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Category Archives: Finance

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.

 

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).

 

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

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.

 

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.