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The Budget Kit: The Common Cents Money Management Workbook Paperback – January 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


"A foolproof way to organize and maintain a personal budget." --Publisher's Weekly

"I recommend The Budget Kit over other budget books because it doesn't just give you blank spaces to fill in. It really explains the hows and whys. Even if you're already in debt it can help you pay off those debts when you know where the money is." --Terry Savage, Author, The Savage Truth on Money

"The Budget Kit" is a budgeting workbook that is truly usable" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance

"One of the most usable resources we've ever seen." --Money magazine

From the Publisher

Budgeting Just Got Easy

Simply having money does not necessarily guarantee your ability to manage it. In an age of information overload, many of us simply don’t have the time, knowledge, or organizational skills to set up a simple, functional system for managing our daily, monthly, and yearly finances. That’s where The Budget Kit comes in—practical, comprehensive, and easy-to-use, this bestselling classic shows you how to put your financial house in order and take the first steps toward financial independence.

Even if you are using a financial software program, you will find the concepts in The Budget Kit to be essential to your understanding of budgeting. Whether you make $30,000 or $100,000, if you follow the guidelines in this manual, you will be well on your way to creating the freedom and ability to achieve your personal and financial goals.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Budget Kit
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Kaplan Publishing; 5 edition (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1427796726
  • ISBN-13: 978-1427796721
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.6 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,192,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Judy Lawrence is a Personal Financial Counselor / Budget Coach and holds a Masters in Counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Her basic money management concepts are drawn from her early days growing up above a local Wisconsin Dairy Co-op (cheese factory), managed by her father, and the "common cents" modeling from her parents. Her future book would be based on her "5 Jar System" where she saved her cheese factory earnings in five different jars to cover her clothing, car savings, college savings and more. That need for visual feedback and interaction would also later play out in her future books.

A variety of job experiences over the years in Wisconsin, New Mexico and California broadened her awareness of consumer's relationship with money. Jobs ranging initially from elementary through high school and college counselor, to Realtor, Office Manager, Online Support Executive (in Silicon Valley), Sales Executive, Budget Consultant for the family law courts in New Mexico and long standing Private Practice as a Financial Counselor (sitting at hundred's of kitchen tables), as well as being a member of the Albuquerque Collaborative Divorce Group team, have enhanced her financial counseling and coaching skills.

Judy's book, "The Budget Kit:Common Cents Money Management Workbook" 6th Edition, has been in print since 1980. The original book "Common Cent$: The Complete Money Management Workbook", was the self-published forerunner to "The Budget Kit" and was later published by Dow Jones-Irwin. It is a perennial bestseller for Kaplan Publishing (previously Dearborn Publishers) for over 15 years and other publishers before that. For decades, Judy has been a spokesperson and quoted in numerous media outlets and a frequent guest on TV and radio, including CNBC, WGN, CNN Radio, USA Radio Network, Business Talk Radio, Money, Kiplinger's, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the San Jose Mercury News.

Her down-to-earth style through her books, coaching and workshops and website has helped thousands of couples, individuals and small business owners nationwide get out of debt, start saving, gain financial control, and develop a healthy relationship with money. The ultimate goal is always to guide people towards more financial peace of mind.

Judy recently moved back to Albuquerque, NM after spending ten years of one of the most tumultuous years of financial booms and busts in the Silicon Valley Bay Area in CA.

Customer Reviews

This book is worth the money and implementing this workbook is absolutely worth your time!
Sheryl Garrett
That's all this book is, worksheet after worksheet, that you end up half using since there are so many spaces that you don't need to use.
C. Trowbridge
This is a good book: if you're serious about getting control of your financial life, it will give you the structure to do it.
Catherine Michael

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

281 of 284 people found the following review helpful By Alexis Coxon VINE VOICE on January 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
I had the misfortune to fall in love with a profession that doesn't pay beans. I also have tastes that would be more in line for an heiress. What to do?
Well, what I -did- do was overspend, get myself into credit-card debt, get myself out of it and still not have any idea how to save money or manage a budget. But this great little book changed that.
There's some advice and encouragement from the author here, but that's not the focus here. The focus would be extremely easy-to-use charts that help you plan your spending and keep track of what you actually -did- spend.
It's pretty easy: First, figure out your yearly expenses (the author provides a long list of these to jog your memory). These include car maintenance, professional dues, subscription renewals, haircuts, vet visits -- the whole shebang. There's also a great worksheet that lets you figure out your gift-giving expenses for birthdays, holidays and so on. Add them all up and divide by 12. That's the amount you need to save every month for these occasional expenses. (Why didn't I think of that?)
Then, for each month, there's a one-page worksheet where you figure out what your income will be for the month and what your expenses will be. You can easily chart when you'll get paid and when you'll need to pay your bills.
Finally, there's a two-page worksheet for each month to keep track of what you actually did spend. (It was a real eye-opener for me to realize what I actually spent on snacks each month!)
This is the first time I've every been able to create and stick to a realistic budget, and I have to say that it's pretty awesome. I actually have money left the second week of each pay period now, and I don't have to skip paying one bill so I can pay the others.
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113 of 116 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
I've been using Judy Lawrence's "Common Cents" system of budget management for probably the past 12 years or so, and it's made a big difference in how I handle my money. I track all my spending in a notebook (and in my checkbook), and then transfer these transaction details into my monthly Common Cents pages. It's made a huge difference to see at-a-glance where my money is going each month -- and you can't imagine the difference at tax time! All of this tracking takes me maybe 1-2 hours a month, so it's a minimal time investment. And I have no doubt I've saved many thousands of dollars over the years through the discipline and focus over money management that the Common Cents system has instilled. I've recommended it to friends and members of my family for many years; it just works!!
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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
After a few failed starts with Excel and even Quicken, the pen and pencil tear-out pages in this book did the trick. The book is so modular and well-designed that you can start whenever and with whatever committment you want.
Do you think that keeping a budget is too hard? Not only is it easy, its especially easy with this book and the relief you feel as you get control of your spending is worth many, many times whatever small effort you put into tracking your expenses.
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I first tried to make a budget using this book I spent a week crying. How could I possibly accomplish my goal to get out of debt and have any kind of fun? Once I actually starting living with the budget I found it very freeing.
The first year that the holiday season came around and my money for gifts and travel was sitting there waiting for me I was thrilled.
3 years later I am out of debt and that initially "impossible" amount of money that was going into credit card payments is now going into savings account :-)
Last year I REALLY wanted a photo printer mid year. Did I pull out a credit card and buy it? Nope. I went to my handy 12 month plan of occasional expensesm and thought about it. Did I really want the printer more than a hair cut, my next clothing allowance and a bit off of vaction budget? Yup. There was the money for my printer. No guilt. No credit cards.
This book is a great tool to get rid of that awful out of control feeling and come up with a plan. My book for year number 4 is going into my shoping cart now.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By S. White on April 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent, budget, worksheet resource because it's the unplanned for, non-monthly, but still regular expenses that punch holes in any "monthly" budget plan. For those who've forgotten about quarterly, semi-annual, annual, birthday/holiday, etc., expenses it's a real eye opener. Couple that with modern society's growing use/dependency on non-cash transactions . . . credit cards . . . debit cards . . . prepaid cards . . . and most people don't realize how much they're actually spending at any given time/moment. But be FOREWARNED any new budgeters, this book is very weak on "overview" . . . there's no "big picture." A very simplified explanation of why one needs to do what, when, and how rolling into . . . "and this is how we get started" . . . is nowhere to be found. There's a reason one needs to initially track every expense (to identify what you're actually spending your money on) . . . organize that into some form of logical summary (determine the actual total cost of the lattes here, magazines there, fast food, etc.) . . . and develop a plan of attack if change is needed/required . . . is sorely missing. For those new to budgeting, it's not intuitively obvious. I was neither interested in nor cared that they included free budget (Mvelopes) software . . . but I did find it rather interesting that right out of the gate they discourage anyone from using Quicken or MSMoney with the quote, "I have found that for many people there is critical tactile and visual learning that occurs with the manual approach that does not happen as effectively electronically" . . . and then immediately follow that up with their software Mvelopes and all the great, wonderful things it too can do for you . . . guess the name of the game is ultimately still "Money."
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