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Maintaining your budget

The key to budgeting is keeping simple but good records. Just like you did when you started your budget, you'll need to keep track of where your money comes from and where it goes. Use the system that works best for you by writing down what you spend in a notebook or keeping receipts for what you buy.

Your Bank Statement
If you have a checking or current account, your bank will send you a monthly statement in the post. Check your statement carefully and see what you have spent your money on. If you see something that you don't recognize, phone your bank and ask about it. If you use checks to pay your bills, keep a record in your checkbook of how much you have paid and to whom, so that you can check it against your statement.

If you use another type of bank account, you can draw a mini-statement from an ATM, or get a full statement online if you are registered for internet banking.

Paying by Card
If you use your ATM, Debit or Credit Card for most purchases, keep your slips and add them up to check how much you are spending. You should also keep your ATM receipts, and check them each time you use the ATM to be sure that you know exactly how much is still in your account.

Compare Your Monthly Expenses
At the end of each month, compare your actual expenses to your budget. Try to keep your spending within your plan, and look for ways to cut your expenses.

Don't give up if keeping to your budget is hard for the first few months. It may take some time to set up a plan that works for you. Be flexible. If your budget is not working for you, fix it so it will. If you need to, get help from family and friends to help you stay within your budget - especially if you are a 'shopaholic'.

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