The Homebuyers Toolkit: Money Attitudes and Budgeting

Homeownership means learning to understand and manage your finances

Also, look into overdraft protection to avoid penalties on your credit cards. You can opt out by calling your bank. They will set up your account so that if you don’t have enough funds for a purchase the bank will deny the charge to prevent overdraft fees.

CREATE A BUDGET
Start pinching your pennies. A budget estimates income and expenses. It will help you to determine exactly what you have coming in and going out and what you need to save in order to achieve your financial goals. A colleague of mine shared a great website with me that tracks spending. Visit Mint.com, download the free software and you can instantly see your spending habits and where you can cut back.

To help stay on track with your budget look into decreasing your cable/internet/phone package, bring your lunch to work, walk when possible, clip coupons, unplug appliances to reduce your electricity bill and do personal hygiene stuff on your own such as your hair and nails. I know I got an eye-roll for the last suggestion, but hey, I didn’t say it was going to be easy.

SET GOALS
It is said that individuals who write down their goals are more likely to accomplish them. Here are six steps Barrow provided to help achieve life goals:

•    Write your goals down
•    Be specific
•    Create a time line to achieve it
•    Develop a plan. Ask yourself: How do I get there? How much money do I need to reach that goal?
•    Establish a price that you are willing to pay for that goal
•    Think about your goal everyday.

Barrow suggest looking for pictures in magazines of your dream home to hang somewhere you can see it everyday. You can also create a vision board; check out our post, “Clear The Way” (which was also published in the Motivation section of the August 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine) to learn how.

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for following. We’ll resume after the holiday. Got a question or comment? Follow me at www.twitter.com/LaToyaReports or leave a reply in the space below.

Other posts in The Homebuyers Toolkit series:

Getting Started

Qualifying For A Mortgage

Key Players

Let’s Talk Money

Building Financial Security

How Your Credit Score Adds Up

Renting vs. Buying

LaToya M. Smith is an editorial assistant at Black Enterprise

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