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Color of Money

No-Fuss Budgets

By Michelle Singletary
The Washington Post
Sunday, January 2, 2005; Page F01

I know a lot of folks would agree with writer Mason Cooley when he says, "A budget takes the fun out of money."

Some people think a budget means they have to live an austere life.

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In fact, in an effort to get people to budget, some experts say don't call it a budget at all. Instead, they say, call it a "spending plan."

The name change is intended to make you feel better. It's supposed to put the focus on the fact that you can still spend on a budget.

If it makes you feel better, call your budget a spending plan. Call it a financial blueprint, or call it whatever it takes to get you to figure out how much money you have coming in and how much is going out, because that's all a budget really is.

Truth be told, many people are never taught how to create a budget.

So, let me show you the way. For the Color of Money Book Club selection for January I've chosen "Quick & Easy Budget Kit" by Jennifer Openshaw ($24.99, Family Financial Network). The kit includes a CD and workbook that can be used together or separately. And the CD allows family members to create their own budgets under their own user names and passwords.

Can you budget without this kit? Sure you can.

But have you?

If not, try this kit to jump-start your New Year's resolution to get your financial life in order.

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