How to Create a Family Budget That Works

Create A Family Budget

If it’s time to create a family budget, it’s important to focus on long-term goals, along with your family’s current expense situation. If a budget is not designed for a specific person’s spending in mind, it will often fail very quickly. A good budget should be realistic and made to work for the person it was meant for, rather than strictly following a guideline or template. Here are 5 of the most common features in a successful budget.

Categories Unique to the Family’s Spending Habits and Situation

To make a budget that works, it is important to create specific categories and be as detailed as possible. Strict personal budget planning usually fails because it does leave any room for a family’s unique financial situation. Creating categories that are important to a family, such as a weekly music lessons or eating out once a month, will make it easier to follow through with.

Accurate Income and Expenses Estimations

Be sure that every category which fluctuates, such as groceries and gas, has a flexible amount of money designated for its specific purpose. Aim for the average of what a family earns each month, instead of what they can make maximum. Also try and be accurate when accounting for purchases such as free spending for everything from seeing a movie to getting some new clothes. While some families are embarrassed to write down how much they actually spend on luxuries, it is essential when personal budget planning.

Cutting Spending When Possible

When all of the categories have been assigned and accurate income and expenses have been accounted for, many people are shocked at how much they are really spending. Personal budget planning should leave extra money for saving, so if a family notices that all of the money earned is being spent on expenses, it is essential for it get reevaluated. If groceries for one month are a little higher than needed, focus on cutting back and spending less. Changing plans for auto insurance, switching cell phone providers and using coupons on everyday purchases can all make a dramatic change in somebody’s budget.

Preparing for the Unexpected

Personal budget planning that doesn’t leave room for the unexpected will typically fail in the long run. There needs to be leftover money put into a savings in the case of an emergency, such as a medical problem, auto repairs or a ticket. If there is no money left after paying all of the monthly expenses then the family will face financial complications if they encounter some unexpected expenses.

Create a Family Budget With a Positive Attitude

When there is no motivation behind creating a budget, it is easier for someone to overspend in certain areas and be left scrambling when paying for necessary expenses. A budget can simplify life and make a way to get to future goals. For other people, a budget can be seen as something holding them back from what they really want. Creating a budget doesn’t need to be about cutting all recreational spending. A successful budget simply adjusts and tracks spending so it is easier to make payments to the things that matter most. Successful personal budget planning is created when the family is dedicated to sticking to it with a positive attitude.

What Are Fixed Expenses Examples

What Are Fixed Expenses Examples

Fixed expenses are those that don’t vary from payment to payment. They may happen every month, every six months, or every year. An example is a car payment. Just because you don’t use the car for a month, the payment does not disappear or change; therefore, it is considered a fixed cost.

To find out what your fixed expenses are, look back to your assets and liabilities list. You will notice that, possibly, your fixed expenses make up a large percentage of your total liabilities.

The housing cost, mortgage or rent, is the number one fixed expense. This amount cannot be easily manipulated. Selling or refinancing the house is harder now than it was a few years ago. If you are renting, you may find a less expensive accommodation; however, if you leave earlier, chances are, you will incur in penalties.

A car payment might rank high on the list of your fixed expenses. This is also a cost not easily changed. It can be done, but a lot depends on your vehicle, its condition, its current value and the amount you have yet to pay.

Life, health, auto, and home insurances are another big part of your costs. Life insurance provides the surviving family with the financial stability in the event of a loss of life. Health insurance covers the individual or family when medical expenses occur. You may be purchasing health insurance through your employer, which is the best way to obtain coverage, or you may be providing it on your own. Mandatory auto insurance provides the driver with coverage in the event of an accident. Home insurance, mandatory for home owners with a loan on the property, covers the insured in the event of a partial or total loss of the home and/or its content. It might be possible to lower these insurance premiums.

One last fixed expense is generated by loans such as personal loans, and student loans. They could both possibly be modified, with a little bit of work.

All other expenses fall under the variable costs.

Utilities are the first costs to come to mind under this category. Water, electricity, and natural gas(unless living in an all-electric home) are expenses necessary for basic living conditions. The monthly amount will vary, unless you have set up the accounts under budged billing, in which case the billed amount stays the same independently of the monthly usage. With some creativity, these costs can be lowered.

Other miscellaneous home expenses are for such items and services you are accustomed to accessing but are not necessary for basic living. These costs include phones, dish or cable, Internet, exterminator, home alarms, and yard maintenance. These costs can be easily changed.

The remainder of the variable expenses makes up the rest of your liabilities.
These include food, gas in the vehicle, or public transportation, clothing, grooming, entertainment, and pet care.

While some of these fixed expenses might not be easily changed, the majority of these costs can be modified to help you gain control of your finances and achieve financial success.

Finding Financial Sucess

As you may have noticed, the economic events of the past couple of years, from job loss to housing market crash, have awakened an awareness of financial instability in most of the population worldwide. The job loss prediction made by the UN News Center in January 2008 became a reality which also carried over in 2009.

The economic outlook for 2010, as outlined by Business Wire, is not much better; among other things, they caution the public to not expect a quick and easy recovery. The possibility of an economic recovery with subsequent downturn is still very much existent.

Does this mean you should fold your arms, declare that all is lost, and wait for personal economic failure to strike? No. On the contrary, there are several things you can do to change your economic situation. Let’s start with step one.

1. Where Do I Stand Financially?

In order to evaluate your personal financial situation and create a plan for your financial security, you need to take a step back and assess your net worth. In few words, you need to find out how much money you have, after all your possessions and financial obligations have been taken into account.

These possessions are your assets. They are anything tangible you have: house, furniture, appliances and gadgets, clothing, car, books, movies. They are the spare coins you place in a jar, savings, money markets, stocks and bonds, and retirement funds. In short, anything you can sell, or liquidate, is an asset.

Your financial obligations are your liabilities. They consist of your expenses: mortgage or rent, utilities, insurance premiums, car loans, student loans, and any other types of payment you make. In short, a liability is any money you owe, either for a service, such as utilities, or goods, such as a car.

To assess your net worth, which is the difference between what you have and what you owe, you need to prepare a list of all your assets (possessions) and liabilities (financial obligations). Generally speaking, only major assets are part of the list, such as homes, cars, and jewelry; however, for this purpose, you need to think of anything you have that could provide you with a financial return, should you find yourself in need to sell it.

Prepare a list of all your possessions and their worth, starting with the most valuable one. You may search the Internet for ready made templates to fill out, or you can prepare your own, either on computer or using the old fashioned pen and paper method. If you choose the computer, an Excel spreadsheet will work best, as it will allow you to do calculations with ease.

Begin by listing the items vertically. Your home may be the first on the list, or perhaps your car might be. If you don’t own either, your furniture might be the number one. Whatever your most expensive material possession is, list it first. Continue with all the other items you have accumulated through the years. For example, you may have purchased, long time ago, a book collection of classic authors; list it. Continue with your inventory until all items that could give you a financial return have been listed.

Next, record their value. To assess their worth, you may need to do some research. What would that item cost if purchased used today? Naturally, you need to consider its condition. You also need to be conservative in assigning its value. Don’t appraise something over its actual worth. Some items may gain value with time, such as a home or an autographed first edition of a book from someone famous. Other items lose value with time and use, such as a vehicle or a computer.

When you are finished listing your assets, it is time to list your liabilities. Begin with the most expensive item you have. It may be your mortgage or rent, it may be the car payment, or it may be another type of loan. Continue your list until all of your debts have been recorded.

Remember to list any insurance you may have: home, health, life, and auto. List all of your utilities and other home bills. Go through your checkbook and bank account to make sure you have recorded all. Did you remember to include the exterminator? What about the yard service?

Last step is to calculate your net worth. Add all your assets; add all your liabilities; subtract the two figures. If your assets are more than your liabilities you have a positive net worth. But don’t rest on your laurels quite yet. There is still room for creating an extra savings cushion.

If your liabilities are more than your assets, you have a negative net worth. But you need not despair, should you owe more than you have.

Create A Monthly Budget This Weekend

Many families live month to month, paycheck to paycheck. Some people don’t even know how much they spend each month on bills, groceries, or shopping. If you don’t know how much you are spending each month it is very easy to find yourself buried in debt and in financial trouble. If you create a budget and revise it a little each month you will know exactly how much money you have and how much money you have to spend or save. Budgeting sounds like such a good idea, but I know it may not seem like it is a necessity.

When I first got married I remember my in-laws always asking me if I have a budget for the family. I finally just said yes so they would stop asking. At the time it didn’t seem like we needed one. Now 10 years later I see how right they were. A budget is very helpful to have and can be simple to make. By making a monthly budget I know how much money I will need to pay my bills and how much extra money I have to save or shop with for the month.

The first thing you need to do is write down how much income comes in every month. Some people I know use a spiral note book. I use excel to create a monthly budget.

After you know how much money you bring in every month begin writing down every monthly expense. Start with the expenses that stay the same every month. Mortgages, car payments, and cell phone bills typically stay the same. After write down an estimate for the other bills.

For gas and electric bills look at last month or last years bill to make an estimate for the month. For the credit card payments start with an estimate of the monthly minimum payment.

Some payments aren’t made every month, but still need to be accounted for in a monthly budget. If you pay $3000 a year for property tax, put $250 in the budget for the month. Do the same for car insurance, car tags, etc. If you budget for these every month, but actually put the money in savings or another checking account it won’t come as a hardship the month these bills are due.

Next put some money in a “rainy day” fund. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but I put some in this category and use for Christmas and birthday gifts, special treats for myself, etc.

Next put some money in savings. Even if you can’t save a lot each month it’s important to get in the habit of saving. Even if you only save a little right now it will add up and someday you will be glad you began a savings account.

After all the bills are accounted for see how much money you have left over. Hopefully you do have money left over. With the money left over you will need money for gas in your car, groceries, eating out, and any other activities you may do during the month. Divide the money among these categories. If you have credit card bills try to pay more than the monthly minimum to get the credit card paid off sooner. I divide the monthly extra money by 4 (for the four weeks of the month)

I use envelopes and write “groceries”, “eating out”, etc on the outside. At the beginning of the week I put the designated money in these envelopes and keep them in a safe place in my home. By doing this I know how much I can spend each week. At the end of the week I put the extra money (if there is any) in the savings or rainy day account. It may seem silly to create different envelopes, but this way you know where your cash is going (groceries, eating out, etc)

This may seem like a lot of work, but once you create an initial budget, it’s easy to adjust a little each month. When summer months come you will know to add more to the electric bill and if you don’t use credit cards you know the monthly payment will go down a little each month.

Budgeting For College Funds

Ensuring your children obtain good and quality education is crucial. This is often labeled as the greatest legacy you can leave with your child. Most parents want the best for their children but cringe at the price they have to pay for quality education. Unfortunately, signs abound that there will be no respite any time soon. Tuition fees keep increasing day by day. The only logical thing to worry about is how to save money for your children’s education in the easiest possible manner.

To meet the skyrocketing financial demands of your children, you have to save. The best method that you can adopt here is to start setting some money aside right from the birth of the baby. This might sound ridiculous, but it is not in any way impossible. People have done it, and it has paid off greatly. They end up having enough by the time the child is ready to be a college student.

Another way to save money for your children’s education is through scholarships and grants. You children can benefit from any of these when they merit them. Try to encourage and motivate your children to see that they take their studies seriously. These scholarships and grants take the burden of payment off you and allow you save more money or focus on other things that require your financial attention.

Also, you could go for a trust fund if you are financially capable. The interests of these funds mature with the growth of your child. This fund will be at your disposal and would bail you out when you need to pay for your child’s education. If you are weak financially and can not afford this, there are other methods through which you can save money for your children’s education. Deposit your little amount in a savings account with a high interest rate. Then plan towards increasing the size of the savings at every available opportunity. This means more interest yield and more money for the education of your child.

Banks and other financial institutions also offer services that revolve around funds that grow depending on the amount invested or the deposits made in batches. Approach them and other investment firms that can help you out. They invest in stocks with your money and convert it back to cash and bonds when you are ready to use it.

Simple things such as reducing your withdrawal rate to save more and increase the amount of interest you get from your bank can also help save money for your children’s education in the long run. It’s never too late to adopt any of these practices.

Budgeting For Your 401K

Many people are struggling to make ends meet in today’s society. In most cases, it does take two incomes to make it work. With the rising cost of living many people have depleted savings or have not been able to start a savings plan. The United States is considered one of the richest countries in the world, but we have one of the lowest savings rates.

A lot of elderly people are depending on social security to provide enough income to live on, but it was not designed for that. Social Security is supposed to be a supplement to a retirement or savings to help the elderly pay for the necessities of life. With the baby boomers starting to reach retirement age, our Social Security system will be in jeopardy. Many people believe that the money that is taken out of their pay and designated for Social Security is going into an account for their retirement. That is not the case. The Social Security payments that we are making today is being paid to recipients today. It is up to the individual to begin a savings plan or retirement account on their own.

Setting up a budget is one of the best ways to overcome the problem of debt and beginning a savings plan. Many people are at a loss as to how to start a budget that works for them. Budgets that do not include any extras are hard to continue. People get discouraged and give up. One of the most important things to remember when setting up a budget is to pay yourself first. Begin with putting ten percent of your pay into a savings account on the day you are paid or as soon as you can. Look for a savings accounts that pays the highest interest rate.

When setting up a budget, you must first take into account your income for the month minus the ten percent used for savings. You must then figure your spending pattern, this should include all utilities, credit cards, insurances, taxes, along with an estimate of groceries, medical, automotive expenses, clothing, and personal necessities. The best way to see a spending pattern is to get a receipt for every dime you spend. It may take a month or two to get a spending pattern, but you will need this to set up a reasonable budget that will be easy to live with. Do not totally cut out money used for entertainment, such as dining out, theaters, family outings. One important thing to do is cut up all but one credit card. Keep the one that charges you the less interest. Keep this one credit card only for emergency situations and try your best not to use it.

Make separate list for bills and income. You must then decide in what order to pay the bills you have. The most important are the things you must have to survive, shelter, food, and utilities and transportation. Look over your spending pattern to see what you can give up or how to reduce the cost of the things you do need. Think about raising deductibles with insurances, clipping coupons for only the items that you use, packing your lunch or carpooling.

The easiest way to set up your budget is with the envelope method. Make an envelope for each of your bills. Each week, put one quarter of the amount required into each envelope. With credit cards, only put in what the minimum payment is at first. In four weeks time, you will have the money to pay each bill. It will take a little time to get caught up if you are behind, but you will not get further behind if you use this method. If you find that there is not enough money to pay the bills you have each month, you must further reduce your spending or find an additional source of income. It may be that you will have to sacrifice items in order to stick to your budget. Remember, if you call the collectors and let them know what you are doing, many will work with you.

Once you are caught up and bills are getting paid when they are due, look to see how much money there is at the end of the month. Take any extra money and use it to pay on the bill with the smallest balance due that charges interest such as a credit card. Once that particular bill is paid completely, use the money from that bill to pay off another, then another. Soon you will have bills paid off, and you will have extra money for savings. If you are paying on a mortgage, send an extra hundred dollars a month and have it applied to the principle of the loan. You will end up saving a lot on your mortgage and you home will be paid off sooner.

Do not change your spending pattern once your bills are paid, you still need to fund your savings. You must try to save as much as you can, and then think about opening an IRA or contributing money to your 401K plan if your employer offers one. Set a goal and do your best to achieve it.

Funding your retirement is one of the goals that must be worked on long before you retire. Sticking to a budget and increasing your savings is the easiest way to achieve this lifelong goal.

7 Money Saving Tips

The good financial times are gone and we all need to tighten our belts and save more money. Even if our economy begins to stabilize, it is important that we begin to build on our savings for the uncertain future. We have seven creative ways that you and your family can use to save more money:

1. Save Money By Creating a Budget
You would think this is a logical step for most people and you would be right. Unfortunately, most people do not do it. Seeing in black and white what you have exactly going in and coming out can be a wake up call. Most financial experts will tell you that this is by far the most important first step to take in controlling your finances.

2. Include the Unexpected in Your Budget to Save Money
While building that budget, make sure you include those unforeseen expenditures. Things like car maintenance, vacations, medical, kid’s activities, and such can destroy your bank accounts along with your budget. Make sure you include for them.

3. Save Money by Counting to Five
Remember when we would impose the five-second rule when you dropped food on the floor? Take that same advice and take a breath, count to five, and then decide if making that purchase is necessary. Impulse buying is the biggest culprit to anyone’s budget.

4. Save More Money by Disconnecting the Phone Wire
Unless you are still in the Stone Age, you do not need a wired phone. Nobody is using it anymore, unless you are a telemarketer disturbing someone’s dinner. Save yourself about $50 a month and disconnect it.

5. Learn to Save Money on Your Cable Bill
Remember back when you first signed up for cable they offered you tons of channels for a great “introductory rate.” By now, that introduction has gotten old and your cable bill has taken itself to new heights. Seriously look at what you are paying for and reduce that cable bill. No one and I mean no one needs 24 hours of “Animal Planet.”

6. Save Money by Removing Temptation From Your Sight
We all have been shopping online and many of those online retailers give you the opportunity to store your credit card number with them, just to make it convenient for you. That can be a major security problem so remove them if you have done it. Make sure you have to input those credit card numbers each time you buy something online. Chances are if you need to input it, you will not buy it. It also stops you from buying something on an impulse. See “Count to Five” above.

7. Get Your Family Involved in Saving More Money
The last time you went out for dinner and a movie with your spouse, it probably cost close to a $100 maybe $150 with the babysitter thrown in. Now, a family game like Monopoly and take out pizza will probably set up back about $25. Not only do you get to save some money, you get some great bonding time with the family.

More Budgeting Basics

With the cost of living rising day by day it is in your best interest to make your very own strategic plan on maximizing your financial resources and making sure that every penny that you earn is well spent.

Set a goal to coordinate your finances and to list your expense, so that you are able to use this information to best assist you in gaining economic stability as a working individual. No matter what you make with proper planning and budgeting you will be able to find financial freedom.

Your source of income, lifestyle, spending habits, current job, location of your home, cost of living, monthly bills and loans determines your level of budgeting needs. Starting to take charge of your finances is one sure way of becoming successful in a field of self-fulfillment and debt.

The following tips and recommendations will provide you details on how you can help yourself manage your finances and assume a new outlook to become responsible in your spending.

• Calculate your needs – Try to calculate what your household necessities will cost. Compare and see if you are able to save money on household items and groceries, by purchasing items on sale, in bulk, from wholesale clubs. Buying generic items will also save you a lot of money. Estimate your daily cost on these items.

• Try to eliminate unnecessary expenditures- Are you buying lottery tickets? Cigarettes and alcohol can also be quite costly. Unfortunately, vices can prove to be quite expensive, especially over time.

• Know your wants and needs – Try to limit spending on things that are not necessities. According to a recent study, luxuries are second to gambling in terms of the degree of money-stripping capability.

• Do not spend more than you earn-Charging unnecessary items on credit cards normally leads to debt that takes many years to payoff. Look at how much extra something costs you when you have to pay interest on that item.

• Keep a list of the money you are spending-For most people this is a real eye opener. This will give you a chance to see where your money is going. Do you stop for coffee every morning? Do you eat out for lunch each day? Over time all these things add up and can be very costly, but often times people do not realize how much it is costing them until they see the figures on paper.

Many people go through life spending money and never really know how they end up with no money three days before payday. Unless you are someone who has a considerable amount of wealth and income resources, you can not afford to continue in this way. It is time to take stock of your expenses and your spending habits and develop a plan to take responsibility for your finances.

Common Sense Personal Budget Planning

With many people struggling just to make ends meet it’s difficult to even think about opening a savings account.

But to get the maximum benefit from any rainy day fund it’s always better to start saving sooner rather than later and a good way to get going is to create, and stick to, a budget plan.

But how do you go about creating a budget plan? Below are 5 tips on how to get started…how you go about sticking to it is up to you!

1. Consider the year gone by and the year ahead.

When looking to start a budget for the forthcoming year (never just plan for the month ahead) you first need to look back at the year gone by to work out your biggest outgoings as well as identifying any mistakes you may have made. An easy way to go about this is to collect bank statements from the previous year as these should give a good overview of the last 12 months’ income and expenditure. The make a note of the outgoings that remain constant for the forthcoming year, for example, rent, utility bills etc.

When you have highlighted these expenses it is important to then plan for the ad hoc expenses for the year ahead, such as household repairs, birthdays and even vacations. For example, if you spend $1,000 on a vacation then this should be factored into your budget at a level of between $80 and $90 per month.

Once all of these outgoings have been factored in, they can be offset against your income to form the basis of your budget plan.

2. Get the details right

Many budget plans fail to work out because they don’t take account of the small, everyday expenses such as money spent on snacks, newspapers and other sundries. And whilst these things may seem inconsequential at the time, a couple of dollars here and there can really add up, for example, paying $2.00 for a coffee on the way to work each day will add up to around $500 over the course of the year.

Similarly, it is best to try and avoid putting too many variables into one category, for example, the costs incurred when running a car. If you simply put a certain amount of money aside each month to cover your car’s running costs, you need to make sure that this category covers every aspect of running that car including things like, petrol, car insurance, breakdown cover, services, repairs, MOTs and even things like car washing and anti-freeze for the winter.

3. Keep records and keep them in order

Keeping a record of your incomings and outgoings is the only way to keep on top of and ensure you adhere to your budget. It’s a good idea to set up a budgeting spread sheet as this will work out your disposable income and give you an at-a-glance overview of your income and expenditure.

If you don’t have the capabilities to keep a spreadsheet then the easiest way to keep a record is to keep the receipts from any purchases you make, including online purchases, and then at the end of each month record when and where your money has gone. In keeping a comprehensive list of all your outgoings you’ll be able to identify exactly where your money has gone, something that is particularly useful if you happen to fall short one month.

And whilst getting receipts for every purchase may seem a little over the top, this is common practice in business and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be as thorough with your personal finances as you would be with your business finances.

4. Make saving the norm

The basic idea of creating a personal budget plan is to ensure that you don’t fall into debt, or at least don’t fall further into debt, but the ultimate aim is to have enough money at the end of each month to put aside as savings.

That is why, wherever possible, you should factor in savings as part of your budget. And it doesn’t matter if you can only put a few dollars aside each month as even a small amount can adds up to a decent ‘rainy day’ fund.

Once you have decided on an amount that you can comfortably save each month then it’s a good idea to set up a direct payment from your bank account to your savings account as this will make sure that the money is being put aside each month.

It’s also important that you pick the right savings account that will yield the greatest return on your investment.

As it is coming towards the end of the financial year in the UK, many investors will be looking at taking out an ISA account over the next few months, that is the tax-free savings account that is the equivalent of the LSA, or Lifetime Savings Account in the US. The best thing about these accounts are the tax breaks that you are given, for example, if you open an LSA, you can contribute up to $7,500 to is every year and whatever money you put in is non-tax deductible and whatever returns you gain on the investment are tax-free.

The greatest advantage of this type of account is that you have the freedom to save for whatever you want as, unlike an Education Savings Account, it doesn’t necessarily have to go towards a college fund though it can do if you wish. In addition, you can roll any other savings accounts you may have, such as an Education Savings Account, into your LSA.

5. Give up your bad habits

This is potentially the hardest thing you’ll have to do when budgeting to save money but giving up some or all of your bad habits will make a massive difference to the amount of money you have available to put aside each month. The amount of money that can be saved by giving up smoking, drinking or gambling can be quite staggering…although giving up any of these habits is quite an undertaking!

Even just cutting down on these habits can ensure you save a fair amount of money, especially if this is done in tandem with other frugal living tips such as cutting out any unnecessary car journeys and cutting down on the amount of take away or eat-out meals you have.

And taking steps to cut out drinking or smoking as well as preparing your own meals and walking more often can have some positive health benefits as well as financial ones!

Of course, there are more steps that can be taken but if take these 5 steps as a starting point and make sure you stick to them then 2011 could be a financially sound year.

Even More Budgeting Tips

Many times people only try to increase their income to cover expenses and refuse to look at ways that they can cut expenses to help in meeting their monthly budget.

Here`s some easy things at which one can look in order to accomplish this task:

Start Small. Look for what seems to be the lower, more trivial expenses that you can cut. These items can be combined to give you some real relief: Cell phones and extra charges like text messaging, and Internet / Multimedia access; Cable TV and the number of channels to which you subscribe; a small but consistent change in the temperature in which you keep your home; turning off all lights when leaving a room; turning off your computer when finished; combine the little trips you take around town. What might seem trivial can add up over time. Shop for clothing at a local thrift shop. You can find great buys on almost new clothing for just pennies on the dollar to what it cost new.

Look Large. Now, tackle some obvious, but painful expenses. How about quitting smoking? Or, cutting back on the amount of alcohol that you purchase? Reduce your entertainment spending by not purchasing season tickets on your favorite team. Trade in your gas-guzzling SUV or Truck for a more fuel efficient vehicle. Compare rates on your automobile insurance. You might be able to find the same or better coverage at a lower cost.

Refinance. Look at refinancing your mortgage if it makes sense in your case. You will need to consult a refinancing calculator to help with this one. But, the savings can be substantial.

Cut Taxes. You can challenge your real estate tax assessment and attempt to get the rate lowered thereby saving you potentially hundreds of dollars per year. You must have evidence on your side, but the savings on this can make the effort worth the time.

These simple steps can help tip your budget towards the black and help you begin to work your way out of debt, as well. Use the extra to pay down your credit cards to a zero balance. Then, pay off your auto loans. You will have extra money to place into cash accounts to use in emergencies and for expense planning.

It ds not take a lot to get started, just the will to make it happen.