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Feature article: Budgeting & Saving


Getting the most out of your money

Most of us want more things than we can afford. There’s only so much money to go around. Getting most of the things you want is a skill. Everything we do has a trade-off, so we always have to keep that trade-off in mind. What makes one person happy may not make another person happy.

For example, what if you could make $100 if you have a garage sale to get rid of things you don’t want? Is it worth it? It depends.

What if you had to take two full days off work without pay to do it and you get paid $10 an hour? Unless you really like having a garage sale and spending time that way, you probably wouldn’t do it. After all, you would only make $100 and it would cost you $160 in lost wages, plus the costs of an ad and supplies. You would lose money.

On the other hand, if you are unemployed and already have supplies, it wouldn’t cost more than the ad and some of your time. Unless you really hate having a garage sale and spending time that way, you probably would do it. You could use resources on hand and only spend money on the ad. Even if the ad costs $15, you’ll still make $85.

People’s trade-offs aren’t always the same. To get the most out of your money, you have to figure out what you really want, think about what you have to give up to get it and go for it.


What do you want?
To get the most out of your money, get your family together to plan ahead. Let everyone talk about what they want and dream a little. Then talk about it some more and make a list of things you want the most.

You may not have enough money right now to get everything you want, so decide what matters most. Try as hard as you can to set aside money each month for those things that will have to wait, even if it’s just a few dollars.


How much money do you have?
List everywhere you get money from, including what is earned by all family members. Figure out how much money is coming in. Remember all sources. Examples are your paycheck, pension, farm income, rent, Social Security, insurance, investments, help from relatives, unemployment and welfare.


Once you have made a list of the money you have, refer to Making a spending plan in order to get the most out of your money.




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Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009