Step 1: Create a Budget
第一步:制定預算

Begin by listing your stable monthly income, as well as all expenses. That’s everything from your monthly house payment, down to how much you spend buying coffee on the fly.
先列出每月固定收入和所有支出,上至每月房子月供,下到匆忙中買咖啡花的錢。

It's usually best if you go back a few months. At a minimum, you should include the past three months. But going back six months, or even a full year, may provide a lot more insight.
通常最好回顧近幾個月的收支情況,至少該看近三個月的,要是能回顧一下過去六個月甚至一整年的就能更深入地了解。

It can be messy and involved, but there are budgeting apps that can help you do this in a matter of minutes. By linking your spending and income accounts to an app, the analysis can be done for you.[/en
情況可能有點兒混亂和復雜,但有些預算應用程序能幫你在幾分鐘內搞定。只要把支出和收入賬戶綁定到應用程序上,你就能得到分析結果。

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[en]Step 2: Analyze Your Spending

第二步:分析支出

Whether you do it manually or using an app, you should summarize your spending patterns. Create expense categories, such as mortgage, car payments, utilities, groceries, and entertainment.
無論你是手動記錄還是使用應用程序,都應該總結一下消費模式,把消費分類,比如月供、汽車支出、生活繳費、日常購物和娛樂。

The second point is the most important because it's the basic foundation of a budget. You don't want to merely track your spending, but develop plans and strategies to control it.
第二點最重要,因為這是預算的基本依據。你不僅是想追蹤支出,還想制定計劃和對策來控制支出。

Once you know what your monthly spending is in each expense category, group your expenses into three categories:
一旦知道自己每月的各種支出,你就把支出分成三類:

Necessary fixed expenses. These include basic living expenses, like rent, health insurance, and debt payments.
必要的固定支出。包括基本生活開銷,如房租、健康保險和債務。

Necessary variable expenses. These are items you need, but that vary in amount. It includes groceries, gasoline, and some utilities.
必要的可變支出。這些是你需要消費的,但錢數不固定。包括日常購物、汽油和一些生活繳費。

Optional expenses. This broad category includes everything else, and are desirable, but not necessary. Entertainment and eating out are two prime examples.
可選支出。這個范圍很廣,包括其他所有方面,是你想做但又不必要的。最基本的兩項就是娛樂和外出就餐。

There's not much you can do about necessary fixed expenses. But you can work to gradually lower necessary variable expenses. For example, you can set a goal to cut your grocery bill by 20 percent, and your utilities by 10 percent.
必要的固定支出你不能做太大改變,但你可以逐漸減少必要的可變支出,比如你可以定一個目標,減少20%的日常購物開銷和10%的生活繳費。

The biggest savings will be optional expenses. Since these are totally discretionary, you can literally cut them to zero, without hurting your basic standard of living.
最大的省錢項目是可選支出,因為這些完全取決于你自己,你其實可以把這筆錢都省下還不會影響基本生活水平。

Now you don't need to cut your spending in this category by 100 percent. But 50 percent would free-up a solid amount of money for savings.
現在你不需要完全省下這筆開銷,拿出50%就可以成為一筆可觀的存款了。

The entire purpose of categorizing and analyzing your expenses is to identify areas you can reduce in favor of saving.
分類和分析支出的最終目的,就是知道在哪兒能省出錢來儲蓄。

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Step 3: Set a Savings Goal
第三步:制定儲蓄目標

Set a target amount for savings. For example, you may want to have three month’s living expenses in an emergency fund. If you need $3,000 per month to cover your expenses, you’ll need $9,000 to fill the fund. That’s your savings goal––you can set others later.
定一個儲蓄的目標錢數。比如應急基金可能需要三個月的生活支出,如果你每月支出$3,000,這個基金就需要$9,000,這就是你的儲蓄目標,其他目標可以延后。

You'll then need to create a reasonable plan to reach that goal. For example, you can decide you're going to save a flat dollar amount each month. If you save $450 per month in your budget, you'll reach your savings target in 20 months.
然后你需要制定一個可行的計劃來實現目標。比如你可以決定每月省下固定錢數,如果你每月計劃省下$450,20個月就能達到目標錢數了。

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Step 4: Know When You’re Pushing Too Hard
第四步:知道自己什么時候存得太多

You might set high goals at the very beginning, with the idea of making up for lost time. This is probably not a good idea. If you haven't been a saver up to this point, it’ll take time before it comes naturally.
你可能最開始定了很高的目標,想把損失的時間補回來,這個做法可能并不合適。如果你目前還沒攢下錢,那想要自然而然地攢錢還需要一段時間。

Your best bet is to start with a savings goal that's doable. For example, if saving 10 percent of your income is fairly easy, go with that number. You can increase it over time, as your earnings increase, and you get better at cutting spending.
最好的做法是先制定可行的儲蓄目標,比如,如果把收入的10%存起來很容易,那就存那么多。收入增多而且你更會省錢時就可以逐漸增加儲蓄的錢數。

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Step 5: Knowing When You’re Not Pushing Hard Enough
第五步:知道自己什么時候存得不夠

One of the inherent problems in setting any savings goal is the need to see results. In Step 4 I suggested starting by saving 10 percent of your income, or some other number that’s an easy fit. That's fine when you're just starting out, but it should increase as you go along. If not, your savings plan could derail.
設定儲蓄目標一定會產生一個問題,那就是要能看到結果。在第四步中我建議開始時先存起來收入的10%,或者任何對你來說可行的錢數。剛開始時還可以,但錢數要逐漸增加,做不到的話你的儲蓄計劃就前功盡棄了。

Start small, increase your savings gradually, and you'll find that balance. Once you do, budgeting and saving will start to come naturally, and you'll begin to reap the rewards of an improved financial condition.
先少存一些,逐漸增加儲蓄金額,你會找到那個平衡點。一旦找到了,預算和儲蓄就成了自然而然的事,你也能嘗到經濟條件改善的甜頭了。


翻譯:菲菲