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Maintaining personal finances can be challenging for many of us. It takes a special kind of willpower — plus some specific knowledge — to understand how to keep spending under control, save money intelligently and set yourself up for financial health for years to come.

Perhaps the most essential tool — and the best starting point for a healthy financial life — is the budget. 

Read the full article in the Finances FYI section of The Seattle Times, sponsored by 1st Security Bank.