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Raymond James:A column by James Kruzan

Make plan to spend

June 29, 2011 - At the end of each month, many people ask the following question: What happened to the money I was going to save?

One of the best ways to gain control of your money is by developing a written spending plan.

A spending plan can help you to:

• See where your money goes

• Reduce unnecessary expenses

• Evaluate needs and wants

• Locate money in your budget for large expenses, emergencies and long-term goals

Here's how to begin building your financial framework:

• Discover where your money goes. For one month, make notes on all expenditures. Get out last year's checkbook register to determine what you paid for those items that are not predictable on a monthly basis (entertainment, hobbies, travel, etc.).

• Categorize your expenses by areas (i.e. food, clothing childcare, utilities and transportation).

Write down everything, even the popcorn you had at the movies! You'll be surprised where those hard-earned dollars go.

• Prioritize your financial goals and determine how much you'll need to save each month. Think long-term and short-term goals.

• Bring your goals in line with your income (i.e. new car, less expensive car, wait another year for a car). Putting off a purchase is called "delayed gratification."

• Make the written plans realistic. Over a few months' time, you can get your spending on track and make progress toward your specific financial goals.

This material was prepared by Raymond James for use by James B. Kruzan, CFP®, CRPC® of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC.

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