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Follow the Rule of 5
Some people—the free-spirited or Type B, the list-phobes, the detail-averse—hate budgets. For them, Lauren Lyons Cole suggests the Rule of 5.

Start with your monthly income and subtract your bills, retirement funds, children's college-fund or other saving-plan contributions. Divide this amount by 5. Put one-fifth in a separate account for annual spending (holiday gifts, weekend getaways, etc.) The remaining four-fifths are your pocket money for the month—think of each portion as your weekly allowance.

"When it's gone, it's gone," Lyons Cole says.

By taking money off the table at the start, you're setting yourself up for success no matter what distractions or urges crop up along the way.

Next: 6 money mistakes to avoid