Budgeting can be an important step in finding money to invest and use toward your long-term goals. Put together a budget and work on sticking to it each month – and you will quickly see that it’s worth the effort.
Start with these worksheets
To help you get a better handle on where your money is going, use these two worksheets to track and plan your budget. Knowing the numbers may help you find the money to meet your long-term needs for retirement income.
- My Spending Plan (60 minutes) – This worksheet includes everything from your house payment to your summer pool membership.
- Monthly Expense Tracking (a few minutes a day) – This worksheet helps you track your expenses for a month. Compare your expenses to your budget to learn where you can make adjustments.
Work toward getting out of debt
Getting into debt is easy. Getting out of it is tough, but not impossible. Having an aggressive plan to get out of debt and stay out is vital to your financial well-being.
Consider this scenario: You have a $1,000 credit card balance with an 18% interest rate. If you make only the minimum required payment each month − often 2% of the outstanding balance – it will take more than 19 years to pay off and will cost $1,931 in interest. You read that right – your $1,000 splurge actually cost you almost $3,000.
Credit is easy to use and misuse – and it can be expensive. Getting out of debt requires a strategy, a commitment and sacrifice, but the results are worth it.