Sound Budgeting Advice Will Help You Get Back on Track If you are in over your head with your finances, get some budgeting advice. With the economic downturn just now appearing to come to an end, a lot of people are finding it very hard to pay their bills and put food on the table. Times are hard and, although the economy seems to be recovering, it will be quite some time before the benefits of the recovery make their way to the average Jack and Jill on Main Street. If you find you are living from paycheck to paycheck and your expenses are out of control, it is probably time to start looking into getting some professional budgeting advice. A lot of people avoid the “B” word like the plague and who would blame them. Keeping a tally of what you spend money on can be beyond boring. Unfortunately, if you want to get control of your spending, you will need to know where you need improvement and the only way to get that information is by constructing a budget. Fortunately, there are many quality tools – both free and paid versions – that can significantly simplify your budgeting. Also, many banks are now offering free services to their members who use their online services. Regardless of the route you choose to take, you need to get a functional baseline of your expenditures if you want to get anything out of budgeting advice. Once you have a good grip on you expenditures, you can start figuring out where you can start saving money. Surprisingly, this may not require getting a second job. As anyone who provides budgeting advice will tell you, your goal is to spend less than you earn. One way to achieve this is to get a second or third job. However, one may be able to scrutinize their budget and find areas where they are being wasteful. Yes, spending more money than you should is wasteful. For example, one might see that they are spending a lot of money shopping. What are they shopping for? Is it to satisfy some psychological need? If so, why? Once you uncover that problem, you can start working towards not shopping to make yourself happy. Maybe you give a lot of gifts. Do you have to shop to get those gifts or would some quality handmade items be acceptable. A jar of homemade pasta sauce or a simple framed montage of your family might be a better gift than some expensive pair of slippers. Food is a budget line that is always a fight to keep down. It is sound budgeting advice to tell someone to shop sales and use coupons. While this might be easier for some, there are some other ideas which will help out as well. First, store brand quality of various items is now as good if not better than their name brand brethren. By shopping these items, you can save a good deal of money. Second, learn to cook or start cooking again. Cooking at home and not buying prepared foods or going out to eat saves a lot of money. Third, cook more than you need for that meal and use the leftovers for lunch at work. You should really try to avoid buying your lunches. They are quite expensive over time. Also, you may want to look into an office coffee club instead of buying coffee at the coffee shop. Any kind of budgeting advice is going to help you, if you take the first step yourself. Just like an addiction, admitting you need help is the hardest part of the equation. Once you have overcome that hurdle, you might actually find it fun to discover new and cheaper ways to do things. As it was once said elsewhere “frugality is the new black”.