2011 Debt Resolution: Creating a Budget

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2011 Debt Resolution: Creating a Budget

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Every year thousands of us make New Year Resolutions to change everything from smoking to eating to exercise.

2011 Debt Resolution: Creating a Budget I want to encourage you to make a Debt Resolution to change your spending habits and break the cycle of debt!  

What exactly is a resolution? Some of the definitions include:

A resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.

The act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.

The mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.

First, begin by resolving that this year you will take the time to create a budget and stick to it. You can choose the old tried and true method of writing it in a notebook, you can use an excel spreadsheet, or you can use the technology offered on several websites to manage your budget.

Secondly, you have to act! Do not keep saying you will start it next month or even tomorrow because as we know tomorrow never comes. Schedule a time, typically about and hour or so, to create the actual budget sheet. Then plan to update your budget every pay period.

Lastly, the ultimate goal of a budget is to see exactly where your money is going! Keeping a budget helps you to stay accountable and will hopefully change your mindset when it comes to your spending habits. For example, instead of spending $25 a week on your favorite cup of coffee - what if you include those funds in your budget to pay down a bill or put in an emergency savings fund.

Once you see where your money is going you begin to make better choices which ultimately lead to better spending habits and less debt.

In order to assist you and make this an easy resolution to keep I have listed several resources to help you get started:

Debt Diva's Budget Planner or CareOne's Budget Planner and see Understanding Budgets, from Mint.com.

Budgeting for Lazy People from the Motley Fool

Create a Love Affair with Your Finances in 2011 from gobankingrates.com

Budgeting so easy, you'll actually budget from Mint.com

How to Create a Monthly Budget from Dummies.com


Let me and others in the community know which method you choose. Please share a few of your tips in achieving a successful, manageable and stress free budget!

Coach Tammy

Coach TammyThomasene "Coach Tammy" Bradford joined the CareOne social media team as a Social Media Specialist in September 2009 and works to provide the highest level of customer service in the community.

You can see Tammy in action in the Ask The Expert forum and throughout the community.


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  • I use mint.com and some personal spreadsheets.  I keep most of my money in savings and only keep enough in my checking to meet my budget each week.  If I do over spend in a week and have to remove some money out of savings then I cut the amount I spent from my next weeks allowance.  If I have extra left over in my checking then I only transfer enough to cover what I allow on my budget for the next week.  This helps me when it comes time to pay CareOne so I know how much extra I have in my savings that I can apply towards my debt.  Or how much money I have to save for my upcoming cruise in May (by way of cash of course). Then just before my payment is to come out for CareOne I transfer the money I have left from my budget  into my checking and increase my payment by that amount.

  • Track your spending and identify expenses which can be cut. A budget or spending plan should be built to change, as our financial lives are very rarely steady. Set a realistic goal for savings, and work towards it every day.

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