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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Plan it Out and Write it Down!

You knew it was coming. I write about managing your money, so, in the back of you're mind, you had to know this topic was coming up. If not, you are living in denial.
If you want to manage your money, instead of having it manage you, you need to have a written budget. Now, don't go running off to Mommy to snitch on me that I said the "B" word. A budget is not something to cause you to assume the fetal position. If that word scares you, call it a "cash flow plan" or "a spending plan." I don't care what you call it, but you have to do it!
A budget does not have to be scary. The first time I went through Financial Peace University, Dave Ramsey quoted author John Maxwell's definition of a budget as "telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went." Your budget is simply a flowchart to show you where your money is going.
There are two aspects of youer budget. First it should be planned ahead of time. Whether you do your budget Annually, weekly, or somewhere in between, you need to do it ahead of time. I recommend doing a monthly budget. A monthly budget is good, bcause each month is different. The expenses in March will not be the same as December's expenses. So, before you get you first paycheck each month, plan out how you are going to spend this month's income.
Second, a budget should be a written plan. It needs to be written down. You need to have a hard copy of your budget that can be easily referred to. This way, you can say, this is my budget, and I will stick to it. Now, before the hands start going up, I will be dealing with some budgetary objections in my next few entries. but remember to plan your expenses and to write it down.

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