How to Plug the Holes in Your Budget

If you start picking up distress signals, run your budget through these checks.

Money Puzzle
(Image credit: Getty Images/Ingram Publishing)

One good reason to endure the occasional drudgery of budgeting is that it alerts you to trouble while you still have time to do something about it. You're forced to find out why your expenditures are climbing and to take action.

If the electric or gas bill is higher because the rates were raised, you'll have to revise your monthly forecasts for that budget item and figure out whether other items need to be cut to pay for it. If rates haven't risen, maybe it's time to discourage the kids from taking such long showers two or three times a day.

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