Every guide to keeping your finances in order will tell you how important it is to budget, but they usually don’t tell you exactly how to do so. It isn’t always as simple as recording your incomings and outgoings, and there is plenty of discipline involved in sticking to it. To help you budget more efficiently, and leave you some money left over at the end of each month, we have four essential budgeting tips that everyone should know.
Don’t Spend More Than You Make
This is a very obvious statement to make when talking about budgeting. However, the number of people who do not keep within their means is surprising. If you overspend, you won’t have money towards the end of the month, which means you will have to find cash from somewhere. This could be from your own savings or, most likely, you will have to borrow the money from somewhere, which means debt. Make an accurate list of what comes in and what goes out so that you are aware of how much money you have.
Use Software or An App
Apps and software make the whole process of budgeting easier. No one is saying that it is an exciting thing to do and, if anything, it can make you more aware of how little money you have to play with. However, by using an app, most of the boring part is taken out of your hands because each purchase will be recorded as and when you spend your money. This is an easy and convenient way to keep track of your finances so make sure you take advantage of it.
Have a Goal in Mind
Having a budgeting goal in mind will make it easier to stick to. Maybe you want to purchase something, or you want to have money available for monthly bills and repayments. If you’ve been struggling to do so before, once you start budgeting effectively and you meet these needs, you will gain a sense of achievement. Student loan repayments are an example where you can budget so that you meet your monthly commitment and still have money left for yourself. Think about refinancing your loan with a private lender if you’re struggling to make the repayments. They may be able to give you better terms, which will lower your monthly expenses and improve your budgeting.
Budget For Fun
Budgeting is rarely fun, but you can make it easier though by setting goals for yourself and seeing it as a game. Use all the available tools to make sure you stick to your budget and think about trying to save a bit more than you have initially budgeted for. Ideas like a four bank system might excite you in terms or variety and strategy with your money. You will find that this will incentivize you to try and find bargains, not make those unnecessary and expensive extra purchases, and give a sense of purpose to your budgeting. Set yourself a certain amount of money that you want to make last as long as possible and see how far you can make it stretch.
We are all guilty of spending money on things we don’t need. Although sometimes it is worthwhile to pay for the convenience, there are some things you shouldn’t pay for. Here are ten items that are costing you extra money.
10 Things You Shouldn’t Pay For
Bottled water is one of the biggest wastes of money people have bought into. Each year Americans spend an estimated $100 billion on bottled water. Not only does it produce tons of waste and pollute the environment, but several quality tests show that it is just as safe as the tap water from your sink. America has some of the cleanest potable water in the world. So, save yourself a ton of cash and use a refillable water bottle instead.
Books are another item you shouldn’t pay for. New books cost anywhere from $10 to $20 depending on whether you get the paperback or hard cover copy. Instead of buying new ones, I browse these free online resources or visit my library when I’m looking for new reading material. Some of my favorite novels have come to me from book exchanges with friends as well. There are endless ways to access free books. So, unless it’s a must-have in your library, you don’t need to spend extra money to find good books.
3. Mobile Apps
At one time or another, most of us have paid for downloadable apps. Most of my paid apps only cost a few bucks a month. However, once I found the free alternatives, I canceled this unnecessary expense. By avoiding these microtransactions, particularly in-game purchases, I saved money every month. It can be hard to resist spending a dollar or two here and there. But, simply remove your credit card information to also remove the temptation.
4. Cable TV
Cable TV is no longer considered a necessary expense. In fact, many would say it is becoming more obsolete as we get more online streaming options. Services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and YouTube have largely replaced cable TV. With bundled services and customized packages, you only pay for the shows you want to watch. So, you shouldn’t pay extra when you have better and cheaper options available.
5. Late Fees
Late fees are another expense you can completely avoid. With the ability to automate payments and set reminders, there is no reason you should incur late fees if you have the funds. You can schedule and manage alerts from your credit card, bank accounts, and monthly bills right from your phone. However, if you do overlook a payment and receive a late fee, most companies will waive the fee as a courtesy if it is only a one-time mistake. However, if you have a history of late payments or cannot pay the full amount, call the company and arrange a payment plan to avoid additional fees in the future.
6. Banking Fees
You shouldn’t have to pay to access your money. Therefore, banking fees are among the things you shouldn’t pay for. If your bank charges high ATM, maintenance, or overdraft fees, you may want to consider changing banks. However, you can easily avoid these pesky fees by using your bank’s ATMs and setting alerts on your accounts to notify you when balances are low. Mobile apps like Mint can also help keep track of your finances and offer free ways to help you better manage your money.
7. Credit Reports
Although you likely have seen several advertisements for paid services, you should never pay for your credit report. Simply go online and request your free ones at creditreport.com or ask your bank for your FICO score. There is no need to spend money on something that the law entitles you to. Every citizen can receive a free copy of their credit report from all three reporting bureaus every year. I prefer to stagger my requests to receive one every four months to better monitor my personal finances. Regular checks ensure that my information is safe and that there is no fraudulent activity with my accounts.
8. Newspapers and Magazines
With news available through TV, radio, satellite, and online, there is no need to spend money on newspapers or magazines. You’re also more likely to receive up-to-the-minute information through these sources since print media can’t keep up with breaking news. However, if you still want to find copies of your favorite periodicals, visit your local library or digital copies online.
9. Extended Warranties
Whenever you make a large purchase, the salesman will always offer to sell you an extended warranty from the manufacturer. Although you might be tempted to buy in, remember these companies only exist to generate profit. They exist to bring in more than they pay out. Furthermore, the extended warranty usually provides poor coverage that reduces payouts through the fine print. And, you will still have to pay deductibles as well. Unless there are higher probabilities of your purchases needing repairs, extended warranties are usually just another waste of money.
10. Car Leases
If you want to drive a new vehicle but can’t afford the price tag, car leases can be very attractive. It may seem like a good deal if they offer low monthly payments, but it will actually cost you more in the long run. Unless you decide to buy it once the lease is up, you must return the car with no benefits of ownership. Moreover, dealerships limit your annual mileage and ability to customize your car. However, you will still be on the hook for any damage and repairs to the vehicle. Leasing a car gives you all the responsibility of owning a vehicle with none of the benefits.
Tracking your finances is crucial to your long-term goals. So, it is important to review your spending on a regular basis and adjust your budget. So, if you are looking for ways to save money, cutting out these unnecessary expenses could save you significant chunk of change each month.
Business is all about branding these days, whether you are a fashion brand or a sports brand. A branding approach makes you recognizable so that fans and customers can connect and relate with you. When it comes to the branding of your business, you always need a winning mix of strategies.
Budgeting is a great way to managing your finances. It takes a significant amount of discipline and time to use a budget effectively. Budgeting has several benefits, including limiting the amount of times that you overspend on goods and services. Continue reading →
Getting a mortgage is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting yet nerve-wracking moments in life. If it’s your first time to buy a house, you may be confused about choosing the best mortgage. Finding the best mortgage can ruin the excitement of buying a home.
For those of us looking to earn a little extra cash on the side, driving for an app-powered taxi service like Uber or Lyft holds a certain appeal. If you have the ability to drive, after all, then why not make the most from it? But is this particular side-hustle worthwhile? Let’s find out!
What should I know before becoming a driver?
As a driver, you will be dependent on good reviews from your clientele. That means you’ll need to have emotional intelligence. This needn’t mean being extroverted; some clients will appreciate a driver who knows when to keep quiet. But it will mean that you need to be professional and courteous.
We should also consider the flexibility (or lack of it) inherent in jobs of this sort. While it’s possible to earn money while still adhering to your own schedule, certain times of day yield the highest prices. These are rush hours in the week, and social hours at the weekends. If you’re in 9-5 and you’d like to maintain a social life, then perhaps this isn’t the hustle for you.
Moreover, for all the advantages of being a driver, you’re never going to get the independence that comes with really being your own boss. The companies are hiring you as an independent contractor, which means that they set the prices and the terms.
What should my budget be?
Your budget will need to take into account several expenses, some of which might not be immediately obvious. You’ll need to pay for cleaning supplies to keep the interior looking fresh. That means if someone dirties up the back seat, you’ll need to clean it up (though they will still be charged). Wear and tear on the exterior will also be more strenuous than if you’d just used the vehicle for personal purposes, which means more frequent washes and waxes, more frequent tyre replacements, and more expensive repairs.
Your insurance premiums will rise if you use your car for this purpose. Moreover, the money you earn will be taxed – which might make life unduly complicated if you’re only earning a little bit from your side-hustle.
What about Uber X or UberXL?
Uber’s higher-capacity services are attractive to drivers, as they allow for higher fares – provided that there is enough demand for a high-capacity vehicle. For large events with many big groups attending, a more capacious vehicle, like a Mercedes Benz M8 from Cab Direct, can pay for itself. The only problems occur when clients order a smaller vehicle and then attempt to cram more into it than is legally allowed. This isn’t such an issue for UberXL drivers, who can simply have the ride upgraded afterwards without getting into an argument.
Now that Easter has passed, it is time for us to move on to the next holiday. That holiday is Mother’s Day. Each year, people spend over $20 billion on Mother’s Day. Whether it is flowers, a visit, a warm meal, or something else. Here are a few ideas to keep Mother’s Day from becoming overwhelmingly expensive.
Weddings have consistently become more expensive in recent years. With flowers, invitations, food, and many other things being a necessity nowadays, costs for a once in a lifetime event have skyrocketed.
Drive instead of fly. Flying can be very expensive depending on the location of the trip. Pick a closer location and carpool instead. The bachelor party we planned was just over seven hours away from where three of us were located. We could have each flown, but that would have come with a $300 price tag per person. By driving and splitting gas, we will spend about $200 total.
Bachelor Party on a Budget: Tip #2
Purchase supplies ahead of time. A good plan is often times the key to saving money. By purchasing supplies before the trip, you can plan out your purchases and get everyone on board to split the costs.
For example, buying food at a grocery store before you get into town means you don’t have to scramble at the last minute for food. The same goes for purchasing party favors and alcohol. We purchased our alcohol and breakfast food ahead of time. I estimate we saved about $20 per person by doing so.
Bachelor Party on a Budget: Tip #3
Find fun activities that don’t cost a lot. Although bachelor and bachelorette parties tend to be a destination trip, the activities you do at the destination don’t have to be expensive.
For the recent bachelor party I planned, we spent a night grilling out instead of going out to eat. We had a good time, and we spent a lot less than if we had decided to go to a restaurant.
When it comes to a city all are visiting on a trip, there are bound to be a number of museums, mountains to hike or other free activities you partake in. Not every event has to cost money.
Bachelor and bachelorette parties are meant to be one last celebration of an individual’s friends. It’s easy to get caught up in expecting something lavish or expensive, but most times all that friend wants is to spend quality time with the people in their life they cherish most.
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You do not have to let cost stop you and your family from enjoying a vacation. It is possible to have a great family vacation on a budget. There are several ways that you can cut your travel expenses without cutting back on fun and adventure. Here’s how:
Rent an RV
If you and your family travel frequently, then renting an RV can potentially help you save thousands of dollars per year. Your RV is your home on wheels, so you will not have to get a hotel room. For less than the cost of comparable accommodation, you can opt for a stay at an RV resort in San Diego or other in-demand destination cities. This lets you and your loved ones enjoy the perks of a standard hotel resort without the high cost. Furthermore, an RV also comes with a kitchen, so you can cook meals instead of eating out. Traveling in your rented RV is also likely to cost less than getting plane tickets for everyone going on the trip.
Look for Free Things to Do
The entertainment is one of the main things that can make a vacation expensive. One of the keys to having a budget-friendly family vacation is to look for free things to do. Public parks and beaches are examples of places that you can go for free. Most museums are free at certain times. It is a good idea to find out about the free things to do in the area before you go to your destination.
Travel During the Off-Season
Summer is the most popular time of the year for families to travel. The children are out of school, and parents are able to get time off from work. However, this is also the most expensive time of the year to travel. If you can travel during the offseason – fall, winter, or early spring – then you will be able to save a lot of money.
Collect Things Instead of Buying Them
Everyone wants to have souvenirs from their trip. However, you do not have to spend money on souvenirs. You can collect things instead of buying them. For example, you can collect seashells at the beach. You can also collect maps from the tourist offices.
Many restaurants and attractions have discounts at various times of the year. You can take advantage of these discounts by using coupons. Groupon is a place where you can find coupon deals. You can also find coupons by directly visiting a company’s website.
Select a Nearby Destination
You do not need to go far to have a good time. There are likely a lot of fun places within a short drive from you. If you choose a close destination, then you can save money on gas. You will also be able to save money on the activities that you do with your family.
Use a Gas Finder App
The amount that you pay for gas will depend on the gas station that you buy it from. Even if you are only able to save a few cents, this can add up. You can use a gas finder app to find the cheapest gas station in your area.
It is possible to travel with your family on a tight budget. You can cut your travel costs by renting an RV. You can also travel during the off-season and select a nearby destination. Looking for free things to do and collecting free items are other ways that you can save money. Additionally, you can use a gas finder app. There are many ways to pull off a budget-friendly vacation, it’s just a question of which ones to choose.
Building wealth can be accomplished by anyone who puts their mind to it. Most of it is based on simple discipline and math. I have already begun to build my wealth, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. Listed below are 3 easy ways to build wealth, from a guy who did it.
Automate Your Savings:
Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t spend what you don’t have”? This is why automating your savings is so important. Contributing to a company 401k plan is an easy way to do this. The money is taken out of your paycheck before you have a chance to spend it. This savings is simply automated. Saving first and spending what remains is how many people achieve wealth.
Invest with Simplicity and Confidence:
Investing one’s savings isn’t rocket science, although some money managers and hedge funds will try and tell you it is. Many companies, such as Vanguard, Fidelity and others offer low-cost mutual funds for the novice investor. You don’t have to worry about picking stocks or making sure you have the right mix of stocks vs. bonds. Pick a mutual fund that you feel most confident in. For example, I invest in a mutual fund that tracks the performance of the S&P 500. Many companies offer them and they are easy to setup.
Have a Long Term Perspective:
The only way wealth can be built in a short period of time is through luck. Don’t rely on luck to build your wealth. Instead, have a long term perspective on it. Building wealth takes time. It’s important that you don’t worry about the stock market when you’re trying to build wealth for the long term. Stocks will go up, and they will go down. They might even lose close to half their value like in the recent recession. With a long term perspective, you stick it out through thick and thin. Most importantly, YOU KEEP INVESTING!
In today’s climate, everyone is looking on how to make a quick buck. The reality is that there is no tried and true way to accomplish this. However, there is a method that stands the test of time to build wealth. By following the 3 easy ways to build wealth, from a guy who did it above: automating your savings, investing simply and confidently, and having a long term perspective, building wealth is not that far-fetched of a goal. Compound interest is a beautiful thing, and when followed correctly, it makes building wealth one of the easier things in life to do.
Budget Smart, Invest Wise
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