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How being a financial "super planner" helps my family budget

Food Blogger at PlainChicken.com and Food Columnist for The Birmingham News.  I love cats, shoes, Diet Coke, traveling and college football. 

Why planning has become the foundation of our finances

As we start the new year, we not only need to think about our physical health, we need to think about our financial health too! January is the perfect time to start building an emergency fund, re-evaluating your 401(k) funding and planning, planning, planning! Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am always thinking ahead, planning what I'm going to do and planning where I will go in the upcoming year.

One of the most important things you can do to set yourself up to be financially savvy is to create a budget. Yes, everyone talks about budgeting, but what does a budget mean to you and your family? Everyone is different but most of us have one characteristic in common: our search for true happiness.

My husband and I take our financial health very seriously. We make it a rule to live below our means. We live our life debt-free — with the exception of what we owe on our house and car. If we can't pay for it, we don't buy it. We save up for purchases and indulgences for vacations. We love to travel and think it is important to be able to splurge once in a while. And because we don't splurge all the time, we really appreciate the time when we actually do splurge.

We love to travel — a lot! When we plan to travel, we plan pretty far out (I am a self-professed "superplanner"). At the beginning of the year we talk about locations we want to visit and how we plan to get there. So, planning is key to stay smart and build your financial health.

For example, let's say that we plan to go to Disney World (my favorite place in the whole wide world). First thought is fly or drive? How much is the plane ticket? How much is a rental car? How many tanks of gas do we need to get there and back? Once that is determined we calculate how much we need to save each week to have all the money in savings by the time we take the trip. For example, the trip costs $2,000 and we are going in six months. We will put $73 per week into savings ($2,000/26 weeks). We can totally do that! Eat at home one extra night instead of eating out. Skip buying that cute pair of shoes one week. Bring your lunch to work instead of eating out. When you break it down by week, it doesn’t seem so expensive. Totally obtainable!

I've found a number of great resources that Chase provides for free. They have great information on their website to help you jumpstart your financial health. Here are 4 Steps to Take Now and Tips to Shop Strategically. The New Year is the perfect time to start planning for the future.

This post is part of a sponsored collaboration between Chase and SheKnows

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