Household Budgets for Beginners: Simple Tips for Success

Female bicycle commuter

We all know we should make and stick to a household budget if we want to be able to sock away savings each month—and end up financially comfortable. But building a household budget as a beginner can be daunting.

Only one in three Americans takes the time to create a monthly budget, a recent Gallup poll showed. (I don't need to tell you the rest of us are spending an inordinate amount of time looking at cat memes instead…)

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More about...Budgeting

Tandas: Informal loan clubs where trust meets need

Image of fishermen to show the concept of tandas

As savers go, I'm somewhere between decent and so-so…or at least that's what I thought until I saw a 22-year-old neighborhood kid who used to work with me saving $800 a month with his earnings, plus furnishing his own rental apartment (in New York!) and buying a piece of land in Mexico.

Our other neighbor has three kids and she earns a pretty humble salary taking care of babies and cleaning houses—yet she too saves $800 a month. And her cousin-in-law (also a house cleaner) is always the neighborhood go-to lady for loans, because she has stashed away thousands in extra cash. Meanwhile, if I can save $250 in a month, I consider myself golden.

“What is going on with all of these people being able to save so much, when they earn half of what you and I do?” I asked a friend from Puebla, Mexico (his cousin is the loan lady). He thought for a minute and then answered: “I think it's the tandas.”

Of c

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More about...Administration