One of the things I hear most often regarding getting finances under control is this:I just don't know where to start!The bills, the debt, the paperwork, the late notices, all pile up and threaten to overwhelm. How do you overcome financial inertia and start taking control of your own money?Just start it. Take one simple step.Take a piece of paper, or open a blank spreadsheet on your trusty computer. Make two column headings. Title one Income. Title the second Expenses. Set your pencil down, or save the spreadsheet. There you go. You've taken the first step towards financial stability, and it didn't hurt a bit.When you're ready for step two, gather your last 3 paycheck stubs. Add your net pay for the last three pay periods together and divide by 3. That's your average take home. Put that number in the first space under your Income heading. Do you get money from another source? Royalties? That coveted structured settlement' those guys sing about on the tube? Child support? A second job? Do the same thing with those amounts, too. Average the last three checks and put that amount down. If you're feeling perky, list the dates that money is expected. Total the amounts you can expect every month. We want to keep track on a monthly basis, since most bills come due once a month. When you're all done listing your expected income for the month, draw a circle around the final figure. Set your pencil down, save your spreadsheet and shut off your computer. Have a cup of tea or a glass of lemonade and savor that sense of accomplishment. There's much more to come. You're on your way. You've just taken your first steps in the money marathon.
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