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Category Archives: Finance

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.

 

Ways to Avoid Getting Into Debt

Save For Your Luxuries – Don’t Borrow

The first step in avoiding debt is to simply not borrow money. If you want something that you can’t afford to pay for with cash, you probably don’t need it. If you really want it, you should save up your money and buy it. By doing this you will become disciplined and stay out of debt at the same time. It is easy to get a credit card or a loan to buy something. It takes discipline and hard work to save up enough money to buy it. Saving money has always been a simple path to building wealth. The more money you save, the wealthier you’ll become.

Do You Really Need The Latest Tech Goods?

Many people are distracted by the bells and whistles of the many electronic products which flood the market today. Many people fail to realize that the digital camera or Ipod you pay $200 for today won’t be worth anything tomorrow. Electronics almost always depreciate in value. Why go out and use a credit card to buy expensive electronics when they will lose their value after they’re purchased?

Cut Out The Middle Man

One way to effectively mangage your money is to develop a wholesale mentality. When I say this I mean that you should consider not paying retail prices for electronics, furniture, or other goods. You should think about paying wholesale prices for these goods rather than retail, especially if they depreciate in value. Instead of going to the mall or furniture store to shop for clothes or furniture, why not go to a clothing outlet or thrift store?

The Freedom Of Being Debt Free

Many people become wealthy and debt free by simply saving their money, paying wholesale prices for goods, and placing some of their savings in safe investments like IRA accounts. They often will only have one credit card if any, and the amount of money they have saved up will be much larger than the balance they owe on their credit card. This is the real secret to wealth. The get rich quick schemes and late night infomercials are disinformation which will not give you true answers.

Don’t Be Another Sheep!

Avoiding debt and maintaining good credit is another key of financial success. It is important to understand the 80/20 principle when dealing with personal finance. You will want to avoid doing what 80% of the population does. Most people owe tens of thousands of dollars on credit cards, student loans, or car loans. Others use payday loans between paychecks to make ends meet. This puts them in a cycle of debt which will keep them from ever becoming wealthy or retiring in comfort. The credit card companies and banks continue to make billions while most consumers are getting further into debt.

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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?

 

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.

 

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.

 

Teenage Finance

The biggest and most neglected step for many families is teaching their teens how to manage their money. Teenage finance is about educating teens on the value of money. Teach them how to save by showing them how to use their primitive form of book-keeping. This can often be incorporated through the child’s upbringing via piggy-banks, savings accounts, and little chores in exchange for money.

Teenage finance is an important part of your personal finance because, too. When your children learn to save and use money wisely, you are subsequently saved from bailing them out of financial troubles in the future.

Personal Ethics and finance go hand-in-hand; if you have a good relationship with yourself, you will be able to save money. You won’t feel the urge to do things that go against your ethics like sign-up for a credit card using someone else’s name.

Personal finance involves taking a few steps toward safe-guarding your money. Your money spent should not exceed your money received. In order to prevent this from happening, you should make a crude balance sheet and use it to record all of your transactions.

Each month write down how much was received and how much was spent. Make a list of all the things the money was spent on, so you can keep track of your money.

You will be amazed at how much we spend on things that are not necessities.

Make a list and stick to it. Always try to get the best deal for your money and remember that cheaper does not necessarily mean lower quality.

After-all it is your money; managing your personal finances should be seen as a mandatory part of making money work for you.