How to Live Within Your Means

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How to Live Within Your Means

Start by creating a budget and sticking to it. Here's how.

My 6-year-old daughter was listening this morning as my husband told me about a nearly $600 million school that was built in Los Angeles. He had read about it in the New York Times and was shocked by the cost, in large part, because Los Angeles has serious budget troubles. He then asked my daughter, "Would you buy something if you didn't have the money to pay for it?" She answered no and said she knew that as early as age 2.

Okay, so she exaggerated a little. But we have been trying to teach her the importance of living within our means. It seems like a simple lesson even a child can grasp, yet sometimes adults need a refresher course. So I've pooled several great resources from to help you create a budget and avoid spending more then you have.

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VIDEO: 5 Easy Ways to Budget
Get on top of your expenses so you're not living paycheck to paycheck.

How to Create a Budget
Here are the basics of money management to help you take inventory of your finances and set goals.


TOOL: Household Budget Worksheet
Get on top of your monthly living costs by projecting expenditures in various categories, and then comparing those projections to what you actually spend.

The Trouble With Budgets
Here are eight common problems that plague would-be budgeters.