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Setting aside money in a fund for those inconvenient mishaps should be your first budget priority at the beginning of each month. This money will allow you to pay for an unexpected expense — such as a large car repair or a new phone if your old one dies suddenly — without going into debt.
Your next saving priority is to set funds aside for your goal(s). Keep track of this reserve money separately so you know what is available if needed.
Paying yourself first means making savings your No. 1 spending plan priority. As soon as you receive earnings or a money gift, put some of that money away for your savings goal(s). Try starting with just 5 percent of each amount received and eventually building up to 10-15 percent.
Give yourself positive reinforcement for making progress. As you meet each goal, celebrate the milestone by treating yourself to a movie with a friend or a budget-friendly dinner out.
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