smart spending

5 critical items for any budget

Big purchases
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Miniature house on top of money bill

Want to go on vacation? Buy a car? Make a down payment on a house? Put a new roof on the home you've got? Make it a budget item.

If you've got a big expense planned, get that money "off the table before it gets into your checking account," Cabaniss says.

Be willing to rethink your budget and your plans. If you're craving a $5,000 vacation and need another $10,000 for a list of large expenses, "that means you'll have to take more than $1,200 a month from the paycheck for a year," she says. But "you may say there's no way we can cut $1,200 from our monthly spending," she says. "So you go back and do the best you can."

"It's a back-and-forth process." You may have to scale back your vacation or the list of "special" purchases you're planning on making this year, she says.




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