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Gain perspective on your saving & spending

Instead of throwing a dart at the dartboard and hoping you can pay the credit card bill each month, create an intentional spending plan that includes the things that are most important to you. Maybe that means buying the better groceries, a yoga membership, or take out from your favorite restaurant. Being intentional with both your short term and long term needs, like saving for your children’s college or retirement, allows you to make decisions with confidence.

SET YOUR GOALS.
You likely have short-term goals, such as a family vacation or paying off credit cards, and long-term goals like a cottage or traveling the world in retirement. Setting goals can give you the needed incentive to create and stick to a budget. So, think about it - what do you want to save for?

UNDERSTAND YOUR MONTHLY INCOME REVENUE.
How much do you make every month? Does it vary based on how many hours you work? Make sure you understand how and when your cash is flowing in. Your fixed income - or the amount you know you're getting every month - should be the basis of your budget and how much you have to spend on the expenses you have every month.

LOOK AT YOUR EXPENSES.
Track your expenses for a month to see where your money is really going. Group your spending into essential items, such as rent, mortgages, and loans, and discretionary items, which may include eating out, entertainment, and travel.

COMPARE YOUR INCOME TO YOUR EXPENSES.
If you're spending less than what you earn, you're growing your savings. If not, you're creating debt. Look for ways to cut your expenses. Create a monthly budget to pay all your fixed expenses first, and then decide how much money you want to spend on the other categories.

STAY FOCUSED.
Think about how your budget aligns with your personal values and make adjustments if needed. Monitor your progress every month by comparing your monthly spending with your monthly income to make sure you're on track to meet your goals.

To get started, use this budgeting template to track your anticipated monthly income and spending.

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