Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Be Cool! Control Your Cash!

Getting in control and staying in control of your finances is not ever going to be an easy thing, I promise. Especially in this day and age where the latest and greatest cell phone is going to cost you $500, a new laptop, nearly a good two grand and homes, cars, game systems and PDA's are a way of life. It's getting harder and harder to distinguish wants from needs.

Do you need a cell phone for instance or is it a luxury? It can be justified in so many ways. What if you get stranded by the side of the road? What if your kids need to get a hold of you while you are away? All very good and valid questions, but these do not qualify the cell phone as a need. Many, many people have survived for many, many years without a cell phone and many do even today. So chalk that up to a want.

Now I am not saying that you cannot have a cell phone or cable or a home computer or the new Nintendo Wii. But your first priority is a need list. This would include such things as clothing, food, water, electricity and gas, a vehicle and shelter. Then, once you know where your needs lie, add up their costs. What you have left over is the amount of money you have to spend on wants such as a cell phone, going out to dinner or getting your nails done.

I think you will really be surprised to find out how much money you actually spend on wants and whims. I personally was amazed to find out that if I were able to follow our budget I would have $100 each month to spend on myself and an extra $500 each month to put into savings. And that included alot of wants such as cable Internet service and a cell phone for myself and my husband.

There are lots of resources for budget planning advice and suggestions, financial calculators and retirement planning on the Internet and alot of it is really great information. Just don't overwhelm yourself. Take it one step at a time and before you know it you will have yourself into a routine of financial freedom and self-reliance.

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