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The quickest way to start on your way to keeping an effective budget is to simply start by tracking how you currently spend your money no matter the amount. On of the hardest tasks of keeping a budget is determining how much to make the budgeted amount for each category. But, if you start by just tracking what you currently spend, you will have a good starting point to figure out your limits for each budget category. Also, people tend to spend less when they track how much they spend and are surprised at how quickly it adds up.

The following percentages will give you good rule of thumb for what you should be spending as a percentage of your income on some of the major budget categories :

35% - Housing -- Spend no more than 35% of net income on housing. That includes mortgage or rent, utilities, insurance, taxes and home maintenance.

20% - Transportation -- Spend no more than 20% of net income on transportation. That includes car payments, auto insurance, tag or license, maintenance, gasoline and parking.

15% - Debt -- Spend no more than 15% of net income on all consumer debt: student loans, retail installments contracts, credit cards, personal loans, tax debts and medical debts.

10% - Savings -- Save at least 10% of income throughout your working life

20% - Other -- Spend no more than 20% of net income on all other expenses: food, clothing, entertainment, child care, medical expenses, tithing and charity.

One of the best ways of overcoming the normal challenge that people face when trying to keep a budget is to learn how to use a personal financial management tool such as Quicken or Microsoft Money. These tools make everything you do concerning your personal finances easier, and quite frankly, make it a lot more fun. It's hard to imagine budgeting being fun, but these tools actually do make it more enjoyable.