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Budgeting 101 – Living Within Your Means

You never want to waste all the hard-earned money that you have earned in your lifetime. Find out how you can save money by investing part of your income and cutting down on your daily expenses. You don’t really want to ask people you know, because you might come off as irresponsible, even though they are probably going through the same thing to. By reading this article, you will find yourself feeling more secure and informed about your financial situation.

Instead of buying a lot of expensive Christmas presents, why not make your own by hand? This will lessen the amount you spend shopping and can help you save a lot of money during the holidays. Creativity can help reduce your costs and increase your overall net worth.

Losing the family home can be devastating. If you are in a tough money situation, try to find a home with a cheaper payment. Foreclosure and eviction are definitely worst-case scenarios. Some people facing foreclosure choose wisely and act first to preempt the eviction by moving.

You can improve your finances dramatically by taking advantage of available discounts. Reconsider your brand loyalties, instead favoring products for which you have coupons. If you usually buy one brand of dish soap and can save money with a coupon on another brand, go with the one that is cheaper.

Switch out your old incandescent bulbs in favor of new, energy-efficient bulbs. Not only will you be lowering your electric bill as a result, but you will also be doing something good for the environment. CFL bulbs should last much longer while using less energy. You will also save a lot more money because you have to buy fewer bulbs over time.

Some debt is actually good for your credit score. Real estate can be considered a good investment. Usually properties, personal and commercial, increase in value and commonly the loan interest is tax deductible. Another example of good debt is a college loan. There are many loans out there for students that have lower interest rates that don’t have to be reimbursed until graduation.

You can automatically have a set amount of money moved to your savings account via your checking account as often as you choose. This is an excellent strategy which helps you to manage your money much better each month. This technique can also be helpful for accruing money for expensive events, such as a wedding.

Pay off the credit card balances that have the highest interest rate first. You may want to pay all debts equally, but those with a higher interest rate should be paid off first to avoid accruing more debt. Keep in mind that credit card rates should increase in the next few years; pay off your accounts as soon as you can.

Contribute to your Individual Retirement Account if that option is available to you. It will allow you to be more financially secure in the future. You can find help with opening an IRA through banks, credit unions, brokerages, or even mutual funds. When contributed to regularly, IRAs can greatly impact your retirement funds.

Be wary of making investment choices based off of past performances alone. Continuous negative results should inspire you to remove your funds and invest it someplace else.

Keeping a written notebook on your daily expenses can be a real eye-opener into where your money is going. If you put it away then you may completely forget about it. A good idea is to get a large whiteboard for use in your office or home as a reminder to keep listing your expenditures. Since the notes will be constantly visible to you, you will stay aware of your fiances.

Once you’ve read this article, you should start understanding the information that’s been provided and soon you will be able to fully take care of your own finances. If the tips did not make sense to you, take a few minutes to reread them and research them to ensure you truly understand them.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Personal Finance

You want to buy all the nice things in life, right? A nice home and car is within your grasp if you learn to handle your money. Below, you will find advice for making financial control easier.

Some choose to gamble by purchasing lottery tickets when they should be putting that money toward savings. This will give you a guaranteed gain, rather than losing to an overwhelmingly risky game.

If you can barely live check to check, you may need to get overdraft protection, which you may be able to get at your credit union or bank. Though it costs a few dollars, it may save you from 20 dollar fees here and there.

One way to save money is by trimming your family’s hair. Some hair cuts may look better with the skilled care of a stylist, but you can easily learn basic hair cuts and save yourself a ton of money. Cutting the hair yourself won’t cost your anything.

Don’t rely on credit cards. There are many ways you can learn about saving money on interest that applies to all sorts of loans like cars and mortgages. Paying interest is a huge waste of your hard-earned money, so work on eliminating it.

Talking to a family member who works in or once worked in a finance related profession can help one learn how to manage their own personal finances. If one doesn’t know anyone who has worked in the financial services industry, it may be helpful for them to speak with someone who is able to manage their finances successfully.

You can get some extra money from a yard or garage sale! Let your neighbors sell their things for a small fee! Get creative with your garage sale.

Don’t take a lot of student loans out if you’re not expecting to be able to pay them off in the near future. If you attend an expensive college before you have decided on a major, this may put you in debt that will be impossible to overcome.

If you would like to maintain a positive personal financial situation, you should strive to pay all your bills on time each month. Paying your bills early will help you keep track of expenses and keep your budget under control. You will also rest easy knowing that if unexpected expenses arise, you won’t need to worry about unpaid bills.

Avoiding alcohol can save you money and spare you from foolish purchases while under its influence. Instead, drink water to keep your mind sharp for important decisions.

Be sure to carry a small amount of cash or your debit card in the event of needing to make a small purchase. Recent laws allow the merchants to set a minimum purchase amount when credit cards are used.

Although you may not like your job at the moment, it is always best to have some money coming, than having none at all. In order to maintain your personal finances you must budget expenses that are less than your expected income.

Use the store brand instead of the national brand. The higher prices of name brands goes to paying for their expensive marketing costs. A more affordable option is to try products from a generic label. Most of the time there really is no difference between the two, so you won’t even notice.

Buying in bulk is only smart if you are using all of the product before it goes bad. You can save money by stocking up on things you know you use regularly and those you will eat before they go bad. So, make sure you use caution when you find a good deal on something to make sure it really does end up saving you money in the long run.

Learning to deal with your finances at an early age will allow you to make larger investments later in life. This article can help you be ready to make smart decisions with your money.

Some Myths on Personal Finance

The best way to increase your financial stability is by doing a thorough evaluation of your savings and spending. This way you will be able to find out how you may save on your existing earning so that you may have better funding in your account. Here, are some of the common myths that you get to learn along with the rational basis or even lack of it in them.

Myth 1# Investing in stocks and mutual funds is truly necessary

Most people will inform you to invest in stocks and mutual funds. However, if you have to invest do so after appropriate assessment of your financial position. Every other person may feel a different way to invest, and there is no reason why one must only invest in mutual funds or stocks. One can make steady interests from saving accounts also by maintaining a stable balance.

Myth 2# Investing in property is better than taking on lees

Another popular myth that is passed on from one to another is that it is better buying a property instead of renting one. Often there are many cases where it is more advantageous to buy a house, but in case you are not particularly keen on your credit do not try to buy a house. The equated monthly instalments will be substantially higher than what you may actually spend on renting the same property. Again, you may obtain interests if you had invested the same amount in your account in some other place.

Myth 3# Closing credit card accounts will save money

Closing credit card accounts is yet another factor that you may do, but think about stuff like paying off the dues in regular intervals instead of in one shot. You can choose not to use your credit card instead of closing your credit card account. Moreover, you can use the card in emergency and this way you will learn to use the credit card judiciously.  

Myth 4# You cannot get a loan if you have poor credit or debit details

This is an absolute myth, and there is actually no rational reasoning in it. There are loans that are specifically made for people with poor scores. Many people take personal loans to reduce the burden of finance. This helps the person to remove personal debts and pay against only one loan.

Myth 5: I am too young or too old for retire plans

Most people ignore their retirement plans because they think they are too young, but youth is the best time to take a retirement policy.

This is the time to take action now, and if needed you can take the help of your financial adviser.

Helping Moms Make the Most of their Budgets

Smile

Being a mom is one of the most important jobs on the planet, so it’s only natural that you’ll want to dedicate as much time to your kids as possible without worrying about whether your budget will last until the next payday. For most of us, there are plenty of things we can do to help spend less and save more, and even though it might take a bit of planning to start with, once you get into the habit, it could make a big difference.

 

Consider investments

The phrase tax efficient savings might not be the most glamorous and exciting there ever was, but this can be a really good way to encourage savings and earn more interest. For example, a share ISA can be a great option for moms who are looking to save for the future, whether it’s for the kids’ education or a dream holiday.

 It’s worth pointing out that because this is a form of investment, there is a risk attached since the stock market can fall as well as rise, but if you’re willing to save over the long term, there is the chance to get good returns. Plus, a high risk can equal much better dividends, so it’s something worth considering. 

For the 2012 tax year, the shares ISA limit is £11280, so it offers good investment opportunities. If you want, you can save half of that amount as cash, which is less risky but is unlikely to offer as high returns.

 

Consider shopping

Shopping can be really fun, but shopping for food can sometimes be more stressful than it’s worth – and not just because the kids are throwing a strop in the cereal aisle! A little bit of planning ahead can help here. While it might not seem fun to sit down and plan meals for an entire week, this can really help you plan what you need to buy – and if you go to the supermarket armed with a list, you’re more likely to jut buy what you need and avoid those costly extras.

Also, simple things such as switching to supermarket own brands rather than fancy brand names, and making use of coupons, can save you small amounts of cash that add up over time.

 

Consider entertainment

One of the main jobs as a mom is to keep your kids happy and entertained – if only so many forms of entertainment didn’t cost so much money! Still, it’s likely that plenty of your friends are in the same boat, so you can save money on days out by pooling your resources. For example, swapping things like books, toys and DVDs can save you plenty of money compared to buying things new.

Simpler trips out, such as going to the park with friends rather than the cinema can also save a lot. Plus, you could make use of local facilities such as the library and help to support local ventures while saving yourself money on books and other activities. Many libraries also offer additional things for the kids to do, as do community centres, so looking to see what’s available in your area is definitely worthwhile.

How To Keep Track of Your Bills

Since the 1950s a typical American household has seen the number of bills that they receive every month go up by two bills every decade. A recent telecom survey stated that the average household now gets about 11 bills month. These bills include basic utilities, internet, cable services, and loan payments. Keeping track of all of these bills can be overwhelming for some families.

Consider that in the 1950s, most families received about four bills a month. These covered electricity, water and sewer service, telephone service, and a mortgage. There were no credit cards (store credit was usually paid at the store and invoices were rarely mailed out), car loans were rare, and internet and cell phones hadn’t been invented yet.

Today, a household can receive dozens of bills a month. This is especially the case for households with multiple adult members. Instead of two or three utility bills, a household today will get a bill for electricity, water, trash service, sewer service, a landline phone, a cell phone, cable, and internet. Instead of a single mortgage bill, a lot of households have multiple mortgage bills, credit card bills, car loans, and personal loans. Households also contract out more services such as housecleaning, yard work, and child care.

Having so many more bills to keep track of means that many households forget to make all of their payments on time. For many people, this means incurring hefty late fees from companies that penalize their customers for paying their bills a few days late.

Fortunately, one solution to this is to combine your bills into one payment. Some companies have already introduced options that allow customers to consolidate bills into one payment. For example, many cable companies allow a person to combine their cable bill with their landline telephone, wireless telephone, and internet service. While this is a good start towards reducing paperwork clutter, it does not reduce the amount of bills that are connected to loans.

Between student loans, credit cards, mortgages, and auto loans, the typical American family will probably have at least half the bills coming into their house as loan payments. Since loan payments often have the highest penalty rates and late fees, missing a loan payment can seriously impact a family’s budget. Consolidating loan payments, however, can save a family both time and money.

Combining credit cards together as one big loan with one interest rate will eliminate the multiple bills arriving throughout the month (each with a different due date, of course). By combining all of the credit card bills into one loan, however, a family will receive a single bill with a single interest rate and payment every month.

Some families choose to go even further and combine all of their debt payments into one bill. There are plenty of loans available that will combine mortgage payments, car loans, and credit cards. For some families, this will reduce the dozens of bills they receive each month (each with different terms of payment) into one easy to manage expense.

 

 

How to Squeeze that Car into Your Budget

For most people, car ownership is an essential way of life — there is simply no other way to get from one place to another. If you find yourself dealing with extremely tough budgetary constraints, however, you may begin to wonder if you can truly afford a car or should even buy one in the first place. The good news is that there are ways of cutting budgetary expenses, lowering the monthly amount of car payments, and getting great deals on financing and car ownership.

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Create a Household Budget that Works

One of the basic rules in managing finances is the use of a budget. This is true for our government, schools, hospitals and any other entity with income and expenses. Yet surprisingly, approximately half of the households in the US do not have a budget in place for managing personal finances. Those with a budget in place often find it difficult to make the numbers work each month. To create a budget that will work for your family, you must first understand the purpose of budgeting finances.
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Tired of Being Frugal?

My wife and I have been transitioning to a primarily cash based budget. It’s been easy in some respects and harder in others. That’s why this resonated with me.

If you are getting a little frugal fatigue, you might consider treating yourself with a little spending splurge, just to take the edge off.

Problem is, I probably splurge too much! Keeping it small is the way to go.

Taking the time to provide yourself with a small treat, something out of the ordinary, can have an amazing effect on your mood. Think about what you enjoy, and what might provide a pick-me-up.

And, of course, you don’t necessarily have to spend money to get a quick lift me up.

Some activities that I enjoy that don’t require spending extra money include:

  • Going for a walk.
  • Riding bikes.
  • Popping corn on the stove top to watch a movie with my family.
  • Visiting the local zoo.
  • Window shopping in the downtown historical district.

How do you like to splurge? Big ticket or small? Spending or not?

Reference: MoneyNing.com

Budget and Net Worth Calculators

Found this nice set of budget, net worth, and investment calculators for Excel.


A Daily Plan to Improve Your Finances – and Life

Quality of Life

Like most things worthy of our time, getting our finances in shape doesn’t happen by accident. It happens by making deliberate, good choices every day. Each choice might not seem like much but, on a cumulative basis, will have a lasting impact over the course of our lifetimes.
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