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No. of Recommendations: 6
Walstib wrote: Budget. Ugh. That will be a work in progress.

I was in my thirties when I realized that my spending was outstripping my income. Not by a lot, but by enough that I was digging a hole rather than piling up a hill. At the time, Andrew Tobias had just published his "MYM" (Managing Your Money) book...and it was a slender volume. I read it and I laughed as he explained how easy all of this was. It WAS easy, once I committed to it. It was even fun. I began to keep track of everything I spent...everything down to a 25 cent candy bar. I kept track of checking (easy because of the register), credit cards (easy because of the bills) and cash (not so easy because it spent, but getting receipts helped me put it back together)

After a month or so I began to see some of the leaks in my financial boat and I plugged them. Impulse purchases began to dwindle. Even purchases that I was pretty sure I needed were put on hold for a time to see if I really needed them. I found that I was paying for redundant services so I took a look at memberships and other payment plans that had grown like barnacles on my monthly expenses.

When MYM became available as a computer program, I bought it immediately and happily set up my categories and accounts. Then, at the push of a button, I could see where things were month to month and year to year. Somewhere in there I realized that I was in control.

Many years later I found Motley Fool and I found that many others had gone through the same process to gain control, but they had maybe taken different paths. It was (and still is) fascinating.

So, my two cents is: figure out where the money comes in and where it goes out, either with paper and pencil or with one of the many money management programs for sale and for free on the web AND make use of the great advice and personal stories of success that you find here at Motley Fool. If you aspire to control of your finances it can be inspirational to hear from others how they got control. I think you will find in most cases that it was a bit of a long slog but well worth it.

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