If your children will need Valentine’s Day cards for the entire class, pick them up at a dollar store.
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.
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