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Determine How Much Rent You Can Afford

This picks up from a previous article, but steers the focus to specific budgeting issues, regardless of whether you rent or own your home. Small things add up quickly. So, when you sit down to determine what you can afford to pay each month, don’t forget to allow for the incidentals, such as cable TV, telephone, utilities and other residential bills like doing your laundry…and don’t forget to set aside a percentage for the unexpected.

At this point, a blank sheet of paper and a pencil would do just fine to hammer out the details of what you can afford to pay in rent each month. You don’t need a fancy budget worksheet, just sit down and write out what you spend and how often you spend it. And if it’s necessary, take the time to monitor your cash spending and monthly bills so you can record a more accurate accounting. Just be sure to make a note of each item and the frequency at which it occurs.

One of the most important reminders common throughout these articles is to not forget about setting aside money for your retirement. Whether it’s a 401(k), IRA or savings account, you should be setting aside at least 10% of your monthly income. Now, this may be difficult for some and that’s understood – but as soon as times get better, do your best to catch up. If you’ve been paying attention to the news media, there are hints everywhere telling you that social security checks and Medicare may not be there when you retire.