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Budgeting should be a four letter word. But, before you can take control of your finances, you have to know where your money goes...

A budget will:

* identify how much money is coming in and when;
* organize your finances to ensure the necessities are paid for each month;
* show you how much is left for luxuries;
* help set up a savings plan or debt reduction plan (pay your debts first);
* make you sensitive to your impulse spending.

List all your purchases and bills for at least one month. Then examine where your money goes. Identify where you can start saving. The purpose is not to put chains on your life, just help you see what is available. A little here and there adds up, it really does.

Statistics Canada's provides household expenditure data. This information may help you identify your family expenditures that are higher than the average for families in your area. Note this survey information is from 2000. The Bank of Canada provides an Inflation Calculator to assist you convert this data to 2001 (2002 is not yet available) prices.

On our grocery bill alone, we have identified we are saving about 200$ per month. We put that 200$ away for saving and investing ... it is not found money!

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