It is possible to make a budget work while still saving enough to retire. It starts with learning to change your habits so you can put money aside.
It is not that easy to make any sort of real, lasting change in your habits. You will have a few setbacks, and that's ok.
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When it comes to money, people will do whatever they can to get hold of your money, regardless of how it will affect you.
Don't rush into any sort of decision making. Always consult a second source.
Assuming you have enough to cover the bills and aren't pulling an overdraft fee, start by automating your retirement savings. You know you need an emergency fund, so automate. Do the same with increasing your 401(k) contributions each year, or paying off your credit card debt.
Our personal finances don't exist on their own. They are connected to the economy and government laws and regulations. It all is as much part of your finances as to how you spend and save your paycheck.
Educate yourself. Call your members of Congress and let them know what you think.
We have this idea that if we just make a certain amount of money, we're going to do great. But it doesn't work like that. We find ourselves always adapting our spending and lifestyle to our income.
Be careful with your spending even if you suddenly have more than you need. Don't chase temporary pleasure with money. Continue to live below your means.
Put 10 % away from each check you receive to create a cash buffer for emergencies. Try and increase it with time.
The Envelope system is a way to track your variable expenses like food, entertainment, and drinks.
This method, preferably used weekly, allocates a certain amount in each category in labeled envelopes (food, drinks, movies, etc.). Once the envelope is empty, you are done spending in that category.