“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan”                                                              Eleanor Roosevelt

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1. Have patience. I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure money doesn’t grow on trees and unless you hit the lotto it’s hard to save if you don’t have a plan in place. So keep in mind that planning —no matter the cause— takes not only energy but also time. So you’ll need a bit of patience. 

2. Set your goals. Setting your goals—whether short or long-term— is a crucial step in creating any plan. It’s hard to accomplish or measure an outcome if you don’t have anything to compare them to. Don’t just make a mental note. Have them written down and easily accessible (on the refrigerator, at your desk at work, or in your wallet) because they will serve as a reminder of why you started your journey and where you want to go.

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3. Make a timeline. Set a specific date or time frame for accomplishing your goal(s). This will help you to determine how much you need to save during that specific period.

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4. Make Your Budget. If you’re anything like me, you spend your money on just about anything. That has to STOP. Saving requires discipline, commitment and a lot of prioritization. So decide what you can live without or cut back on (shopping, dinning out, going to the movies etc.). Once you have decided, set a budget and stick to it!

5. Create a Budget Worksheet. Not spending money is hard. Creating a budget worksheet helps to track your spending. You can easily compare your spending to what you’re saving. In my budget sheet I include my monthly income after taxes  minus all my expenses (bills, transportation, groceries i.e.).  I save a percentage of the difference and it’s up to me how I spend the remaining amount. Keep in mind you’re on a budget so don’t go coo coo crazy.

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6. Put your plan into action.  Find ways to meet your goals and stay on budget by spending less. Use coupons for groceries or household purchases. Try staying away from using your plastic, use cash instead. You’ll see a change in your wallet! Use the money that you aren’t spending to put away as extra savings.Remember, you don’t have to spend beyond your means. It’s ok to be cheap or frugal and every once in a while, be sure to treat yourself to something nice!

7. Track and Evaluate Your Spending. At the end of each week or month if you prefer, subtract what you’ve spent from your money left from paying bills and your initial savings.  If you find yourself over budget you’re spending too much. Consider cutting in other places to avoid things from getting out of control.

So that’s my plan and I’m sticking to it!  I hope you find this helpful in your planning process. If not, try creating a plan that works best for you and your goals. Here are some free budget worksheets to get you started.

Other Free Budget Sheets!

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