Budgets are not the most exciting topic in finance, but your budget will underlie all of your wealth-building efforts and keep you on track with everyday expenses and savings.
Just knowing the regular expenses and bills can help pin down where your money is going. There may be some fat that could be cut, which could translate to more savings.
To further increase savings, pay yourself first. Savings, retirement and nonretirement, should be in the category of necessary expenses that must be paid every month, just like water and electricity.
"Our clients that chose to set themselves up with the checking account debits that automatically take money from checking to savings -- those people tend to always have more money," says Chris Reilly, Certified Financial Planner, senior vice president and retirement planning specialist at Firstrust Financial Resources in Philadelphia.
"The people that choose to wait and see how much money they have left over at the end of the year -- the odds are not in their favor."