smart spending

You found a $20 bill -- now what?

Boost your finances
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Use your $20 to make more money, says Jill Gianola, CFP, Gianola Financial Planning LLC, and author of "The Young Couple's Guide to Growing Rich Together."

Her choice for the windfall is "a good, unbiased personal finance book." Her top picks are " Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People," by Jane Bryant Quinn or "Personal Finance for Dummies" by Eric Tyson.

Then take the remaining money and buy a Dome Home Budget Book (about $7 on Amazon) to track household income and spending "for at least three months," Gianola says. After that, choose one or two spending categories and reduce your expenses by 20 percent to 30 percent per month.

"Put the money you saved in a bank account or IRA," Gianola says. "You can get good ideas from your personal finance book." Reward yourself after you've saved $100 by taking $20 for "a special splurge -- lunch out, a night at the movies, etc."




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