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When you’re trying to get your finances under control, you hear the same thing everywhere you turn: make a budget. But what does that really mean? Do you know how to create a budget? And what should your budgeting goals be? We’ve gathered some expert advice for you.

Why is a budget important? Without a budget, it can be hard to reach your financial goals. You may not even realize where your money is going, which makes it hard to get ahead. The goal of a budget is to help you track your earning, track your spending, and make sure the first number is larger than the second. So, how should your budget be structured?

  • Determine your monthly income. If you are paid the same thing every month, this is easy, but for a freelancer, income may vary. If this is the case for you, average your last 12 months of income and use that figure to create your budget. Make sure to take taxes into account.
  • List your set monthly expenses. Some things are the same each month, like rent, cable, car payment, insurance, day care, and monthly memberships. Others fluctuate a little bit, like utilities and cell phone.
  • Estimate your variable expenses. These are things you have to pay every month that don’t have a set cost, like groceries, medical expenses, car and home maintenance, and credit card payments.
  • Plan to pay yourself. What are your financial goals? Are you trying to create an emergency fund? Build your savings? Maybe you’re saving up for a major purchase or a vacation. Put these into your monthly budget.
  • Make decisions on discretionary spending. This category includes things like entertainment, dining out, clothing, and gifts. Make sure you adjust for occasions like birthdays and Christmas, so you’ll have enough budgeted to cover these things.
  • Be wary of credit card debt. It can be easy to blow your budget when you use credit cards to pay for things you can’t afford. Be careful to only charge your credit cards to an amount that you’re comfortable paying off within the month, or you’ll rack up interest charges that can quickly snowball.
  • Understand that budgeting is an ongoing process. It’s like a housecleaning chore: you can’t do it once and be done, you have to see it as regular maintenance.

Sometimes, managing your finances is complicated, and you’ll need some extra help. When you’re looking for a fair deal on a loan, VIP Title Loans is here for you. We understand that getting the best title loan interest rate is important to you, and we value your dollar. That’s why we offer competitive, manageable rates, keeping our fees lower than most other companies. We want to earn your business by saving you money, and with locations in Arlington, Dallas, Garland, Lewisville/Denton, Mid Cities/N.E. Ft. Worth, and Richardson, we’re easy to find. Call us at 214-819-9491 or 682-325-4202, or contact us for more information.