You Make a Check, So Make a Budget

You work hard and you deserve to reap the benefits of your hard work. Money is hard to come by and even harder to keep once you’ve earned it. I know, I know, it’s tax season so it gets a little easier around this time because refunds are rolling in. Instead of wondering where all your paychecks go and stressing out about why your refund didn’t last very long, allow me to give you a couple tips on making your money last longer. (Disclaimer: I’m not going to tell you to horde all your money and not have fun but using a couple of these easy tips will help you!)

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Identify your spending habits

There are a slew of products and services available at your fingertips to spend your money on. Make a note of all the things that you NEED and some things that can be considered a need (extra cell phone data, Starbucks, etc.). Anything that is not on those lists is a frivolous expense. You don’t have to cut out all frivolous expenses however, monitoring them and keeping them under control is the first step to managing and budgeting your money. Analyze whether you can be considered a bull (aggressive spender) or a bear (reserved spender) and factor how that affects your budget.

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From identifying your spending habits, the next step is to filter what you spend. In other words, SPEND SMART. Groceries are cheaper than fast food, those Jordans or heels you want will probably come around again, and you can do without going to see a movie EVERY weekend. Make sure that the money you earn is being spent wisely. When shopping for any product, try to catch a sale or look for coupons. There are many ways to get around store and retail prices. Really sit down and figure out what can reduce or completely eliminate spending in your budget.


Most people hate to save but it is an important part of keeping a balanced budget. Any and every cent counts when it comes to saving. If you put $1/day away from yourself every day for a year, you will be $365 richer. That doesn’t seem like much but $365 extra can go a long way. Do a little research on saving. The 50/20/30 rule is a good standard to set for yourself when learning to save and balancing a budget (see Learnvest article). There are a couple different savings charts I’ve seen on the Internet that will urge you to put away money daily, weekly, or even monthly to achieve a goal (see Today article). If all else fails put your change or extra dollars in a jar and watch how fast money adds up if you don’t spend it. There are so many easy ways to save!

Candice Johnson,
PABPG Financial Advisor

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