Budget Booster

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Since this is the New Year, many of us are working on getting into financial shape or at least improving our finances. That means it is time to create or review and amend your budget. If you prefer to call it a “spending plan” rather than a “budget”, that’s fine with me. You can call it the “number thingy” as long as you do it! A budget is just a simple tool that helps you pay attention to your finances, right? How much money do I have? What are my monthly expenses? Okay, now subtract my expenses from my income and presto, I have a budget or spending plan or number thingy. Well, yes you have a budget, but not a great one unless you are actually paid once a month. For those of us who are on a tight budget, know that spending plans only work when each paycheck or income source you receive is accounted for. You must break down your spending plan to know what bills are being paid out of what paycheck. If you are paid weekly, you need to plan for what bills you will pay out of each weekly pay , if you are paid every other week or twice monthly, which bills will be paid out of each paycheck received? The biggest problem people have with their budget (other than having too much spending) is that too many of their bills are due around the same time of the month. If you have ever calculated a detailed spending plan using each income source, chances are you have run into the “too many bills due at the same time each month” problem. Lucky for you I have a simple solution: change the due dates on your bills!
Most credit cards will adjust your due dates and many other regular monthly bills are willing to do that same at your request. They may need to prorate a bill to make the change but if it smooths out your budget, it is worth it. In fact, most credit cards and some utilities will allow you to adjust the due dates online through their websites. You can find a comprehensive list of banks and how to change your due date from this Frequent Miler article. Always remember, if you aren’t sure, ask. Phone your cable provider or mobile phone service. Ask them to move your due date and see what they can do for you. The worst that can happen is no change will be made. If you succeed, you will have a budget that is easier to follow, and we know that following a budget is the key to reaching your financial goals, whatever they may be!

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