Personal financial planning consists of three general activities:

  • Controlling your day-to-day finances to enable you to do the things that bring you satisfaction and enjoyment.
  • Choosing and following a course toward long-term financial goals such as buying a house, buying a car or saving for college.
  • Building a financial safety net to prevent financial disasters caused by catastrophic illnesses or other personal tragedies.

Why Should I Budget?
Controlling your financial affairs requires a budget. For many people, the word “budget” has a negative connotation. Instead of thinking of a budget as financial handcuffs, think of it as a means to achieve financial success.

Whether you make thousands of dollars a year or hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, a budget is the first and most important step you can take towards putting your money to work for you instead of being controlled by it and forever falling short of your financial goals.

To those of you who think you know where your money goes without keeping detailed records, I issue this challenge: keep track of every cent you spend for one month. You’ll be flabbergasted and perhaps taken aback by how much some of your “small” expenditures add up to.

Budgeting and tracking your expenses gives you a strong sense of where your money goes and can help you reach your financial goals, whether they are saving for a down payment on a house, buying a new car, paying off the credit cards, or saving for that special trip.

2 Movie Tickets/Weekly $1144 – $1560/yr
1 Hardback & 3 Paperback Books/Mo. $690/yr
Lunch Take-out 5 days/wk @ $5-$10/day $1300 – $2600/yr
3 Specialty Coffees/Wk. $936 – $1092/yr
3 Specialty Drinks/Wk. $624 – $936/yr

Whether you use sophisticated personal finance software or a couple of pieces of paper and a pencil, the important thing is that you get on the road to financial freedom by starting a budget today.

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