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From the Mentors
Saving money is easy when you don't have anything else to spend it on-but what happens when things pop up that demand some of your hard-earned cash? These are called expenses.

Chances are, most of your basic living expenses -- food, shelter, clothing, medical care -- are covered by your family. But perhaps you and your family have agreed that you'll pay for certain other expenses out of your own money, such as cell phone minutes, after-school snacks, clothing and jewelry, or club dues.

Expenses that happen regularly, like every week or month, are called "fixed" expenses. The good news is that because you know when these expenses are coming, you can plan for them. But life is full of surprises, and sometimes these surprises turn into expenses, too. You might have an emergency like fixing a flat tire on your bike, or just something unusual like the class trip to Six Flags. These are called "unexpected" expenses-and if you're smart with your money, you'll plan for these as well.

Here's a secret when it comes to saving money: if you think of it as a regular expense, it'll be easier to put a certain amount aside. Tell yourself that the $20.00 you're trying to save up every month is something you absolutely must do, and there's no getting around it.

What kinds of fixed expenses do you have? Can you think of any unexpected expenses that have come up for you in the past? Can you think of any you might have now or in the near future?

Let's take the first step in creating a money budget: Track Your Cash Flow.


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