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Picture this…

You’ve landed your dream job. Or, more realistically, you’ve landed a job. It’s only up from here on!

Except for one condition: income minus bills equals zero. You might even find yourself asking “what’s the point of making money if you never have enough to save it, spend it, or even donate it?”

The solution? Planning. Good old-fashioned planning. Everybody, no matter how much money they make, needs to come up with a spending plan.

So, let’s get started! Here’s how to keep money in your hands instead of diverting it all to your bills in just two steps.

Step #1. Realizing your income and expenses.

First, you need to determine exactly how much money you receive in each paycheck. Get in the habit of examining your paycheck every time, looking at the factors that are building up and detracting from your income. Make sure that you account for Federal, state, and local taxes, health insurance, 401(k), and any other deductions.

Next, figure out your expenses. You’ve got to know your expenses if you want to decrease them. Don’t sweat it! You can track and measure your expenses easily – and quickly – through budgeting and money management tools like FAIRWINDS Money Management. Log in to your FAIRWINDS Online account to set up your FAIRWINDS Money Management account in just minutes, and at no charge.

Step #2. Separating the money from the bills.

You can’t magically earn more, but you can spend less. Really looking into your fixed expenses (like rent) and variable expenses (like electricity), will reveal many opportunities to save.

Whether it’s one of your utilities, internet and cable, phone, dining out, or even leisure, there’s always a cheaper option.

Figure it this way: you find yourself going out three times a week doing the same old thing at $20 a night. After a month, you’re bored to death – and you’ve wasted a total of $240 for the month. Now consider what else $240 can get you: a plane ticket to the Virgin Islands, premium seats to see Adele, or, most important, $240 in your savings account.

Also, a savings strategy you really should make a priority is paying off your debts. This is where spending actually leads to saving. Every dollar you pay off now means less money you’ll have to pay later in interest.

Once you have it all in order, a budget is about continuing to plan and spend well, especially when it comes to fun. If you place space in your budget for fun, like a vacation fund, you won’t feel stressed because you know you can afford it. It’s one of the best ways to gain peace of mind. Plan your fun and #save4something with many one of savings options.

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