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Monthly Archives: July 2018

Effective Way to Handling Your Money

1. Budget – Get one and stick with it! And set aside at least a small portion for savings while you’re at it; savings for your future, your retirement, your education, your vacation, whatever. Head to your local office supply store for planning workbooks or budget sheets to use. Or head to your favorite search engine and type in, “budget planning” for hundreds of sites with articles, free downloads, tips, ebooks and other resources to help with your budget setup and follow up.

2. Plan Ahead – Make sure to plan for emergencies and the unexpected, like an appliance break down or garage door malfunction. Even if you can only set aside $50 or so each monthly, place it in an account and earmark it for this “Miscellaneous” fund. Then when things go wrong, and they will – nothing’s perfect – you’ll be better prepared.

3. Non Monthly Items – Work out a monthly payment for items that you don’t pay monthly and set this up in your regular monthly budget. For example, for items like annual home owner or renter insurance, quarterly water bills and automobile insurance payments and annual trash bills, take the amounts and determine what they would be monthly. Then list the items on your budget log and pull these amounts aside, saving them in your account for those purposes. This way, when the bills hit, you won’t be caught off guard and have to scrounge for the payments.

What works well, instead of handling multiple savings accounts for each company owed, is to use index cards and one savings account. Create one index card for each bill. Then simply log the amount you’re setting aside on the card and deposit it into your savings account. Keep the index cards with your savings passbook to remind you what the balance covers. The total of all your index cards should equal the balance in your savings account. (Make sure to create an index card for your regular funds that you are saving each month in step one above and a card for your Miscellaneous fund in step two above).

Ways You Can Change Your Spending Habits

1. Have you ever noticed how much time you spend sitting in front of the television? The longer you sit, the worse it is for your blood circulation. Besides, the time you free up can be used for more useful tasks such as teaching your kids or learning a new skill.

2. If you are an avid reader, use the public library whenever possible. There is no need to buy the latest books from bookstores like Borders unless it is in a category that does not fit into a public library. The public library will usually acquire popular titles after some times. Learn to be patient.

3. If you are a smoker, start reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. Over time, you may be able to quit smoking completely. Besides saving money by not buying any more cigarettes, your health will also improve and this means a huge saving in your medical bills.

4. Use a bicycle if the destination is within 30 minutes by car. This helps promote blood circulation in your body and also reduces environmental pollution. You can also save on gasoline and parking fees.

5. Dine at home more frequently. You can experiment with different recipes and save some money at the same time. In addition, you are honing your cooking skills and this could be very useful for the home dining experience.

6. Bring your own coffee to office. Many people like to drop by a Starbucks or similar coffee outlet and end up spending a few dollars or more on a cup of coffee. You can potentially save many dollars each week just by making your own coffee at home and bringing it to your work place in a Thermos. Besides, who knows, it may taste better than the coffee from Starbucks! If you really cannot live without Starbucks coffee, consider getting a Starbucks rebate card. You can use the rebates to redeem free Starbucks coffee after you have accumulated enough points.

7. Do more walking than driving. If you can reach your destination within ten minutes by car, consider leaving the car behind and walk instead. You will save money on gasoline and parking fees. This can easily add up to a few thousand dollars a year.
These seven ways are a good start for changing unhealthy spending habits. However, you should continue to research and incorporate more healthy habits that contribute to the building of your retirement fund. By re-investing the money saved from using these tips, you will be many steps ahead of your peers and closer to your retirement goals.

 

Personal Finance Rules that You Must Know

To earn money from money

The only way to escape becoming a wage slave for the rest of your life is to set aside savings. The profit on your savings can be used to increase your lifestyle spending, reduce the number of years until you retire, or allow you to actually have any retirement at all. How are you doing so far toward saving and getting it to earn money for you?

Every dollar that you spend eliminates its ability to earn money for you in the future. I am not recommending that you stop eating at restaurants and going to movies, I am recommending that you use some common sense, like looking at your four biggest expenses over the last few months and aggressively finding a way to reduce them.

The biggest obstacle for the first rule is personal debt of any kind (other than a mortgage for your home) or a lease of any kind. Every personal debt that you incur reduces your net worth which could have been working for you over your life time. Acquiring personal debt is exactly like putting a large hole in your wallet. In the money-game, a huge transfer of wealth occurs between the ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have-Nots’ over the words, “I can afford that monthly payment.” Here is a hint: the “Have-Nots” are the ones who make that statement. So please don’t ever look at whether you can afford a monthly payment to make a purchase; pay in cash after you’ve saved for the item. [Everything that you buy with a 0% interest payment plan must be over-priced. Behind the scenes, your payment contract is sold to a lender with an interest rate, and retailers don’t do this without building-in an acceptable profit for themselves. Ask retailers how much the item will cost if you pay in full, and you could get a lower price.]

Always keep your finances under control

The first step in losing financial control and spiraling into debt and money problems is simply not dealing with personal finances. Prepare for catastrophic financial accidents with health, life, disability, and auto insurance. Plan and save before you buy something. Create a balance sheet for yourself at least once a year to see how you are progressing. Pay every bill on time, or contact the creditor to tell them what is going on and make a partial payment. If you are temporarily unable to handle any of this, ask for some help immediately and find someone trustworthy who will do this for you.

The most common source of financial trouble is a trauma in your life. This can be a health problem (large expenses or unable to work), an emotional problem (divorce or loss of loved one), or a financial problem (losing a job, cut in pay, relocation, unexpected expenses). Whichever the source may be, it leads to three emotional problems: the first is denial, the second is being overwhelmed, and the third is hopelessness. Denial causes people to not open their mail and continue spending as usual, and being overwhelmed paralyzes people from getting assistance and dealing with the situation. For example, if you just lost a loved one, balancing your checkbook and paying bills is not high in your priorities. Unfortunately, tiny amounts of debt grow with interest and penalties into seemingly insurmountable mountains of debt; leaving you with loathsome options such as bankruptcy, poor credit, declining lifestyle spending, and added stress that you bring to relationships and work.

Pay attention to the finances of the people with whom you spend the most time

Whether they are relatives, friends, or co-workers, these people have the most impact on your financial life. Do they consistently follow the first two rules of the money game? Do they earn about the same money as you? If the answer to either of those is “no”, then I recommend that you start spending a little less time with them; and this is why. If they don’t consistently follow the first two rules, it is unlikely that you will either. You unconsciously model the people around you, and the more people you are exposed to that don’t follow the first two rules, the more likely that you will unwittingly follow them. No one thinks they are ‘trying to keep up with the Joneses’, but we all do it to some extent, and this is the mechanism. On the other hand, if they earn a lot more money than you, you may rack up a lot of debt trying to keep up with them (meeting them at their favorite expensive restaurant, joining them for another expensive vacation, buying a new car because yours is the junker among all of your friends, etc.) On the other hand, if most of your friends earn a lot less than you, you will turn into the group’s banker. For example, you’ll find yourself in the pattern of putting your credit card down to pay for dinner and they’ll all say they’ll pay you back later, but 50% of them never do; and they don’t mind taking advantage of you because, after all, you earn a lot more than they do. Or, you and your friends need to pay a deposit for renting a house and they expect you to write the checks because you have the money available and they do not.

The neighborhood that you live in also creates financial pressure to violate the first two financial goals. Your neighbors are likely to become friends (and I’ve already gone over this), but they also influence the size of your home, extent of your landscaping, price of furniture, and the size of your TV. So pay very close attention to the finances of your neighbors – if you don’t like how they are measuring up for first two rules, move somewhere more in alignment with your financial goals. If your family and friends, don’t measure up financially, find some additional people to spend time with that have financial habits that you’d like to emulate and learn from. I have friends with a wide range of income, but it is much more difficult to follow the first two money rules when I am with the extremes from my own income. You’ll just find it easier to reach the next rule when the peer group that you hang out with aligns closer to your economic level.

Accelerate the other three rules

Add to your savings by increasing your income through advancing your career. It doesn’t matter whether you enjoy it; it is a means to an end – with the end being progress toward the fulfillment of rule #1. Increase the amount that you save by aggressively lowering four of your highest expenses. Start spending time with people that talk about investing money and are systematically building their wealth the fastest. The combination of all four of these rules will hopefully offer a next-step for you to take today to start getting more ‘wins’ in the money-game.

 

Tips to Reduce Kids’ Schooling Costs

Organize and Save

Keep an inventory of your children’s school supplies and keep it organized. If you are not organized, you will be spending more money on replenishing your supplies. Small things like pencils and crayons may not cost too much, but if you replenish your supplies unnecessarily, you are losing valuable money.

You should also try involving the kids when making the inventory. This will give them a sense of ownership for their things and would know where to take and put their things.

Tax Holidays

Tax holidays are often offered by many states during the back-to-school season. Price ceilings will be put on different school gears. You might want to do a little research and ask about the schedule and the details of the tax holidays in your area.

Bulk Buying

It’s a basic economic principle – “the more you buy, the more you save”. Well, this is applicable if you are buying a specific item which you will really need in the near future. In buying pencils, for example, you might want to buy a box rather than buying one for each of your kids. Face it, you will be needing to replenish these after some time, so might as well avail of the lower price by buying in bulk.

Transportation

You might want to consider buying your child a bicycle for him to bring to school. This, of course, is not always feasible. Finding a cheap and safe way to bring your children to school daily is an important thing. Car pools and school transportation services are options that you can look at.

Snacks

Whenever you have the time and energy to prepare food for your children, do so. You will not only be saving on the pocket money that you will give to them but you are also secured that your children are eating healthy and safe meals.

Getting your children through school is a hard task and a costly one. Saving money through practical and simple means can assist you in this endeavor. The benefits will eventually add up to bring a brighter future to your children.

 

Saving Early for Child Education

The best advice that any parent can get is to start saving early. College tuition fees can cause a strain on your family’s budget and lifestyle. You need to have a goal to keep you motivated to save. And what better motivation is there than knowing that the money you save will finance your child’s education.

Normally the best stage to start saving for your child’s finance towards college tuition is at birth. If, however, you have not started, then the time to start saving is now. It is never too late to start saving.

The sooner you start saving, the more time there’ll be for compound interest to build up into a nice college fund for your child. Remember that each child should get his or her school finance savings fund.

You also need to decide the amount you intend to save by the time that your child reaches college age. There are many options available for you to choose from when it dollar amount. This means that you calculate the projected cost of public college tuition by the time your child is ready for college.

The other commonly used method, which many parents prefer, involves devoting a fixed percentage of income to their child’s future college costs. The idea is this: whatever you do, you have to have a defined goal. You should save as much as you can, whether it be a large amount, like several hundred dollars a month or a more modest amount, such as $35 to $70 each month.

A college education is an investment in the future of your child. If you truly want to see your child succeed, as all parents do, what could possibly be a better investment?

 

How to Controlling Your Finance

Since just about everyone has a checking account it is important to know how to keep that account balanced properly. If you do not keep a close eye on your account then it could end up costing you a lot of extra money. If you write one check that you do not have enough to cover then it could spiral way out of control.

You will be charged a fee for the insufficient funds which may cause another check to be returned which causes more fees to be added on. This is one reason for keeping a close eye on your checking account. It really isn’t as hard as it may seem you just need to remember to keep a record of everything you spend no matter how small. Review your statements each month and compare them to your records.

The next big step that most people take is by receiving credit cards. Yes it is nice to be able to purchase items on credit, but you still have to pay for that luxury and with an added interest fee. Therefore, you need to be careful how you use your cards. This is very important when it comes to controlling your finances. Try to limit them to purchases that can be paid off within the thirty day period to avoid high interest rates. If you do owe a large balance then try to pay extra each month, not just the minimum payment. The more you pay the more money actually goes towards the balance saving you on interest. .

There are also a lot of smaller ways that you can help in controlling your finances. For example, be careful and control any shopping sprees you may be thinking about, even if it is for those Christmas presents. Phone bills can sometime be quite a shock so if you are making long distance calls keep a record so you will know how long you talk and how often. The same thing goes for cell phones, so be careful not to go over your minutes as this can add up very quickly.

Don’t go in debt for large items such as automobiles if you are not financial able to afford the payments. Be careful when investing in stocks and bonds make sure you understand exactly what you are investing in and the amount of risk involved. Following these tips can help you in controlling your finances.

Saving Money Tips

1. Make more money.
2. Lower your bills.

Making more money is easier said than done. Most people only get a salary increase that barely covers inflation and the increased cost of living. Add in the increased cost of healthcare, and many people actually have less money in their paycheck!

You can get a promotion and earn more, but that can take time. And in this day and age of massive layoffs, how secure do you feel at work?

You can find a new job that pays more, or get a second job. But take it from someone who has worked part-time jobs to get by…it’s exhausting, and you’ll have to say goodbye to a lot of your free time.

Lowering your bills is less likely to cause major strife in your life. Cutting your expenses and finding ways to save money is not as difficult as you might think. All it takes is a little thought, creativity, and perspective.

Sit down and take an honest look at where your money is going. You are likely to be surprised. Most people throw money down the drain everyday, often without even realizing it. Ask yourself these questions…

Did I really get the best price for the blouse I am wearing?

Could I have paid less for that new car in my driveway?

Am I going to be able to retire when I am ready or will I have to keep working until I die?

Hopefully, your answers were yes, no, and yes. If not, you probably lost out on an opportunity to save money.

Learning how to save money and achieve financial security is a skill that not everyone learns. After all, it is not something that is taught in schools. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about how you can improve your financial situation…

Set your priorities. Decide what is important to you. Do you want to retire early? Afford a bigger house? Go on a dream vacation? Set those goals, and keep them in mind whenever you’re about to spend. Before you drop $5 on a latte, consider whether or not it is worth putting off your dream.

Think about how you can lower your bills:

If you own your own home, can you refinance your mortgage at a lower interest rate? Even though interest rates are starting to creep back up, they are still at historic lows. You could save hundreds of dollars by refinancing.

How about your credit cards? If you are paying a high interest rate, you can transfer your balance to a card with a lower rate and save big money. Many cards now offer 0% introductory offers for a year or more! Transfer the balance and then pay off as much as possible before the 0% offer ends. Just be sure not to run up a big balance again.

Keep an eye on your credit report. So much depends on your credit score. How would you know if there is a problem or mistake on it? You should keep a close eye on it at all times. If you notice something is inaccurate, get it corrected immediately.

Helpful Tips to Keep You on Track with Your Budget

1. Determine why you made a budget. There is a reason you have put time into developing your budget, now you need to put into writing what your goals are. Do you want to be debt free, live on one income, or save for retirement? Make this into your personal or family financial mission statement. Write it down or type it up nicely and then have it laminated and display it in a prominent place where you can see it often. Many times we just need a reminder to ourselves for why we are doing a particular thing, and that can be just enough incentive when things get tough.

2. Set small range goals so you can see progress. It can be very difficult to keep up the discipline necessary to stay on budget if you can’t see any measurable progress. Develop some short term goals that you can celebrate meeting. If your goal has been to reduce your grocery spending by $100 per month, then your weekly goal would be to cut grocery costs by $25. Likewise, if your goal is to pay off debt, make a chart to show how much you’ve paid off. Reward charts just aren’t for children! Use a type of chart where you can color in a bar to show your progress, and then color it in every time you make a payment so you can see the progress you are making. Put it up on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror as a reminder that your hard work is paying off!

3. Identify your weak spots and develop a plan to battle them. In sticking to your budget, you need a clear idea of where you may be tempted to break the budget. If you are prone to impulse spending, then you must remove that temptation from yourself. If you go window shopping, leave your credit cards and check book at home! Especially in the early days of sticking to your budget, it is important to re-train yourself to curb spending.

Making a budget is really the easy part in financial management. It is sticking to the budget and making your spending match your plan that is the difficult process. By disciplining yourself and retraining your spending habits, you can achieve your budget goals.

 

Signs that You Have Too Much Debt

1. You’re living paycheck to paycheck. If your bank account runs dry towards the end of the week, before you get your next paycheck, you’re probably in over your head with debt. You should be able to pay your necessary bills, and still have money left over to put into savings.

2. You can’t pay every bill each month. If you have to make a decision each month about what bills you can afford to pay (i.e. letting your phone bill run a month behind, so you can keep your electric turned on, or vice versa), then you probably have too much debt. Your bills shouldn’t exceed your income in any amount, but especially not if you’re being forced to make a choice between necessities.

3. You applied for credit and were denied. This is a more obvious sign that you’re in too much debt. If this happens, and you don’t know why, order your credit report immediately and find out what’s wrong. Remember to fix anything on the report that isn’t correct.

4. You regularly overdraft your bank account. If you’re cutting checks to pay your bills, and they’re bouncing, you’re probably in too much debt. The same is true if you write a check for more than you currently have in your account, hoping that a deposit in the next day or two will be processed in time to cover it.

5. Collectors are calling you. This is another of the more obvious signs that you’re in too much debt. Although they may seem frightening, ignoring collectors won’t make them go away. They’ll likely just become even pushier. Your best bet is to answer your phone or call them back, explain your situation, and see what they can do to work with you. Some will be able to lower your interest rates or be able to give you an extension on your payment dates.

6. Your credit cards are maxed out. Credit cards should never be pushed to their limits. You should always keep an adequate amount of money available on them for an emergency, if one comes up. Running them up on material things that you can’t afford is a sign that you’re in too much debt.

7. You have more than five recurring debts. Having more than three credit cards at any one time can be a sign that you’re in too much debt. Couple that with more than two loans or other revolving credit (for a mortgage, car, student loans, or a computer loan), and you’re just asking for debt troubles.

8. You use your credit cards for everyday expenses. If you find yourself using your credit cards to buy groceries or other necessities, because you don’t have enough cash at the time to purchase them, you’re likely in too much debt. Use your credit cards for occasional expenses, not basics like food and utilities.

9. You only make the minimum payments on your debts. Being able to make your minimum payments on all of your debts each month does not mean that you’re in control of your debts. Creditors love people that only pay their minimum amounts, because it means they’ll make the most interest. The longer it takes you to pay your debts back, the more you have to pay over time.

10. You don’t know how much you owe. This is the biggest sign that you’re in too much debt. If you’ve ignored your debt to the point where you don’t even know what you owe, you’re likely in more debt than you think.