It's one of the fundamentals of money management: Having a monthly budget. And yet, many people try to get by without one. It may be possible, but without having a budget, it can be difficult to track spending and challenging to save money for emergencies or for retirement. The simple act of recording your income and outgo can help give you a clear picture of how your money is spent and identify possible ways to save.
As NerdWallet explains, having a budget helps identify spending and saving priorities but it doesn't have to be complicated. Even a "back of an envelope" estimate of income and expenses can help you get a handle on how your money moves from month to month. It helps you separate essential spending, such as rent or insurance, from optional expenses like that daily cup of coffee or entertainment. Experts also recommend having both a checking and savings account, so you can keep your savings separate and less accessible for daily use.
To help your viewers/readers/listeners understand how budgeting can help them get a better picture of their personal finances, talk with credit counselors or financial planners in your area. They can offer suggestions for creating a simple budget on a spreadsheet or using free or low-cost software to track monthly income and spending. They can also demonstrate how budget planning to make saving easier, and provide a road map to a stable financial future.
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Krissy Clark of Marketplace entered the 2016 NEFE/RTDNA awards contest with a series of reports on the current state of welfare in the United States.