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How to Budget Better in the New Year

The New Year has begun, and millions of Americans have resolved to get their finances in better shape for the New Year. But one of the biggest problems many people have is budgeting their financial resources so that they can both cover all their necessary expenses and have money left over to save and invest.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, talks about how you can budget better in 2014. Dan notes that the first thing to do is to figure out how much you're spending, with online tools that can help you easily track where your money goes. Dan next suggests matching your spending with your earnings, but to remember that things that are important to you deserve money in your budget. As an example, many financial planners suggest cutting out daily trips to coffee shops for lattes, but for many, that advice is a non-starter that jeopardizes your whole budgeting process. Instead, look for savings on things that you can realistically pay less for. Dan points to smartphone and landline charges as an example, pointing to new mobile plans from T-Mobile (NYSE: TMUS  ) and AT&T (NYSE: T  ) that can save some consumers money, while cheaper landline alternatives like measured service can bring far smaller charges from Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) , Frontier Communications (NASDAQ: FTR  ) , and other providers. Dan concludes that if you want to budget better, you can -- just by following these simple rules.

Smart budgeting is the beginning of financial health
Once you have your budget under control, you can start regularly investing in the stock market. In our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," The Motley Fool's personal finance experts show you why investing is so important and what you need to do to get started. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.


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Dan Caplinger
TMFGalagan

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on Fool.com. With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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