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NYC tabloids keep a straight face on Ebola

Friday, October 24, 2014 5:43 pm

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Plan Is Not A Four Letter Word: Budgeting for 2014

Posted by: Debra Jones-Price on Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 12:00:00 am

Well, yes, technically, it IS a four letter word.  But I think you know what I mean. 

In today’s world, people cringe at the word “budget”.  It is synonymous with “belt-tightening”, “frugalness” etc.  All words that make the American consumer love for spending groan.  Insert eye-roll here. 

A high percentage of the American people live paycheck to paycheck.  Some don’t know what most of their money is spent on.  

With a little planning and budgeting, looking ahead and making solid changes can be pretty simple to do.  Here are a few tips to help in this process.

  1. Make a detailed list of expenses.  If you use a checking account, this is as easy and sitting down with your bank statement through eStatements or Online Banking and looking at the month in a snapshot.  List all recurring debts such as loan payments, utilities, credit cards bills.  Also add up trips to the grocery, etc. 
  2. Add up your monthly income, after deductions.   This includes taxes and another other deductions you have, such as 401K, insurance, etc. 
  3. Deduct number one from number two.  This is your disposable income.   If you have a negative number, you need to look at number 1 again and see if there is something you can cut, or if you are overspending in areas such as grocery, eating out, etc.
  4. Once you get a manageable figure, you can then look at your budget.  There are lots of good budgeting tools free on the internet that you can use to figure out where your money is going.

The key to this is making it work for you.  Not all budgeting programs work for everyone.  Make sure you give yourself some grace.  Changes to lifestyle don’t happen overnight.  Allow yourself some “free” money.  Get your kids involved.  Make it a game.  There are lots of things to do with this so you can get a better handle on your finances. 

Remember, planning may not be something that comes naturally to all, but it can be learned.  

This blog is brought to you by Debra Jones-Price, Financial Center Manager at MutualBank's Bethel Financial Center in Muncie, Indiana. 

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