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"You have taught me to believe in myself and to take things slowly, one step at a time, keep sight of my goals, both short term and long term.

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I would recommend the Simplicity Course as an easy, practical way to start simplifying one's life. I especially liked the segments on Tolerations, Wardrobe, and Office and Paperwork.

Each day focuses on only one task, which is helpful to people who feel overwhelmed by the complexities of modern life and hardly know where to begin downshifting.

-Joan, New York

Beth has an uncanny way of, "reading between the lines" to see a person's heart. I appreciate how genuine she is.

I have already begun implementing her suggestions, and am dumbstruck at how well they are working. I am feeling so much more secure, and feel I am finally put onto a life path that will bring me joy for many years to come."

-Sue Halpern

I feel more focused and have an objective instead of aimlessly filling up the day.

-Shelli Segura



Budgeting Steps


If you have never made a budget before, this article will take you step by step through the process. You will have a working budget sooner than you thought.

Step 1

Get a small notebook to take with you. In it write down everything you buy for at least a month. Up to three months if you'd like. I was shocked to see how much our family spent on little stuff like vending machine purchases and magazines. I found that most of our money wasn't being spent on big things, but the little, "Oh, what's three dollars here or there."

Step 2

After your time period is up, analyze your spending patterns. Put all your purchases in categories like groceries, entertainment, etc.

Step 3

Now separate those categories into two categories: Fixed Expenses and Variable Expenses. Fixed are things like Rent and Insurance. The variable expenses are all those that you have in your power to change like groceries, utilities and clothing.

Step 4

Add up all the expenses in each of the categories. Write down the totals for each. i.e. Phone: $58 a month

Step 5

Add up all your income for the month. Then add up all your fixed expenses. Subtract your fixed expenses from your income.
Income:3,000-2,100 fixed expenses=$900
The result is what you have left for variable expenses.

Step 6

Now you can spread the leftover money into your other categories. Keep in mind yearly expenses like taxes. Consider putting 10% into savings. Take a look at where you can cut down. Enter the amount you have decided to spend in each category on your budget worksheet. And now you have a budget.

Step 7

Keep track monthly of what you spend in each category. I use Quicken to do that. Readjust your budget if you need to. Only you know where your spending priorities are.

Further steps to budgeting can be found here.

Back to Financial Articles


Beth Dargis helps the overwhelmed to create saner, simpler lives. For free monthly Simple Self Care Calendar and Weekly Simplicity Tips visit: http://www.encouragingcoach.com. This article is Copyright 2005 by Beth Dargis, Zeeland MI. To send feedback or request reprint permission (usually granted free of charge), please contact .





PO Box 233 Zeeland MI 49464 Beth Dargis