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💰How To Stay On A Budget 💰

If you're tracking your expenses to find areas where you may be able to cut back or add to your savings, the best use is as the foundation for a budget. Aside from tracking your spending, follow these three steps to set up a budget.

Figure out your income. Comb through pay stubs, bank statements and other documents to get a firm grasp of your monthly income. This money should include salary, government benefits, investment gains and side-gig cash—anything that could be classified as income.

Separate essential and nonessential costs. Divide your tracked expenses into categories, creating buckets for recurring essential expenses (rent, utility, car payments ...) and for discretionary spending (travel, restaurant ...)

Settle on your goals. With a broad view of your income, expenses and spending habits, decide on your financial goals. Do you want to retire at age 60? Do you want to buy a house within the next two years? Do you need to set aside more money for emergencies? Once you know your goals, you can use your budget to help you reach them.

Embrace frugal living. You can try shopping around for sales and promotion, refinance your mortgage to get a lower interest rate, cancel unused subscriptions and memberships, cut back on restaurant meals, or take on DIY home improvement projects rather than hiring pros to do them to save some extra money.

Spend less. Ways to trim your spending include: consolidate your credit card debt (by swapping out higher-interest debt for lower-interest debt), shop around for insurance and take a timeout before making a big purchase. Before you put down your hard-earned money on a large purchase, stop and think about whether you really need it.

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