Find out why you need to make a budget and where your money is going with these budgeting tips.
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Kevin McCormally: I am Kevin McCormally of Kiplinger's. I am with Janet Bodnar, the Deputy Editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine. We are talking about budgeting. Janet it's the B word, why do we have to do it?
Janet Bodnar: Well you have to start with a right attitude Kevin. You know people hate the B word, but if you look at it as a straight jacket that keeps you from spending and keeps you from having fun, yes it is a downer. But if you look at it, it is a way of helping you spend smarter and have more fun then it's a good thing.
Kevin McCormally: Okay, how I get started?
Janet Bodnar: You get started in a very simple way and that is just keep track of where the money goes for the next couple of weeks, one month tops you do not have to do this forever. Use your credit card statement to help you, use your debit card statement to help you, but if you just do that for a month, you really got a good hand along where the money goes.
Kevin McCormally: What am I looking for?
Janet Bodnar: You are looking for that one moment where you say. Wow, I didn't realize I was spending that much on, A) Lattes and lunch or B) Restaurant meals or C) Drinks after work with the guys from work. That one area where the cash is really leaking out that you can plug.
Kevin McCormally: And you can plug it in, then what would do with that money which you find?
Janet Bodnar: Well what you do with the money is first of all, you can use it to have more fun, put money aside for things like the car that you want to buy or the vacation that you want to take or you can use it to start an emergency fund, or start your retirement fund. It's the found money that you can say that you never thought you had.
Kevin McCormally: I keep track of all my spending for two weeks or a month, barely do that once in my life, or if I had to revisit that every year to stay on track with this budget?
Janet Bodnar: I think it is a good idea to revisit it at least once a year just to see where you are going. But once you have decided or once you have discovered the extra money that you have to save, if you kind of put that on auto pilot, if you have -- suppose, you figure that you can save another $200 or $300 a month. Have your bag take it out of your paycheck and put it in your savings account, or have you employer take it out and put it in your retirement account. That way you know you are going to be on track and then the rest of the money you can have more fun with spending, because you know you are already saving.