Creating a Budget
This may sound simple, but often, budgets are 'ball-park' estimates done on the fly. For example, you have in your head a fairly good estimate on what you can and can't afford. This may work for you, but if you were to write down your actual expenses each month vs your income, you may find a few ways to save more each month by cutting out a few unnecessary expenses.
The key to creating a budget is using factual figures. An estimate of expenses could end up being a shortage at the end of the month. If you're not 100% certain on some expenses (example: gasoline typically consumed each month), estimate at first, but keep track of it for the next 30 days and update you estimates as needed. The more detailed you are now, the better off you'll be in the future...There are several great "budget planner" forms and/or programs available on the net, ranging from free to nearly free. Using a simple spreadsheet (example: excel) would work just fine and is something you could easily do yourself. Feel free to use our budget planner; simply print it out, fill it in and you're set. Once you created a budget, you have to stick with it, cut where you can, if you can and see if you can contribute a little extra towards your savings. Another option is a program by Quicken which covers just about everything you could ask for.