What is a budget?
Most people consider a budget a torture device, but it doesn't have to be that way. Done right, a budget is an awesome tool for setting and meeting goals that can help you figure out how to pay bills effectively. Those goals will be different for everyone. Whether your goal is to get out of debt once and for all or take a trip to a tropical island, a budget will get you there.
A budget helps you keep track of how much money you have coming into your household and how much your expenses are. It helps you spot trouble areas and plan ahead for them so you don't end up having to run up big credit card bills. You pay most of your bills, such as your credit cards, utility, housing, and grocery bills, each month. Some bills, like your car insurance, may only be due twice a year. In order to avoid getting caught short in the months your car insurance is due, a budget helps you figure out how much you need to put aside each month so you have the full amount when you need it. Also, a good budget actually includes amounts for fun! In fact, budgets that ignore things like movie rentals, eating out, and vacations, are not realistic. No one can stick to a budget that doesn't allow for rewards—within reason.
Personal Loans Frequently Asked Questions
What is a payday loan?
How are payday loans different from other loans?
What are the benefits of a payday loan?
What are the drawbacks of a payday loan?
What do people use payday loans for?
Who qualifies for a payday loan?
Can you get a payday loan if you have bad credit?
Is a payday loan right for me?
Where can I learn more about payday loans?
What is fringe banking?
Should I consider applying for a personal loan online?
What rights do I have when applying for credit?
What is a secured loan?
Can I get a personal loan if I have bad credit?
What is an unsecured loan?
How does my credit score affect my ability to get credit?
What can I do to improve my credit score?
What is predatory lending?
How do I correct inaccuracies on my credit report?
I thought debt was bad. Why should I build credit?
How can I find a good credit counselor?
What is a debt management plan?
How can I avoid debt management scams?
How can I make sure my debt management plan works?
What do I do if my bills aren't getting paid?
Should I use the equity in my home to consolidate debt?
What alternatives are there to home equity debt consolidation loans?
Should I consolidate my credit card debt onto one card?
Where can learn how to manage my money better?
What is a debt repayment push plan?
What is a budget?
How do I set up a budget?
How often should I pay my bills?
What's the best way to pay off my bills?
How can I pay off bills more quickly?
What is a "smallest first" debt payment plan?
What is a push payment debt payment plan?
Should I transfer my high interest debt to a lower interest credit card?
Should I consolidate my high interest debt by taking out a home equity line of credit?
What's the best way to pay off high interest credit cards?
What is a short-term personal loan?
Do traditional banks offer short-term personal loans?
What are the benefits of a short-term personal loan?
What are the drawbacks of a short-term personal loan?
What are the alternatives to a short-term loan?
What should I consider before I take a personal loan?
Should I take out a larger amount than I need at the moment?
How do I know if I'm getting a fair interest rate on my loan?
Are there minimum amounts I can borrow on a short-term basis?
What is a short-term bridge loan?
What is a guaranteed loan?
What is a co-signer?
Should I take a loan that requires I get a co-signer?
Should I co-sign a loan for my friend?
Are there steps I can take to protect myself as a co-signer?
Can I get my name taken off a loan after the fact?
Should I put my car up as collateral?
Should I get a guaranteed online loan?
Where can I find information on building, maintaining, or repairing my credit?
Should I take a loan or use my credit card?
Why was Check 21 necessary?
What are the terms of Check 21?
What are my rights under Check 21?
What are my responsibilities under Check 21?
What are my bank's responsibilities under Check 21?
How did check processing used to work?
How does check processing work under Check 21?
Do I need to do anything different to avoid bouncing check?
Can I get bank fees back that were charged in error?
Where can I find more information on Check 21?
What is a late fee?
Why did my interest rate go up?
Why did my interest rate go up on my other credit card?
Why did I get a late fee when I paid on time?
How can I avoid late fees when paying by mail?
How can I avoid late payment fees when paying electronically or by phone?
Can a credit counselor get my credit card company to stop charging me late fees?
Can I get a different due date to avoid late fees?
What should I do if I know I can't make my payment on time?
How can I manage my money better to avoid late fees?
Why do I overspend?
What are spending triggers?
How can I control my spending better?
How can I develop better spending habits?
How can I find money to save for goals?
How will I pay for my kids' college and retirement?
Where does all my money go?
How can I make better spending decisions?
Am I a compulsive spender?
Where can I get help for my compulsive spending?
What is a debt relief plan?
Will setting up a debt management plan affect my credit?
What are my debt relief options?
Should I consider bankruptcy?
What happens if I declare bankruptcy?
Can I get credit in the future if I declare bankruptcy?
Will all my debts be wiped clean if I file bankruptcy?
Should I transfer my credit card balance?
How do I get my creditors to leave me alone?
Can I negotiate my own debt relief plan with creditors?