Intro to Financial Planning
By Paula Pant, About.com Guide
Learn how to create a paper-and-pencil budget. Discover how you can plan for expenses that pop up occasionally -- like once a year, once a decade or once-in-a-lifetime.
- How to Create Your First Budget (in 9 Steps)
- Three Traits That Successful Budgets Share
- Track Your Occasional Expenses - Once a Year, Once a Decade, Once a Lifetime
- How Do I Budget for One-Time Expenses?
Let's get interactive! These worksheets will help you track your income and expenses and save for future goals.
What's a Want and What's a Need?
One of the toughest aspects of budgeting and financial planning is distinguishing "wants" from "needs." Is home internet a want or a need? What about pet-related supplies?
Even within spending categories, the wants vs. needs line is fuzzy. "Groceries" seems like a need, until you start scrutinizing the receipt. Then you'll see that bread is a need but cookies are a want.
How can you distinguish between wants and needs? And how much of your income should be spend on wants vs. needs? Learn here.
- What's a Want and What's a Need?
- The 50/30/20 Financial Rule of Thumb
- Which Savings Goal Should Come First?
Money Through Your Life
Learn how to make big-picture money decisions that guide your life. The articles in this section deal with conceptually creating a vision about your life, rather than nitty-gritty planning.