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Budgeting Your Money

Here are several step by step ways to plan a budget. Utilizing a budget is among the most effective ways for you to figure out where you stand financially to help you plan for future expenses. A financial budget can assist you to live within your means, get free from personal debt, and also have money available for a new automobile, family vacation, or even a college education.

Setting up and taking advantage of a budget doesn’t have to be complicated. In addition, as soon as you’ve put your budget into place, it makes spending choices simple.

Here’s how to plan your budget, step-by-step:

1. Set goals. Before you begin to plan, it’s important to know what your financial goals are.

  • Do you want to save for a new home?
  • Have you always wanted to travel overseas?
  • Are you thinking about your children’s educational future?

Write down your family’s financial goals and post them where everyone can see them. This will help you all remain focused on reaching your goals rather than giving in to temptations to buy things you don’t need.

2. Determine income. Figure out how much money you currently have coming into your home. It’s hard to establish a budget if you don’t know how much money you have at your disposal. This would include:

  • Employment income for each family member contributing to the budget
  • Interest earned from money markets, savings accounts, or investments
  • Inheritances
  • Any other form of income

3. Figure out your expenses. Write down your family’s expenses. Listing each bill will help you determine how much money you need to earn each month to reach your financial goals.

  • List every bill your family has regardless of how often it’s paid.
  • Group expenses together (insurances, credit cards, etc.) to make them easier to calculate.
  • Include cash for each day, such as money for gas, lunches, tolls or parking.

4. Include savings. Remember to pay yourself! Instead of waiting to determine what money is left after paying the monthly bills, include your savings account as a bill and pay it just as you would any other expense.

5. Subtract expenses from income. Add together all income sources and then add together all expenses. Subtract the expenses from the income, and this will tell you what financial shape your family is in.

6. If your income is greater than your expenses… If you have money left after paying the bills, you may choose to do one of the following:

  • Put additional money in savings.
  • Invest the money with the help of a financial planner.
  • Pay off credit cards or other monthly credit accounts so you can get out of debt.

7. If your expenses are greater than your income… If your expenses are more than your income, you have some decisions to make. They may not be pleasant, but if you want to get out of the avalanche of debt, changes are necessary.

Here are some changes you may want to make:

  • If your home is too large for your family, you may want to downsize into a home with cheaper payments.
  • Do you have, and do you need, more than one vehicle? If two or more cars are necessary, by all means keep them. However, you may be able to buy vehicles that are cheaper to own and maintain. If all the cars aren’t necessary, why not sell the extra ones?
  • Avoid eating out. You may not think eating out is that expensive, but a family of four can easily spend $40 or more each time they eat out. That same amount of money can buy groceries for several meals, instead of just one.
  • Put a hold on credit card spending. Either cut your credit cards up or put them in a plastic bag filled with water. Place the bag in the freezer and leave it there.
  • As you’re able to pay off one credit card, close the account. Then use the money you spent each month on that bill and add it to your payment for the credit card with the next highest interest rate. This process accelerates the elimination of your debt.

It’s possible to create a budget you and your family can live with. By following these step-by-step ways to plan a budget, you’ll be taking a financial step in the right direction. Stick to your budget, and before you know it you can be out of debt and saving for something special!

A Monthly Budget

Using a monthly budget is without doubt one of the best ways to manage your personal finances. In order to follow a budget, however, you need to create one first and sometimes that can be the tricky part. If you are ready to create a budget and follow it to help you manage your finances, the following article can help. Read the following tips and create a budget that actually works for you.

The first thing you need to do is start by tracking the amount of money you are spending. It is very important write down, or record, every single cent you are spending. For example, if you buy a soda pop from the vending machine, record it. Each purchase, large or small, needs to be written down and accounted for. There are many methods for you to do this. You can either carry a notebook around with you, find an app on your smart phone, or tally receipts at the end of the day.

Once you have tracked your spending for a number of weeks, you need to start looking over it. Start to categorize the money you are spending in a way that makes sense to you. For example, you might choose groceries, eating out, household bills, vehicle expenses in addition to anything else that makes sense in your thoughts. Remember expenses that you pay out a couple of times a year, and also things like clothing in addition to oil changes that you don’t purchase on a regular basis.

Now that you have your spending categorized, you can dig deeper into your spending patterns. Is there anything you are spending too much money on? Do you need to cut spending in an area or two? When you have a clear picture of what you are spending, you can sit down and start to make your budget. Make a category for all the important spending in your life. It is important that your budget is realistic, though. For example, if you saw that you spent $700 on groceries for a month, do not make your budget $300. If you write down amounts that are too low, you will not be able to follow your budget and it will not work.

When your budget is created and you have decided how much money you will spend in each category, it is important that you follow through. One way to make sure you do not “cheat” is to have some “cheat” money in your budget. Give yourself an allowance, a small amount of money to play with. This will help you follow your budget and not take money out of other areas so you have money to buy random things.

Setting up a monthly budget and following it is a great way to manage your finances. When you are on top of your personal spending, it can make your life a lot more stress-free, at least as far as money is concerned. Make use of the tips shared in this article and you will be on your way to a happy and healthy spending style.

5 Things You Need to Learn Regarding Debt

Today most people are researching ways to help reduce debt and save money. You can actually eliminate your existing debt and learn how you can live your life within your means.

Listed below are five tips that will assist you on your way to debt free living:

1.Stop using credit cards. One of the leading factors in the current economic crisis is people buying things on credit they cannot afford. The next thing they know, they find themselves unable to do anything more than make minimum monthly payments.

  • Minimum payments will keep you in debt because every month interest continues to accrue on your original balance. A $1,000 balance on a typical credit card can take 22 years to pay off if you make only the minimum monthly payments!
  • Don’t fall into the trap of credit card debt. Instead, avoid the hassle and expense by paying cash for the things you buy. If you want a big-ticket item, save the cash before you make the purchase. Only buy when you can afford to pay for the item in full before you bring it home.

2.Buy luxury items with cash. We all have extras and luxuries we want, but using credit to get them is a dangerous path to take. You’ll get much greater enjoyment from the extras in your life when you pay cash, rather than ongoing monthly payments.

  • Nothing takes the excitement out of a new toy or nice vacation more than the large payments that strain your budget month after month.

3.Create a realistic budget that includes debt repayment. The first step in gaining control over your debt is creating a workable budget. Rather than stifling you, a budget can bring you freedom! You’ll know where your money goes and you’ll set a spending plan so you can continue buying the most important things in your life.

  • Your budget should take into consideration all facets of your lifestyle, including housing, food and household items, utilities, savings, recreation and debt repayment.
  • If your budget doesn’t include room for debt repayment, there will never be enough money to pay off your debt. Take control of your financial reality by working with a realistic budget every month. Before long, you’ll see your debt diminishing while your savings grow.

4.Seek the help of a professional credit counselor, accountant or financial planner. The best way to be sure you’re making sound financial decisions is to seek out the help of a financial professional.

  • Credit counselors, financial planners and accountants are experts in the areas of savings, debt repayment, investments and tax deductions. Implement each of these areas into your finances to eliminate financial strain and secure a stable financial future.

5. Negotiate better rates with the banks or credit card companies. Many people assume they have no choice but to accept the interest and finance rates offered by their banks and credit card companies, but that isn’t always the case!

  • Talk to the people at your financial institutions. You may be surprised at how willing they are to budge.
  • If your credit is in good shape or you’ve made steady, progressive strides to improve it, you may be able to get lower interest rates on your debts.
  • You might also receive higher interest rates on your savings, giving you a double shot at eliminating your debt entirely and moving forward with your finances in a positive direction.

You can actually fix your debt problems and learn to stop creating them in the foreseeable future. These five tips will help you out and get you started on a new path to financial freedom and prosperity!

How to Budget My Money

How to budget my money is a topic that we know many people are trying to discover more about, and it is not always simple to do. Many otherwise excellent personal finance resources include this sage piece of advice: Stick to a budget. That’s very well and good, but without a little more detail, you may find this suggestion difficult or impossible to follow. Below, you’ll find some more detailed budgeting tips that can make it a lot easier to keep your budget realistic and stick with it. Better money-management skills are just a quick read away!

First of all, dedicate yourself to tracking your expenses and your income closely. This is something that most people do in the early stages of budgeting, when they’re trying to build their first budget. It’s important to stick with this process, though! Taking the time to monitor the movement of your money is the only way to really know how well your budget is working.

In the long term, you need to do a fair bit of budget maintenance. A budget is not something that gets chiseled in stone when you first put it together; it’s reasonable to exercise a little bit of flexibility in your budgeting. Sitting down to look at how your budget matches your actual expenditures and income every month or two will help you fine-tune both your budget and your spending habits.

Although flexibility is important, so is dedication. While unexpected expenses are, obviously, impossible to budget for, some budget-busting items are less surprising. Keep in mind that you’ll need to go beyond your everyday spending to take care of seasonal events like holidays and vacations. Advanced preparation will help here; you can save a little bit every month to help you prepare for these foreseeable financial burdens.

One thing that may help you stay focused on your budget is to give it a larger purpose. Many people have long-term financial goals, and your budget can be tailored to help you meet them. If you’re saving for a major purchase (e.g. a down payment on a house) or an important goal (like eliminating your credit card debt), make your month-to-month budget reflect your priorities.

When your budget includes these sorts of major financial projects, be sure to take notice when you reach your goals. Your budget will need to be adjusted once you’re not saving for a big-ticket expense or paying off a big debt, of course. Don’t forget to reward yourself for your accomplishment, though! Before you realign your budget, take a little bit of your new surplus cash and treat yourself.

Patience is really the key to managing your money wisely and improving your financial situation. A budget can help you cultivate financial patience. By focusing your financial attention on the long term, you’ll be able to make wiser choices with your money. You’ll have your long-term goals in mind when you’re tempted to splurge. Stick with your budget and you’ll reach those goals sooner than you think!

Ideally, you’ve picked up a trick or two here that will make it easier to set and stick to a good budget. Although there are a lot of little skills that contribute to how to budget my money, being able to budget is one of the most crucial ones. With a little practice (and a little wise advice), you’ll get the hang of it in no time. Good luck with your next budget! 

SELF-REFLECTION QUESTIONS

1. How much do I spend every month?
2. What are my variable and non-essential charges? How can I reduce these?
3. What level of income do I need in order to earn more than I spend?

ACTION TIPS

1. Write down your income and expenses on a notepad or use a spreadsheet. Financial software, like Quicken, can be helpful in creating your budget.
2. Come up with as close a figure as possible for your variable expenses like groceries or entertainment.
3. Trim your variable and non-essential expenses until you’re spending less than you make.