Money Management

How to Stick with Your Financial Goals While Travelling

As you progress toward financial security, you will often find that you quickly fall into a routine.  You will learn to be great at managing your money, sticking to your budget and saving.  While it is easy to fall into a routine with your finances, you will find that it can be difficult to keep on top of financial goals when you aren’t in your usual situation.  Going on vacation is an excellent example of a time when your personal finance routine may become a bit disrupted.  Luckily, with a few easy tips, you can learn to master your finances whether at home or touring the country. I’m going on a vacation soon so I’ll be testing out these tips.

Look at Your Budget

Vacations are important.  More important however is staying on top of your financial goals.  Before planning a trip, first look at your budget.  How much can you afford to spend?  It is better to set the budget first and the destination second.  This will ensure that you can afford the trip you are planning to take.  It is better to know where you stand first, so you don’t get your heart set on something you can’t afford.

Plan, Plan, Plan

A great way to save money on a trip is to really take your time during the planning stages.  Make sure you calculate all of your expected expenses, set aside money for unplanned expenses and consider food, gas and other necessities.  You will also want to be really careful with your packing.  It is easy to spend hundreds of dollars more on a vacation just because you forget important items at home.  Having a plan will help you stick to your financial goals while travelling.

Carry Cash

Most people lack self control.  Don’t get carried away on your vacation.  Carry cash and use it to pay all trip related expenses.  This means gas, food and other expenses.  Carrying credit cards while traveling makes it so much easier to splurge on a souvenir you can’t afford or to let loose and spend more than you were planning.  Carrying cash also helps you to avoid expensive withdrawal fees if you can’t find an ATM from your bank nearby.

As you learn to manage your money, you will need to learn how to handle every situation.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that vacations are a time to forget about personal financial goals.  A week of fun can ruin your financial progress if you don’t plan carefully and remember your budget.

What tips do you have to not go bankrupt on vacation?

Money Management

4 Easy Ways to Freshen Up Your Finances

financesEvery so often, you need to go over your finances with the proverbial fine-tooth comb and find places where you can make small adjustments. Everyone’s budget changes over time in response to evolving demands and life events. Simple budget adjustments are prudent and beneficial, resulting in increased money for your savings as well as for spending. Freshening up your finances can be done several times a year and can become part of your overall budget management habits. The following are four ways to start on the path toward increased prosperity.

Sweat the Small Stuff

The smaller “incidental” types of spending you do on a regular basis may have more of an impact than you realize. Small, frequent purchases can add up and take a bite out of your budget. Such purchases can have you scratching your head, thinking “How did I ever spend that much?” Luckily, this area of spending is easy to adjust. First, you must keep track of your incidental spending. Every time you go to the convenience store and spend seven dollars on gum, coffee and a soda, jot it down in a small notebook or use a budget-tracking smartphone app. Seven dollars a day is nearly 200 dollars a month. When you eliminate this kind of unnecessary spending, you will free up some extra cash you can use to invest or put into savings. Another strategy is to budget a specific dollar amount per month to spend on incidentals and not exceed that spending limit. In months, you will have saved so much money!

Donate Your Unused Vehicles

Many people have an older or unused vehicle on their property. Donating a car to charity can bring a nice financial reward in the form of a tax write-off and so can donating a boat. Don’t allow your vehicles to take up space in your garage or yard if you are not planning on using them anytime soon. When you donate to a charity, you can feel good about your assets benefiting those in need. When you decide to donate a vehicle or boat, follow the step-by-step instructions and keep a paper trail of the documents involved for tax purpose.

Tend to Your “Rainy Day” Fund

The old adage of “saving for a rainy day” is still good advice. Saving for an unexpected expense such as a medical bill, a vehicle repair or an emergency trip can ease your mind. Your rainy day fund should also include enough money to cover basic bills for at least two months, in the case you or someone in your household loses their source of income. A good way to start a strong rainy day fund is to set aside a given amount in your monthly budget. Even if you don’t have much extra income to allocate, just 50 dollars a month can build your emergency money collection. Everyone knows “rainy days” do come, especially when you least expect it.

Consider Refinancing Your Home

If you are a homeowner, the process of refinancing may be a wise choice for you. Refinancing is the process of adjusting your debt by adjusting the terms of your loan. The adjustments are based on trends in the economy and other established factors. By refinancing your house, you can possibly save hundreds a month, depending on the specifics of your loan and the housing market in your geographic location. Hire an advisor to help you with the process of refinancing. You can often meet for a free consultation before deciding whether or not to go for it.

Positive saving and spending habits create a sense of financial freedom. When you invest time in reviewing your budget regularly, you can find the areas that quickly benefit from small adjustments. A series of small adjustments over time is what it takes to fine-tune your finances, giving you greater confidence and control over your money. Some families hire a financial expert to assist with this, but most people can successfully bring about change on their own. You may wish to purchase a basic guide to personal finances or read financial advice blogs for further information. 

About the Author: Jolene Michaelson is a personal finance expert and a freelance writer. 

Photo source: http://www.123rf.com/photo_14332543_smiling-young-couple-deployment-of-money-for-bills-at-home.html

Passion

Take A Small Step To Reach Your Passion

What is it that’s keeping you where you are in life? Why is it that you are living paycheck to paycheck? There’s nothing wrong with that life style, if that’s your passion. But if you want more, why don’t you have more?

Maybe you don’t have more because you’re not following your passion. It’s not easy to change your mindset and realize that you can follow your passion.

Look at me, I never thought that I would be able to help people with their financial life because of the way my finances were. But if you want something bad enough, you can overcome those obstacles that are stopping you.

I realized that the experiences and knowledge I gained from my past will help me get people to their dreams as well.

It’s all about taking small steps to reach your passion.

For instance, let’s say your passion is to be a professional golfer, but you don’t have any experience. What would you do?

Well, you could go to golf courses and apply to work in the restaurant or club house. You wouldn’t directly be working with golf, but you’d be surrounded with people that play it.

Maybe you’re working one day and you bring it up to somebody that you want to be a professional golfer. They may say “I know a guy that can help you out and teach you the ropes.”

Now you’re that much closer to becoming a professional golfer.

And this happened because you took a small step towards your passion. You just need to take that first step to surround yourself with your dream.

So don’t look at a job as a way to earn money, look at it as a way to lead you to your passion. If your job is only earning you money, then it’s not a job worth having.

So look at your job now and decide if it is teaching you anything about your passion. If it’s not then look for one that will. Don’t wait till tomorrow because that’s just pushing that small step further away and making it harder to take any steps forward.

Help other people take a small step by Tweeting this post and Facebook Sharing it.

 

So what’s your passion? What small step are you taking today to get you there?

Book Reviews

Should I Buy This Book? Review: Business Lessons For Entrepreneurs

Business Entrepreneurs The longer title for this book is Business Lessons for Entrepreneurs: 35 Things I Learned Before The Age of Thirty. Pretty long title but it’s a pretty good book. It has a lot of great lessons that the author has gone through so it’s a learn from his mistakes kind of book.

The Negative

It’s pretty general as far as the lessons are concerned. You can find them all on the internet if you look around so it’s not really any breakthrough lessons.

The Positive

A lot of lessons that you need to know about in one location. The lessons are grouped together into four sections so if you want to shoot straight to a certain group of lessons you can. I also like that the lessons were a couple of pages long so you can get through many of them without getting bored.

Would I Buy It?

Yea I’d recommend it if you’re just starting/thinking about starting out on your own entrepreneurial journey. They are definitely lessons you need to know.

Buy It

Business Lessons for Entrepreneurs: 35 Things I Learned Before The Age of Thirty

Money Management

Renters Insurance – Answers to 5 Common Questions

Have you ever heard of renter’s insurance? Do you need it? An important part of finding financial freedom is understanding how to best protect your assets. Let’s learn a little more about renter’s insurance so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not you need a policy.

What is renter’s insurance?

For those that own homes, homeowners insurance, usually required when you get a mortgage, covers both the structure of their home and their possessions inside. If you rent you don’t have this protection. Many renters make the mistake of assuming that their belongings are covered under their landlord’s insurance policy. This is not true. Without a renter’s insurance policy you will be left with nothing if your apartment complex burns down or if your possessions are stolen, damaged in a flood or destroyed. In fact if you have visitors and someone gets hurt in your home you can even be responsible for their injuries without a renter’s insurance policy. Whether you rent a house, condo, apartment, townhome or even a room, you should seriously consider renter’s insurance to protect your belongings.

Do I need renter’s insurance?

Many renters assume that the value of their items don’t make a policy worth the investment. This is generally not true. Take a few minutes to write down a list of all of your possessions. How much would it cost you to replace your wardrobe? What about your home theater system? Do you have any jewelry or other high price tag items? Even if you only have the bare necessities you might find that it will cost thousands to replace them. Plus you won’t have to worry about being covered in cases of accidental injury of others while they are in your home.

How much will it cost?

You may think that renter’s insurance will be really expensive, but in most cases it is surprisingly affordable. In fact you can probably find a policy for somewhere between $15 and $30 each month. Your exact premium will vary based on your location, the type of coverage you choose, how much coverage you purchase and your deductable. Don’t decide that it isn’t affordable without first getting a quote. You need to have all the information to make an informed decision.

Are there any ways to save?

Of course you are probably wondering if there are any ways to get your renter’s insurance for less. One of the best ways is to group policies. For example if you have an auto insurance policy already you might want to check and see if they offer renters insurance as well. The more policies you group the more you can save. So if you have auto or life insurance policies with companies that offer group coverage you may end up getting a discount.

What should I know before getting a policy?

It is important to know exactly what you are getting into before you make a purchase. Insurance policies can vary a lot and if you don’t know which questions to ask you might end up getting a policy that won’t protect you in some situations. Here are a few important questions to ask before you sign any policies.

  • What is covered?- Find out exactly what is covered in your home as well as what situations you are covered in. Ask questions like, “Am I covered in a flood, fire, burglary, etc?” to make sure that you are covered in every situation.
  • What will it cost?- Find out your monthly or yearly premium inclusive of any fees. Some companies charge a fee if you want to pay monthly or if you cancel your policy before your contract period ends.
  • What will I pay out of pocket should I need to use my coverage? Find out what you will have to spend for your coverage to kick in.
  • Do you offer any discounts?- They will probably say no, but it never hurts to ask.

Make sure that you compare rates and policies and that you choose a reputable company. When shopping for insurance you don’t want to go with a company that you don’t trust. It is always a good idea to check your potential companies through the Better Business Bureau.

While renter’s insurance might not be right for everyone, it is a good thing to have in most situations. It is a relatively affordable way to protect yourself. Think about it- would you be able to replace everything tomorrow without going into debt? Probably not. Renter’s insurance will help you stick to your financial goals should disaster strike.