The Best Way to Stick to a Budget

It’s getting easier to track what you spend through any number of free online tools–and Americans seem to need budgets more than ever, with median household income down and the economy still staggering along.

One of them is short-term shock therapy. Keeping track of expenses for a short time is a more motivating and manageable task than tracking indefinitely, which means it’s more likely to inspire them to change their ways.

Even tracking expenses for a few months can jolt people into being more careful with their spending.

Many people are shocked to see how much of a bill they ring up on things like restaurants and gifts.

After the short program, people can start to plan for goals and know when they need to cut back–without tracking every single expense indefinitely.

Story by Rachel Ensign for The Wall Street Journal.

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