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Category Archives: Finance

Budget Money Tips

The Greatest Incentive

To encourage yourself to budget money is important, as without the motivation, you will probably not budget that well. What incentive can there be to having a home budget and sticking to it? The answer is actually quite simple. Nobody becomes rich by spending more, or even the same, each month than they receive. Wealth grows from surplus; that is, the surplus left over at the end of the month after you have completed your spending.

Recognizing this can provide you with a kick start in wanting to learn how to budget money, and then put that learning into practice. Once you start to see those surpluses build, your confidence in wealth building, and incentive in budgeting, will grow.

Keeping Detached

It is important when budgeting to maintain a detached view of the figures. Think of yourself as a finance professional helping a consumer set and manage a home budget, and set yourself aside from any emotions that may seep out during a review of your budget. Some parts of the budget can arouse emotions, and thus distort sensible decisions. Things like cutting out a family holiday or weekend trips, that new bike for your son or designer outfit for your daughter, can be emotional sparks. It is important not to allow those sparks to set light to your well drafted budget.

Be Open

If you have a family, the household budget affects those closest to you. The budget is a family affair, and it does help to talk openly about it with your spouse and children who are old enough to understand. Children may not like sacrifices, but they will understand eventually. It can be an important part of their education if you involve them. If you can give them some incentive, too, such as building their own savings scheme into the budget, then they may even start to enjoy it and truly see the benefits.

Ignore Peer Pressures

Your personal budget is simply that, personal. It is therefore something you should see in the context of your own circumstances, not somebody else’s.

To budget your money effectively you really need to be able to ignore peer pressures that may force you into unnecessary or unwise spending. Just because your neighbour or best friend is having two foreign holidays this year does not mean you need to also. Just because your brother or other relative has a new home cinema system does not mean it is essential for you too.

If you can let peer pressure run off you, like water off a duck’s back, then you have made a big breakthrough in learning how to budget money.

 

Money Management Art

People differ in their artistic taste. A piece of art that might not appeal to me might be the favorite piece of someone else. There are several factors where people opinions will differ in how they manage money.

# Risk Tolerance – An adult with ADD will be more likely to take risks with their money than the average person. Everyone has a different risk tolerance and as long as you understand and are comfortable with the risk then it is a proper way to manage your money.

# Lifestyle Choice – Everyone has a different definition of how much money they need in order to be satisfied with their life. This helps define how much money you need to earn now and how much money you need for retirement. A savings goal for one person can seem ridiculously low to another, yet both can be proper choice depending on lifestyle.

# Time spent – Everyone gives money management a different priority in their life. Someone who spends more time on money management will be able to more efficiently handle their finances. This does not mean that everyone needs to spend a lot of time managing their finances, but you have to accept that if you do not like spending time with your finances there are going to be opportunities to save or make money that you will miss.

Without the proper technique you are likely to create a bad piece of art. While there is not one right way to manage your money there are many ways to mismanage your money.

# Not paying your bills on time – Will ruin your credit score and your ability to get money when you need it.

# Not understanding contracts or agreements you are signing – For example if you are not carrying the insurance that you need and a disaster strikes, you will be in financial ruin. If you are carrying insurance that you don’t need you are losing money that could be used to invest or pay down debt

# Not understanding where your money is actually going – It is easier for an adult with ADD to lose track of what they are actually spending their money on. It is important to review your bank statement and to keep a journal of what you are paying cash for, in order to make sure that your spending is actually matching how you want to manage your money.

The way that you manage money is a reflection of how you are actually living you life. Life is the ultimate form of art. By viewing money management as a personal reflection of your self, this should enable you to take more control of the day to day money decisions that is going to have the greatest affect on your finances.

Solutions to Get Cash

# Borrow from a friend or family member

You may have loved ones who will help you out in a time of need, no matter what your situation is. In that case, this is probably the first solution to consider.

The advantage is that you don’t have to fill out applications, have your credit checked, or deal with a company that may charge you high fees. In fact, your friends or family may not charge you any interest for making you a loan (but it’s polite to offer them something, even if it’s just to do them a small favor).

One big disadvantage to borrowing money from someone you know is that they want to know why you need it, and you may have to explain your situation. That’s not always easy to do.

Another disadvantage is that word may get around, if they can’t keep your problems to themselves. Even friends and family like to gossip about their loved ones.

Also, you may have to listen to all their advice about how to save more money, how to get a better job, what to do with your life, and every other “helpful” bit of information they feel a need to tell you. But that’s just the price you pay for borrowing money from people you know.

Finally, the biggest disadvantage is what could happen if you can’t pay back the loan – or can’t pay it back quickly enough. That could ruin your friendship or family relationship, so consider this carefully before borrowing money from them.

# Pawn something or hold a yard sale

You may have some things you don’t need. In that case, why not sell them to make some money?

If you have something of value that you’d like to keep, and you think you’d have the money soon to buy it back, you can try pawning it. The danger there is that you won’t have enough money in time to get it back.

If you have things you want to get rid of, you can try holding a yard sale, sell your items through the newspaper, or even sell them online on eBay.

The disadvantage is that you don’t know if you’ll be able to sell your things, and it may take some time. Also, you may have expenses involved if you have to run an ad in the paper.

# Ask your creditors for more time to pay your bills

This isn’t exactly getting cash. It’s more like getting a temporary stay of execution. Still, it may help you get past a temporary cash crisis.

The advantage is that you don’t have to get a loan or sell your valuables. Instead, you just ask for more time to pay your bills. Some creditors may be willing to work with you and arrange a different payment plan.

The disadvantage is that your creditors may charge you for this service. And you still may have to pay late charges or higher interest rate. Or they may just laugh in your face for asking. But it’s worth a try.

# Get a cash advance on your credit card

The advantage of this is that you don’t have to talk to anyone, fill out an application, or get approved. You’re borrowing money from the credit card company, and they’ve already approved you for a credit line up to a certain amount.

Of course, this solution assumes you have a credit card, that you haven’t maxed it out, or that you’re willing to pay the high fees and extra charges. Typically, credit cards charge a “transaction fee” for a cash advance and they charge a higher interest on cash advances than they do on normal purchases. That’s one disadvantage.

Plus, a lot of us don’t have clean enough credit to get credit cards. Or we just don’t want to be sucked into the world of yearly “membership” fees, or worry about late charges if we miss the payment deadline by a few hours. And some credit cards charge huge interest rates. You can end up paying hundreds of dollars for the “privilege” of using your credit card.

# Get overdraft protection on your bank account

With this service, the bank covers any checks you write where you don’t have enough money in your account.

The advantage is that you avoid paying fees for bounced checks. It gives you a bit of a cushion.

The disadvantage is that you still end up paying fees. But instead of paying fees for bounced checks, you pay fees for the bank to cover your overdrafts. And that can cost you a bundle!

Some plans have fees as high as $35 per overdraft. What this means is that the bank is really making you a high-interest loan. That is, they charge you for the use of their money (by covering your check when you don’t have enough in your account). And they may only cover you for a few hundred dollars. After that, they start bouncing your checks.

It can be good to have overdraft protection for when you accidentally write a check when the money isn’t there. But don’t use it as a roundabout way to get a loan from the bank. You’ll end up paying too much for this.

# Get a loan

Once you’ve tried other ways to raise the money you need, you can try getting a loan from your bank or through companies that offer payday loans (also called check advance loans or cash advance loans).

Getting a loan from your bank can be the better choice because you’ll probably be able to borrow the money at a good interest rate, and you don’t have to pay it back right away.

However, this can be the most difficult loan to get. Banks prefer to make loans to businesses, or for specific projects such as a home improvement loan. They rarely give loans to people who just need some cash to tide them over until next payday.

That’s where payday loans come in.

A payday loan company will advance you some cash right away, and you don’t have to pay them back until your next payday. The disadvantage is that these loans are only for people who receive a regular paycheck or benefit check.

The advantages are:
– You can get the money quickly, deposited right into your checking account.
– If you apply online, you don’t have to talk to anyone or tell them why you need the money.
– If you can’t pay back the loan on the next payday, you can roll the loan over until the following payday.
– They usually don’t care about credit problems, only that you can pay the loan back.

 

True Wealth

Ebenizer Scrooge of Dicken’s The Christmas Carol was very wealthy for his time, but before meeting the three ghosts of Christmas past, present and future,
he lived a miserable life, too cheap to even heat his own apartment.

Meanwhile his clerk, with his many children, was portrayed as happy and loving – a great father.

Of course this is fiction, but is there any truth to the story?

Many people will work incessantly trying to accumulate more and more wealth, but a trite joke is that their last words are never: “I wished I spent more time at
work.”

For some people the only answer to the question; “What is true wealth?”, is money pure and simple – the more money the better.

Others would be content to say that true wealth is having the peace of mind of being free of debt.

Another will say he is truly wealthy if he can lead the lifestyle he chooses regardless of cost.

Others might say true wealth is being healthy and surrounded by loving family and caring friends.

There are probably as many answers to this question as they are people to answer it.

You could live in a big house on the hill, have two Mercedes in the garage and a million in the bank and not enjoy life as much as the guy who works in the gas station and lives in a two room furnished apartment.

True wealth is what one perceives it to be. And if it were not so, we wouldn’t have policemen, firemen and soldiers who risk their lives protecting us rather than trying to work on Wall Street, making big bucks.

We wouldn’t have doctors who travel to third world countries, just to try to make some difference, rather than to stay at home with a thriving practice and a comfortable life.

We wouldn’t have all the volunteers this country has, who are ready and willing to help the sick, infirm or destitute – or who suddenly turn up at disaster scenes willing to do anything to help.

This country wouldn’t have the millions of people who donate billions of dollars annually to the charities of their choice.

So even thought we concentrate on financial matters, it’s good to step back and realize there is more to true wealth than money.

I believe that having enough wealth to live a comfortable life makes lots of other things possible.

I also believe that being in debt is merely transferring your wealth to your creditors. While it may make them, or their shareholders rich, it really contributes little to your true wealth.

 

Things You May Want to Consider about Money Management for Students with Credit Card

# Avoid Temptations

If you have a particular weakness, and we all do, just stay away from it. If you love shopping, stay out of the malls. If you’re a tech-head, stick to once a year upgrades. Nobody says avoiding temptation is going to be easy. However, it is a must if you want to save money. When you want to give into your temptation, this is the time to use your “allowance”. Your allowance can be a set amount for ‘special’ items, or just a big jar where you put your loose change at the end of every day.

# Credit Cards

If you have a credit card, use it only for emergency. Although they are really handy, credit cards are dangerous and possibly very damaging to your financial future. Credit cards (and in particular student credit cards) have very high interest rates. If you are only able or willing to make the minimum monthly payments then you will very quickly end up with a HUGE amount of debt because of the interest. The really bad thing is that you will also have to pay interest on the interest you owe. So, credit cards are good in a pinch, but should never be used as an extension of your cash.

# Credit Card Interest

If you have credit cards and your credit is in good standing, you should take the time to call your credit card company, and ask for your interest rate to be lowered. It is just as simple as that. Most people have no idea they can even do this so they never make the call. Just ask the rep for a better rate on your credit card and they will take care of it for you.

# Financial Consulting

Many financial companies, community colleges and even churches offer classes on how to manage money. In some cases the courses are free, but often they cost around $35 to attend: it is money well spent. Another choice you have is consumer-counseling services. This is a great if you are getting into debt trouble. The counselors will work with your creditors to lower your balances, interest rates, and establish workable payment schedule that you can manage.

 

Tips to Start Trimming Your Budget Around The House

If you want to possibly save hundreds of dollars a year on your electric bill, make sure that any new appliances you buy are energy efficient. You can find this information on the Energy Guide Labels that federal law requires of all major appliances.

Call your utility program and ask them if they have any cost saving programs such as load management programs or off hour rate programs. Enrolling in these could save you a substantial amount of money.

Ask your electric and/or gas company if they do a free or low cost home audit. They can identify ways for you to save hundreds of dollars a year on heating and air conditioning and often they will help you implement their suggestions for free.

Go over your phone bill and see if there are charges on it for services you don’t use, like three way calling or call waiting. You can save about $50 a year if you eliminate unused services.

When the fireplace is not in use, keep the flue damper tightly closed. A chimney is designed specifically for smoke to escape, so until you close it, warm air escapes-24 hours a day!

If you use electricity to heat your home, consider installing an energy-efficient heat pump system. Heat pumps are the most efficient form of electric heating in moderate climates, providing three times more heating than the equivalent amount of energy they consume in electricity. A heat pump can trim the amount of electricity you use for heating as much as 30% to 40%.

You can cut the amount of water you use showering in one year in half, by installing low flow shower heads.

Insulate your water heater and turn the thermostat on it down a few degrees, to save quite a bit on your bill.

Carefully placed trees can help to heat a cool your house. Studies show that just 3 trees strategically planted to give shelter and shade can save you up to $250 a year on heating and cooling.

Provide high efficiency lighting to your home by using linear fluorescent and energy efficient fluorescent compact lamps in your fixtures. They last 6-10 times longer and use less energy.

Use solar pathway lights in your yard to provide nighttime light. It costs less than using electricity to run security lamps.

Refrigerators with freezers on the top are more efficient and therefore more cost effective than those with freezers on the side.

Switching your washing machines temperature from hot to warm or cold cuts a loads energy use in half.

Gas dryers are less expensive to operate than electric dryers. The cost of drying a typical load of laundry in an electric dryer is 30 to 40 cents compared to 15 to 25 cents in a gas dryer. That savings adds up over the course of a year.

When you are drying jeans in the dryer, throw a towel or two in with them. The towel will draw moister from the jeans, cutting down on dry time.

With a little thought and minimal effort you can save hundreds of dollars a year around your house. Start saving today, and imagine how much more money you will have in your bank account in the future.

Tips to Save on Automobile Gas

The next time you reach for your car keys ask yourself: ‘Do I really need to drive?’ Every trip to the store does not require car keys; you may find that there are ways of getting to your destination that are less expensive or even free:

Walk! If your destination is just a quarter of a mile or so away, walking those few blocks will not only save your gas money it will help you stay in good shape.

Peddle! You may own a bicycle that’s sitting in a corner and not being used; dust it off and use it for those destinations that are just two or three miles away. Don’t worry! You never forget how to ride a bike! If you don’t own a bicycle, consider buying one.

Public transportation! For those trips that are just not practical for walking or peddling, consider your public transportation options.

Ride sharing! There are literally thousands of carpools operating five days a week and saving their members plenty of money on gas and on wear and tear on their cars. Ask around at work, you may be able to find two or three people who live in your general area and who are willing to start a carpool. Also ask at work if the company has considered starting a van pool — they may already have one that you can get in on.

Neighborhood networking! Many times, in suburbs and small communities, neighbors get together for weekly trips to the grocery store or into town for other shopping or supplies — one week one person drives and the next week someone else drives. That type of arrangement also works great for getting the kids to school and home when you live in an area where there is no school bus service.

Telecommuting! More and more people are working for home and, with modern technology, they can even attend virtual meetings right from home. There are thousands of companies across the country that allow telecommuting and, if you can present it as a practical alternative to your management, you may join the ranks of telecommuters — at least some days of the week.

Perhaps you have no choice — there is just no way, other than driving, to get from ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B;’ there are some things you can do to make your driving a money-saving experience.

Moderation! Watch your speed, if you drive at posted speed limits you’ll actually be driving at the most fuel-efficient speeds; if you have cruise control, use it for highway driving. When pulling away from a stop sign or light, don’t ‘floor it;’ jackrabbit starts are a big waste of gas. Jamming on your breaks wastes gas also and, more importantly, if you find yourself constantly hitting the breaks hard you’re driving far too aggressively; there is no need to add medical bills to your gas bills.

Plan ahead! During the morning and afternoon ‘rush hours’ you may find that the shortest route between home and work is also the most congested. Find an alternate route, even if its a little longer, it will get you out of those gas-wasting traffic jams. It also may be possible to have your work schedule changed so that you can miss the heavy traffic on the major highways.

Driving ‘lite’! The lighter your vehicle is, the less gas it will use. Don’t lug around unnecessary weight. Also, use the cars well-designed aerodynamics to your advantage by keeping your windows closed and not having anything strapped to the top of your car.

Keep your car in shape! A well maintained car will burn less gas than one that has been neglected: keep your tires properly inflated; use the proper (manufacturer recommended) oil and gas in your car; change your oil and have tune-ups at regular intervals. If your tires need replacement, look for tires that are rated as LRR (Low Rolling Resistance). Proper tire inflation along with the LRR tires will be your biggest fuel savers.

 

Know How A Millionaire Manages One Dollar

Give a millionaire a dollar and they will do something predictable: They will display the discipline not to spend it. That dollar will be deposited into a savings account where it earns interest income. A millionaire does not spend earned income! They only spend the income from their investments. A millionaire cycles money from a job, overtime pay, bonus, etc., into investment accounts. When you start out, you probably don’t have any investments so how are you going to pay your bills? Reject the saying: “Try to save some money after you pay the bills each month.” This rarely happens and may be too little to add up to much. That saying is psychologically backwards. The new saying that I you want to begin with is: “Don’t invest all of your earned income each month, pay a few bills with it.” Do you see the millionaire difference?

Let’s talk about financial building blocks. Give a millionaire a dollar and they will split it up into the distinct building blocks of a solid financial foundation. Ten-cents of that dollar will be allocated to a permanent investment account that is never spent. This account builds your wealth. As I have said before: “Wealth can only be created and maintained by the amount of money that you receive and do not spend.” Well, this is that account, and you need to increase it by a piece of every dollar that you receive. Another ten-cents will be allocated to a savings account. This is a delayed-spending account for expensive purchases such as vacation, home repairs, or cars.

Millionaires save money to buy something before they purchase it, not afterward on credit where you have to pay interest. The next ten-cents is allocated to wealth education. The economy is always changing and you are ultimately responsible for directing all of your money. The only way to do this wisely is to add to your investment knowledge. Get investing ideas by paying for advisors, books, courses, newsletters, magazines, and newspapers. The three-dimes that were just allocated for different purposes is the wealth formula of millionaires; this is how wealth can be built to last for generations. It is only after these three buckets get their share of the dollar that part of it is allocated for taxes on that dollar. Notice that a millionaire pays the taxman after the important building blocks get their share.

There is no such thing as “income before taxes”. There is a tax liability on all income from whatever source. So a millionaire will have a tax strategy in place to receive that dollar before it is ever deposited at the bank. Millionaires don’t overpay their taxes, they manage tax liabilities because they are your single largest expense (Add up how much you paid for income tax to the IRS, state, city, and property taxes – it is probably a much bigger number than you expect). Some ways to minimize your taxes include setting up a part-time business to create legitimate deductions, buying investments that offer depreciation like real estate and oil, and finding the best CPA to give you advice.

The managing-a-dollar formula that the millionaires follow is: minimize the tax liabilities, allocate parts of it to build your financial foundation, decrease the percentage of earned-income that you spend until it is zero, and forge the discipline to consistently follow this routine. Now, at what age do you wish that you had learned this material? At what age do you think you should start exposing your children to these ideas? The correct answer is: as early as possible (and when they start getting an allowance at the very latest).

 

Financial Aspect Tips for You and Your Partner

1. Understand the way that you both look at money.

If you and your spouse have different beliefs when it comes to money matters, sit down and discuss it. The key here is to be able to compromise. For some people, money is a security measure that needs to be saved. Other people spend it luxuriously and look at spending money as a means to reward themselves for their work. Still, other people are very thrifty that they hardly ever spend a cent of what they have earned.

Understand that the way that you both treat and spend money stems from how you were brought up by your parents. Think of everything that you need to discuss when it comes to your household budget. If possible, set rules on how you will spend your combined income on utility bills, food, mortgage, car maintenance, etc.

2. Set future financial goals.

If you are newly weds and you are planning to have a baby soon, consider this when organizing your finances. If you are a couple nearing the age of retirement, you can make plans on where you will spend your leisure years. Setting long-term and short-term goals will help you finalize your financial plans.

3. Share your money-saving skills with your partner.

If you have different family backgrounds, then you would have something to contribute towards organizing your joints assets. Make each other aware of your personal finances then think of ways on how you can further boost your money-handling tactics.

 

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).