5 tools to get your budget in order

It’s time to confront your past spending — and make good on your vows to get your money organized. Budget is not a dirty word. And it’s important to remember that it is a verb as well as a noun — it doesn’t happen without your active participation!

Here are a few ways to get started on yours. Notwithstanding the terrific computer programs and apps described below, you might want to start with traditional paper and pencil.

1. “The Budget Kit: The Common Cents Money Management Workbook” by Judy Lawrence (Kaplan, $19.99). Yes, I’m starting with a paperback budgeting book (also available on Kindle), now in its sixth edition, and one that I have consistently recommended over the past 20 years. (In fact, I was both surprised and delighted to see my earlier endorsement on the front cover of the new edition!) For some people, there is no substitute for seeing money issues in black and white. This is not just a fill-in-the-blanks book to track your spending. It adds helpful advice and resources (including online references) to guide you through the process, whether you live on a regular paycheck or have variable income and ongoing expenses.

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