Month : February 2015

Financial Freedom

Top online financial tools

Keeping a hand on all your accounts and tracking your money moves can be a daunting task. Personal finance tools can make the job easier. Here are some of the best personal finance tools for managing your finances.

Personal finance tools should be easy to use and feature-rich, helping you to manage multiple accounts, stick to your budget, and giving you a clear picture of your financial health.

MoneySmart

MoneySmart is a free online South African personal finance management platform that helps South Africans to manage their finances to achieve financial success by providing individuals with services, tools, education and products to increase their financial acumen. The platform encourages its users to ‘budget what you earn, save for the goals that you want, aspire to achieve, visualise your future, and invest in yourself’.

MoneySmart ‘reads’ a user’s transactions and categorises them automatically, providing an instant overview of current spending. The platform includes an online community and end-users have access to content from columnists dealing with trends, popular culture and financial empowerment.

Loan repayment calculators

Online loan repayment calculators are a great way to work out how much you can afford to pay off on your personal loans. This tool is particularly helpful when deciding the amount you can best afford to borrow. Cash loans provider Wonga.co.za discloses all their fees upfront on their slider calculator on the wonga website when you apply for a loan.

6cents

South African 6cents provides a quick and easy platform to manage personal finances. If you are looking for a user-friendly online financial tool, 6cents offers a number of features in one place.

22seven

Old Mutual’s 22seven allows you to see all your accounts and transactions in one place. You can link cheque and savings accounts, credit and store cards, investments, loans and rewards. Your transactions are automatically categorised to show you exactly how much you spend and on what. An automatically generated budget helps you spend less on what isn’t important and find more for what is.

MoneyDance

MoneyDance is available for OS X, Windows, and Linux. It is a robust personal finance tool that supports online banking (so you can download transactions from your bank and manage your investments in the application). It can connect to hundreds of financial institutions out of the box, and you can import transactions on your own if you choose. The account register works like a balanced chequebook, and shows you where your money is going. You can also set up payment schedules for recurring transactions so you know when big transactions are about to take place, and track your investments using the investment module.

A free mobile app for iOS devices is available and the Handybank app for Android, for $7, will also connect to MoneyDance. The app is available to try for free, but after entering 100 transactions, you’ll need to pay $50 for a full license. The app is able to handle multiple types of financial transactions with ease and syncs seamlessly with banks even though it works as a desktop app, reminding you to pay bills when they’re due every month.

BudgetSimple

This is a free budgeting and personal finance tool that focuses on creating a budget that works for you. The tool analyses your finances and spits out a budget planner that’s packed with suggestions for where you can save money, trim your spending and increase your savings. It aims to make the process as easy as possible, and promises that an hour with the tool will give you a better understanding of where your money is going. You can enter your expenses manually if you want, or connect it with your bank to auto-link accounts. BudgetSimple is a webapp and completely free, but if you want mobile apps or the option to fully link your bank accounts, you’ll need a $5 per month premium account.

BudgetSimple is praised for its simplicity and its focus on creating a no-nonsense, sustainable, and sensible budget that you can live by. It’s a straightforward tool, and it does a lot of things that many other software options charge for – and the graphs and statistics do a great job of explaining where your money is going.

BudgetPulse

BudgetPulse is free online personal finance software that’s easy to use without sacrificing meaningful budget tools and financial reports. This app is also great for anyone who doesn’t want to enter financial account numbers and passwords to download transactions automatically. You can download transactions yourself from your bank and import them or enter via your keyboard. Savings goals can be made public for fundraising or giving family and friends a chance to chip in toward reaching goals.

Google Chrome Money Management Apps and Extensions

The Chrome Web Store has free and paid money management apps and extensions, which make handling financial tasks from within Chrome very convenient (We suggest checking them out here.)

Money Management

Do You Need To Adjust Your W-4?

Now that we are in a new year, you are probably starting to think about taxes. Now is a great time to look at your financial situation and determine if you need to fill out a new W-4. Basically your W-4 helps your employer figure out how much to withhold from each paycheck. While it is a good idea to evaluate your withholdings on a regular basis, make sure you think about changing your W-4 if you fall into any of the following categories.

Married/Divorced/Had a Child

Generally the amount withheld depends on the number of dependents that you will claim. If you have had changes in your situation since you filled out your form, it might be a good idea to take a second look. Marriages, divorces and children are all great reasons to fill out a new form. Remember that when your children move out and will not be claimed on your taxes any more, you will also have to fill out a new form.

Huge Refund or Money Owed

When you do your taxes you can see if you have enough or too much money being taken out of each check. If you have a huge refund you could get more money each month that you could use to pay off debts or invest and earn interest on. If you owe too much money you can end up paying a tax penalty, so make sure that you are getting enough withheld from every check.

Self Employed

If you have recently become self employed you may also want to redo your W-4. If you are earning money other than your paycheck you will owe taxes on it. If you owe too much you will get that nasty penalty. Make sure that you either pay quarterly taxes on this income or that you have extra money taken out of each check.

If you haven’t thought about your W-4 in the last couple years, it is probably time to fill out a new one. Talk with your employer and get one of these simple forms. It will come with a worksheet that you can fill out that will give you a better idea of your tax situation.

Money Management

My Recent Journey To Getting A Credit Card

Credit Cards, not always the best choice of tools for everyone. But I was in the hunt for one so that I can help raise my credit score and get on on track for a good credit history.

My past isn’t filled with the best credit, but those were my mistakes of the past and I was looking to start anew. I had recently looked over my credit report and noticed a couple of things that I decided to dispute and they were taken off. Because of that, I was able to raise my credit score 50 points. That got me excited about what I could do to get my credit score up.

My plan was to get the credit card and use it for wedding things because money is tight right now and this would help alleviate those issues. Yea, I know credit cards aren’t for your wants but I gave in this time. It’s not something that I’m planning to do indefinitely and I will be paying it off after the wedding. I could have received a payday loan but I didn’t want to go down that path yet.

So yea the credit cards aren’t helping my credit right now because I will be filling them up….but I only got a $300 limit, So it’s not really breaking the bank. But like I said, I’ll be paying it off once the wedding is over. After that time, I’ll be using it for groceries and gas, and then paying it off every month. That will both keep it active and we’ll earn a percentage back, so it’s win-win.

So what did we go for? We went with the Capital One Cash Rewards card. Why? Because they accepted my credit…and it has rewards. This is my first rewards card so I’m pretty happy about that and the fact that it’s cash and not points. I’m more of a cash man myself.

I looked all around to find where I could get it and there’s so many different places to go to. I decided to choose a credit card at Moneyexpert.com to get different cards compared for me. It was pretty simple having it all in front of me and seeing which ones would work for my level of credit (which is pretty low…but rising).

Anyway, I’m happy with my choice and I can wait to get that money. I’m already at $3. Go Me!!

Business

Advantages Associated With Business Administration Courses

The job market is definitely tough at the moment and there are various things that the average person needs to do in order to climb the career ladder. It is now tougher than it ever was. One way to gain an advantage may be to attend business administration courses. This brings in some advantages that you may not know much about.

Everyone is focused on business administration average salary but you do not necessarily need to follow a career in business administration in order to reap in the benefits associated with the classes. What you may not know is that these courses will bring in direct applications when referring to working in successful enterprises.

The students will end up developing strong critical thinking and analytical skills, together with how to communicate better in speaking or writing. Wise business finances management is studied, together with tapping into human resource programs. Graduates are basically better prepared to properly operate in the tough business market.

During your time in business administration tools you will learn about accounting, marketing, human resources, ethics, business leadership, finance and risk management. Every single one of this topic is important for a small and large business owner. We are faced with a highly versatile degree that gets you ready for working in a setting that is filled with competition, which is exactly what you want.

While there are so many sources that are available for information, going to an actual class is definitely different and has to be considered. Use this as a foundation so that you can actually understand the advanced techniques and strategies you find somewhere else.

Free

Did You Know That You Can Get Free Makeup Samples Sent To Your Address By Mail?

It is hard to keep up with fashion since trends keep changing. Makeup products are no different and you will have to adapt to practically everything that you use based on these trends. In the event that you do not actually want to spend money or you cannot afford to spend so much, you can simply go for those that are suitable for you. The problem is that it is hard to determine what is completely compatible with the skin that you have. It is so difficult to choose so people sometimes end up buying many different makeup products before they find something that is perfect. This is a complete waste of money.

An alternative to buying different shades or products is to get samples by mail, an option that many do not know much about. There is this general belief that only reviewers get free makeup samples but that is definitely not the case. Buyers can also receive makeup products because of the fact that there is a huge competition between the cosmetic companies. In an attempt to get you as a client, they will be more than happy to send you some free makeup samples by mail.

The only problem is that not all makeup manufacturers will offer you such an opportunity. It is important that you know who to contact. At the same time, many of the makeup samples are delivered with some strings attached. For instance, you may need to complete a survey after you use them. In this case, the products may not be yet on the market so you will not know what you use.

The really good news is that the internet does offer all the information that you need in order to make a properly informed decision. You can learn about the options that are available and you can be aware of the companies that currently offer free makeup samples shipped to your location. All that you really need to do is find options through internet searches. At the same time, you can become a member of beauty forums since bloggers and others will always share such deals as soon as they see them.

Register for the free makeup samples so that you can save some money and get some great products shipped to your home. There is no disadvantage of taking advantage of such an opportunity.