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How to Make a Monthly Budget and Stick To It

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How to Make a Monthly Budget and Stick To It

We are always hearing families complain about money woes. Not just about the expenses of childcare, but also how to budget! To help us out, we enlisted some advice from Melea Johnson, founder of www.Freebies2Deals.com and the author of Create Your Own Money Saving Adventure who shared some insight on how to really created the ultimate family budget this year AND stick to it!

Monthly Budgets are hard for people to stick to. That's why I tell people they have to have their money going to right place FIRST, before they can budget. You've got to budget for emergencies, layoffs.. and have a slush fund for the FUN stuff your family wants to do!
As soon as you get your paycheck, divide into different accounts.

Put at least 10% into your Savings Account(s). Remember, if there is an emergency, you can always pull it out. If you don’t put money into savings and keep it in your checking account, you are more likely to spend it because it is there. Out of sight- out of mind!
Don’t use money in your Savings Account unless it is an absolute necessity. “Wants” are not considered emergencies. So, especially while you are in debt, refrain from pulling out money.

Set up multiple accounts. I have a Regular Checking Account, a second Checking Account for all of the bills to be paid out of, a Business Account (for F2D), a Regular Savings Account (for Emergencies), another Savings Account for FUN, and another Savings account. I use to pay contributions to my church (10% Tithing). Not to mention I have Savings Accounts for both of my children set up. That may sound like a lot to you. You probably know how much money you need each month for bills. So right when you get your check, send that money over to your Checking Account that you only use to pay bills. You can even set up auto-pay with your bank and not worry about it. **Remember to use the Debt Elimination Plan with this as well.

Then, you know exactly how much money you have left after your bills are paid. (Keep in mind that you have already sent at least 10% over to your Savings account). Now that you have a realistic idea of how much money is left in your regular checking account, it makes it a lot easier to budget!!

When you have all of your money in one checking account, it is just too easy to think you have more than you really do. Maybe a bill hasn’t posted to your account yet, or you mis-calculated. Either way, it is better to only see what you really have and can use.

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If you have room with your money, I would not only have a regular savings account- but I would add a FUN Savings account too!

Regular Savings Accounts should have at least 3-6 months of living expenses saved up. If you lose your job or a money crisis hits, you will have enough to cover it.

FUN Savings Accounts are my favorite! I add 10% to my regular savings accounts. Then I take out another 10% and put it in my FUN Savings account. We can use that money any way we like. Maybe we are saving up for a Disneyland Trip. Maybe we want new couches, or a new TV. Just save up for a few months- then, you can take out the money and do whatever you want with it! Don't be tempted to put it on a CC.

Why do we go through so much effort to organize the checking and savings accounts? Because it truly does make a difference! You will see exactly how much you are spending, what goes to bills, what is holding you back from paying off unnecessary debt and you can start to gain some control with your money!

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