Cars break down, pipes wear out and break, and kids get sick. Don’t forget to build an emergency fund to pay for these unexpected events.
After figuring out how much you have to budget, you need to spend every dollar on paper and give it a purpose before it even makes it into your checking account.
Your budget should go in the following order: Food, utilities, housing, transportation costs, clothing and health costs.
If your down payment was less than 20%, you are probably paying PMI. Once you have a 20% cushion through reducing your debt and home appreciation (yes, prices do go up from time to time), contact your mortgage company to start the process of removing the PMI.
When establishing a budget get the whole picture. Start by collecting all checking account and credit card statements for the last year.
Collect all cash receipts for the last month (or next month if you don’t do this). Don’t forget cash spent on co-payments, mocha’s, haircuts, etc. Now collect all receipts for financial contributions to charity, including Girl Scout cookies, etc. Collect all pay stubs, deposit receipts, etc.
When putting together a budget the best way to get started is to put together a very basic list of your monthly income (i.e. your paycheck) and expenses. Just give it your best guess.
Stick to listing things you can easily identify: rent, car payment, insurance, utilities (you get the picture). As time goes by you can add more detail.
Lighting is responsible for about 11 percent of a home’s energy bills, and those continue to march up across most of the country, at a time when home prices are falling and job growth is soft.
It’s true that a compact fluorescent bulb uses about 75 percent less electricity than an incandescent, but the most energy-saving bulb of all is one that’s turned off.
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