In order to balance your personal finances and save money, you need to create a budget. This is the first step toward paying of your debt and saving for retirement. It leads to a future of financial security and peace of mind.
Approximately one half of your income should be used to pay for things you need. Experts disagree about the exact percentage, but it definitely should be no more than 60%. Write down all the areas that you NEED to spend money on each month from your personal finances. This includes food, gas, house/apartment payments, etc. Make sure you are honest and include only things absolutely necessary. (Do not include credit card debt or other debt here; they will come later.) Then write down how much you are paying for each of your needs that you listed. Take the total amount you are spending on your needs and divide that number by your total income so that you can see what percentage of your income goes for your needs each month. For example, if you make $2,000 a month, and spend $1,350 on your needs, you divide $1,350 by $2,000. This equals 0.675, or 68% of your income. If the amount you are spending on your needs is much over half of your income, as in this example, you are going to have to look for ways to save money on your needs.
Re-shopping your insurance: auto, renters/home, health, life, motorcycle, etc are some of the ways to save money on your needs. It's important to re-shop insurance every 18 months to two years to make sure you are still getting the best deal. If you have an overwhelming car payment, you may have to sell your car. Maybe the expense most out of control is your housing. Try renting one of the rooms in your house out, staying with a family member for a while, or moving to a more affordable place. Get creative, and find ways to save money on your needs, so that approximately one half of your income is spent here.
Take the time today to find out what percentage of your income you are spending on your needs. Then, look for ways to save money on them in order to begin balancing your personal finances. Look for my next article to balance the second part of your finances.