Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back to Basics Post 3 Finding Money

We started out our Back to Basics series talking about what your goals were for your money. Last week we set up a budget so we could begin tracking expenses. If you have these two steps down you are actually doing pretty good.

Chances are when you made up your budget last week you subtracted expenses from your income and came up with a positive figure. It may have been in the hundreds of dollars… you were probably thinking, “I should have X amount of dollars still in the bank each month!” Since it has only been a week since you started tracking, here is the secret…. You are spending that money each month too, you just haven’t caught yourself yet.

When I first made up my budget, I was coming up with an extra $300 a month. I knew it was going somewhere but I didn’t know where. Tracking helped me with that and it also helped me “find” some money.

So, how do you “find” money? Well, how much you can find depends on how upset you are about your finances. I was really upset. The first thing I did was to look at my monthly bills and see what could go. Early on (before even beginning budgeting) I cut out the premium cable channels. Later, I bundled our cable, internet and phone service and saved us about $80 a month. Next came our cell phones. If you are paying for internet at home and you very likely have access at work too WHY do you have it on your cell? That saved me $30 a month. (My husband doesn’t know it yet, but he is about to start saving the same $30 a month)

We are very dedicated to getting our finances under control. Currently we do not eat out, rent videos, go to the movies, or take vacations. And, YES, our lives are tolerable. We have video games at home and a few DVD sets that we watch quite often.

DO THIS: Now that you have started a list of your expenses, go back through and find some things that are not really necessary. Cut them out or cut back and you will have some of that money back in the budget for more important things.

Next week we will renew our promise to STOP CREATING NEW DEBT and talk about how to use that newly found money.

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