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Excerpt from Quick Steps to Financial Stability

- Alan Lavine and Gail Liberman



Over the next few months, Alan Lavine & Gail Liberman's column will consist of excerpts from their new book from Quick Steps to Financial Stability, (QUE Publishing 2006).

Trimming is one of those words that's never fun to think about particularly at the beginning of the year as it usually refers to dieting in either the weight or spending department.

In Alan and Gail's book, Quick Steps to Financial Stability, here's what they have to say about the subject:

"Trimming Expenses. Only you and (if applicable) your spouse and /or family can determine how best to improve your bottom line. Every situation is different. But as an example, here are some general guidelines we calculated, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditures Survey, released in 2005, about what percentage of our income before taxes we spend for daily living:

  • 21 % on food both at home (10%) and away from home (11%)
  • 32% on housing
  • 4% on clothing
  • 18% on transportation
  • 6% on health care
  • 5% on entertainment
  • 14% on other expense such as medical, utilities, installment debt and life insurance.
To get a more precise estimate of what you should be spending for a family of your size and in your geographic neighborhood, visit the Economic Policy Institute (www.epi.org).

Under Web Features, click on Online Calculators. Then click Basic Family Budget Calculator. Enter your family type and the state and city in which you reside and click Submit. The calculator will tell you how much it should cost your to live in that area."

You can purchase Alan Lavine & Gail Liberman's latest book Quick Steps to Financial Stability (QUE Publishing 2006) online at www.moneycouple.com or at your local bookstore.

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