Premier Consumer Credit Counseling reports:
"By writing a budget, you will be able to plan for your present and future needs...To write a budget that suits your needs, follow these five steps...Look at your bank statements for the last year. Write down the amount of money that you spent on essentials...Record, as accurately as possible, the amount of money you spent at the supermarket, on clothing, and on any major items you purchased, such as a new refrigerator. Add up all of your last year’s expenses. Look at your last year’s income. Last year, how much money did you fritter away on non-essential items? How much money did you save? Are you happy with the amount of money you saved?...Make a new record of expenses for the next twelve months. If any of your essential items have increased in cost from last year, add the new cost to your list...Your list should include [such things as] entertainment costs, family holidays, and the cost of any sporting activities that you do...Do not add dreams to this list. Only add items that you feel you will be able to afford. Decide on the amount of money you would need to save each week in order to achieve your goal. Start a new savings account with your bank to enable you to save for the item or items on your wish list...Allow yourself money to spend on non-essentials. You need to be able to spend a little money every week on the things that brighten your day...It is important to allow yourself the occasional treat, so you do not become discouraged with budgeting...Once you have written down all of your expenses, it is time to add up your lists and complete your annual budget. Now is the time to make any alterations to finalize your budget. If your expenses are higher than your income, it will be necessary to adjust your expenditure. You may prefer to remove items from your wish list, or you may prefer to cut down on your everyday spending. For example, you could cook more meals at home instead of buying take-away food or eating out. With careful management, your budget will enable you to achieve all of your needs and goals."
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