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Keep Your Budget Current

Living a Better Life® (from the editor's desk)
by Michelle Jones

It may happen in January or February, or maybe not until June, but your financial situation can change any time throughout the year. Can, or rather, WILL. It’s important that your monthly budget plan reflects these changes and stays current. So, at some point during the year...

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Update Your Budget!

Your updated budget will need to include any increased or decreased income, and/or any changes in the expenses or payments going out. It will also need to reflect your short-term and long-term financial goals, such as saving for a down payment on a new house or college tuition for your kids, or yourself!

If you’re paying off debts, you’ll need to adjust those items as well, They should be getting smaller and smaller every month. See my ebook Dealing with Debt for more help with that issue, it’s available as a free gift for subscribers.

We update our family budget every quarter, as life is always changing for us. Whether it’s a job change, new activities for the kids, car repairs, or a new set of medical bills coming in. We make adjustments wherever they’re needed. If we didn’t make changes to our budget plan throughout the year when these things occur, we might spend the extra money that’s needed to cover the extra expenses (or reduced income).

My favorite budget planning system is simple and easy. I use a 3-column green Columnar Pad and each page holds a full quarter of our budget for the year. Whenever I find I’m ready to make a small change here or there it's very easy to do when I begin a new page. I keep the old pages to refer back to later in the year if needed.

This simplified system could easily be done on the computer as well, with spreadsheets in Excel. However, since I work on the computer full-time, it’s actually pleasant to work with our budget on real paper. I also like to take some time to review our budget each month, to make sure everything is going where it should. I keep the ledger with our bills in a basket on my desk and take time once a week to send everything out and take care of any miscellaneous items like subscriptions and insurance.

Having a set "Pay Bills Day" once a week will help you keep your bills up to date. Just remember to keep your budget up to date as well.

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Copyright © 2013 by Michelle Jones. All rights reserved.

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