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Categorized | Business

Simple tips and smart tools for easy budgeting

(NAPS) From summer travel to back-to-school season, many Americans find it challenging to budget for special purchases.

Thinking of your next big purchase or just wanting to better manage your everyday spending? Here are five tips to help you stick to a budget:

1. Set priorities – Map out your basic needs and go from there. If you commute 10 miles to work, having money for gas is much more important than, say, a premium cable TV package. But once you set your priorities, re-evaluate them every couple of weeks.

2. Reduce, don’t deprive – Part of any budget is managing the everyday luxuries – from a favorite magazine to the occasional night out. It’s important to set a budget for these purchases based on what you can afford, but don’t deprive yourself. We’re all human – and completely cutting out simple pleasures like these can set you up for failure.

3. Track progress – Regularly measure how things are going. It helps you understand where you need to make adjustments and can give you a sense of gratification when youíre staying on track. If it’s your first time making a budget, don’t be surprised if you fall short of your goals–like with anything, practice makes perfect.

4. Think DIY – One of the easiest ways to save money is to take a “do-it-yourself” approach to things you enjoy. Think long term: If you are a coffee lover, upgrading your in-home equipment may come with costs, but it can save you money in the long run to make those lattes at home instead of paying $4 a cup at the coffee shop.

5. Budget and manage your money smartly – Find a way to manage your money in a way that works for you. While some consumers keep cash budgeted for restaurants, movies and other fun activities in separate envelopes each month, there are also more secure options available – from savings accounts with automatic contributions each month or reloadable prepaid cards that ensure you don’t spend more than you have.

“More and more Americans are looking for new financial products and services that help them manage money on their terms,” said Ryan McInerney, CEO of Chase Consumer Banking. “We’ve recently introduced Chase LiquidSM, a reloadable card that offers customers control, flexibility and convenience – it’s low-cost, and FDIC-insured.”

Chase Liquid, which can be used anywhere Visa® is accepted, has a flat monthly fee of $4.95 with no additional charge to refill the card with cash or checks at Chase’s 10,500 DepositFriendlySM ATMs and 5,500 branches nationwide. Customers can also withdraw cash at no additional charge at all of Chaseís 17,500 ATMs and 5,500 branches nationwide. There are no overdraft fees and no minimum balances to maintain the account – only an initial deposit of $25. In addition, customers can check their balances for no additional fee at Chase’s ATMs, telephone, branches, online, via text or e-mail, or by speaking with a customer service representative.

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