UNITED STATES─Have you ever taken a close look at the amount of money you’ve spent in a given week. Most people do, but I mean have you actually taken a look at everything you spent for the entire week, including the minor things that you assume don’t matter? Well I did and I came to startling realization: I’m spending a lot more money on others than perhaps I should be. Now this is not to say that I don’t want to do it, but I didn’t realize how much more I could be saving, if I cut back just a bit.

How so? Not just allowing people to take advantage of the situation. There are those who I argue will take your last, knowing they don’t have to spend their money, if they know you’ll spend yours. Those are people you have to be careful with. I hate to say family will take advantage of you, but they indeed will if you allow them to. They say money is the root of all evil, till this day I still do not fully understand what that means. I will say there are people who will use you in an attempt to bond with you to get what they want.

They attempt to care, when in actuality you’re just a meal ticket to them or someone they can manipulate to get what they want. In the process, your wallet, purse or bank account gets drained and you don’t realize it until someone opens your eyes to it. We sometimes spend money without thinking about it ,until we are forced to calculate or make sense how we’ve spent so much money on things that seem so minimal. That is the problem with expenses, the smallest things quickly add up and before you know it, hundreds or thousands of dollars is gone that you will not get back.

So this brings me to the important issue of the hour: budgeting. I hate the word too America, but we have to budget in order to maintain our finances and not place ourselves in a situation where we don’t know how to cover an unexpected expense. Yes, many of us know the rule that we should always attempt to have 6 months of our expenses covered in case the unexpected transpires. A job loss, an unexpected medical emergency or just some expense we never expected. It happens to the best of us.

Living paycheck to paycheck is not fun for anyone, but that is the odd predicament so many Americans have fallen into. We get paid and before we know it, that check is gone and we’re scrambling and wondering what we can do to make it until we get paid the following week, in two weeks or the next month. It’s not a good feeling, so we have to be smarter about how we spend money. So it all begins with income. How much do you bring in? How much in expenses to you have? What do you have left over? What do you want to save and what do you want to spend?

Don’t mix what you what you plan to save with what you can afford to spend. In doing so you’ll spend it all and then a tough realization comes to light. It happens more often to people I know than they are willing to admit to. You have to respect money, you have to understand it and most important of all, do not ignore its importance. If you treat money as if you don’t have it, guess what: you’ll never have any. If you treat money like you have tons and don’t just waste it effortlessly, you’ll never be in that predicament where you don’t have any of it.