessary costs. If you spend four dollars every day for a coffee drink and tip on your way to work, you could very easily save almost a thousand dollars a year by bringing a cup of regular coffee from home. Consider retiring your credit cards for your discretionary expenses, so you can actually see how much you're spending. When you go to the grocery store with fifty dollars in your pocket, you really have to think about what you're buying and not fall prey to impulse spending. Becoming more aware of what you spend is the best budget help of all.

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