Month : February 2017

Money Management

Make Sure You’re Getting The Best Of Deals

Many people are in debt today, and feel like that they will never be free of it. But you can gradually work yourself out of it, by following the simple principle that you should live within your means. 

One of the best ways to keep your expenditure down is to keep on track of how much all those essentials in life are costing you. If you budget sensibly across the board, you’ll find that you spend less each month and you may one day be out of debt and even able to start putting money aside into savings. 

So, for instance, look at your food shopping. Think about how and where you shop and decide whether you need to change to a different supermarket, which offers more competitively priced goods. And cooking meals from scratch will save you money in the long run compared with buying ready-made meals to heat up when you get home. It has the added advantage of being better for your health too. 

Then there are the utilities that everyone has to have. It really does pay to shop around to make sure you are getting the best possible deal. Although it may seem like a bit of a hassle to switch providers of utilities, you may end up saving a significant amount of money over the course of a year. 

Similarly insurance rates can be lower with a different insurer. Whether you’re looking for a car or home insurance quote, or insurance for your pet, you should take the time to get at least three different quotes so you can see what deals are out there. 

And if the quotes you get are still high, look at combining buildings insurance quotes with contents insurance from the same people – this will usually result in a discount on your policy. If you have car insurance and pet insurance, it can be advantageous to put those with the same insurer too. 

There are savings to be made on every aspect of life – it just requires a little dogged research to find the best possible deals on all fronts.

Money Management

This is Why You’re Broke: 6 Mistakes People Make when Investing

Do you feel like you are always broke? Well, it’s probably because you are. Most people today make mistakes with their money, from saving to investing and everything in between. Are you making these common money mistakes?

Making Irrational, Crazy Investments

Investments

Image via Flickr by San Sharma

Have you ever heard about someone making what sounded like a crazy investment, and having it pay off? Of course you have. These stories go around and around. Unfortunately, it’s in our nature to think that because it happened to someone else, it will happen for us, too. Deciding to throw most or all of your money in a crazy investment scheme is, well, crazy. It may pay off, but more than likely it will leave you broke.

Being Too Scared to Invest

Do you feel like, because you don’t have $20,000 sitting around, you aren’t good enough? This is a scared mentality that you need to get over. You don’t need to be rich to invest. The earlier you invest, the more you will have in the long run. Even if you only have a small amount, invest it. What do you have to lose?

Who Needs to Listen to the Experts?

Experts have that title for a reason. It’s generally fair to say that they know something about the subject they are an expert in. Consider Kenneth L. Fisher, he is the CEO of Fisher Investments, and on the Forbes 400 Richest Americans list. He has written multiple financial books that can help you invest well and save money. However, if you ignore his advice and others in the industry, you are likely to make some major mistakes.

Related post: Claiming Mis-Sold Investments – Mis-Sold Investment claims.

Do You Have an Emergency Fund?

Your investments are not your emergency fund. Too many people consider their 401k or other investment money that they can tap into in the case of a financial emergency. However, it’s important to have a separate emergency fund that can cover your bills for a few months if something goes wrong. Not having a fund for emergencies is one of the biggest mistakes people make with their money.

Not Budgeting Your Money

Do you know where your money goes each month? Most people today only have a vague idea of what their bills are, and where their money goes. Keep a budget and receipts so that you know where your money goes. This can help you understand what you are doing with your money. This is crucial if you are finding yourself in a tight spot each month. Put together a budget and stick to it.

Not Taking Full Advantage of 401k Matching

If your company does 401k matching, make sure you invest as much as the company matches. This will literally double the amount that you are investing. Though this may seem like you are taking more money out of your paycheck, it is better to think of it as investing in your future.

Everyone makes mistakes. When it comes to your money, it’s important to pinpoint the problems, and fix them as quickly as possible.

Home Ownership

Savvy Ways to Manage Your Mortgage

A mortgage is an excellent way to invest for your retirement. But, up until the point that the term ends and you have paid off what you owe, there are times where it can be an economic struggle. You need to make sure that you are managing your debt in a more robust way. This ensures that you don’t face financial hardship during the term of your mortgage.

For many, getting to grips with their mortgage can be a positive thing. It allows a greater degree of financial control. For others, just having a basic grasp on their monthly outgoings can restore peace of mind.

Here are some savvy ways that you can ensure that you are managing your mortgage.

Mortgage

Image has been provided by 401 (K) via Flickr

Planning Your Income and Expenditure

There are some great ways that you can take the helm of your finances once again. One of the best ways to keep on top of your cash is to make sure that you compile an effective monthly budget. Planning is important when it comes to financial matters. This means that you can have a tighter control over your incomings and outgoings.

Plan for all eventualities as well as what you actually spend on your day to day living expenses. Include bills, utilities and petrol. Council tax can be subject to increases too, so doing be aware of this when you are budgeting.

Try to keep a list of what you spend and where it goes each month. An easy way to do this is in the form of a spreadsheet. This way you can quickly retrieve the data and add up the information as you go along. Use an online budget calculator to help you if you get stuck.

If your mortgage is likely to go up soon as a result of the end of a fixed term, you may want to assess your income and expenditure to ensure that you are not faced with monetary problems.

Getting the Best Deal on Your Mortgage

Many people believe that they don’t have to check their mortgage rates during the loan term. But, it’s vital that you do if you want to become the master of money management. Always check what you are paying. Do you need to reassess your finances? If your current mortgage deal is coming to an end, it’s time to start finding out what your options are. If you are concerned about the value of your property and your mortgage deal find out more about an instant quote for surveyor services. Many people fall into the trap of going for the lowest possible interest rates. This can be dangerous territory for many. You need to make sure that you consider the ongoing costs and whether you will pay your mortgage off in time. What is more, you should always aim to pay your mortgage off early. This can ensure that you are paying less interest overall, which can see a significant saving in the long term.

Before you commit to any major decisions, you should always check out the competition too. But, do ensure that they don’t charge ‘swap over’ fees. These costs can be rather high and can see you with something of a substantial shortfall.

Money Management

Are You Eating Away At Your Budget?

Managing a budget can be difficult.  Little expenses can quickly get in the way of meeting your financial goals.  One of the biggest and easiest ways to eat away at your budget is by eating out.  It can be difficult to find motivation to cook dinner after a long day at work, but if you really want financial freedom, reduce your spending on this expensive non essential.

Let’s See How it Adds Up

A thousand dollars is simply one hundred $10 purchases.  That sounds like a lot.  However, if you eat out three meals a day at $10 each, you will have spent almost a thousand dollars in just one month.  If you eat at more expensive restaurants or are trying to feed a family, this expensive habit can add up even more quickly.

It’s surprising to see just how quickly it all adds up.  By eating out, you could easily destroy your savings goals and your financial security in just a matter of months.  On the other hand, if you change your eating out habits and start spending less, you could end up with a substantial amount of extra money each month.

Look At Other Options

Everyone needs to eat.  This doesn’t mean that you should stop spending money on food or never enjoy your favorite restaurant.  There are other solutions.  Look at your budget at determine how much you are willing to spend eating out each month.  Set a goal and then stick to it.  This can mean that you will need to make other plans for your meals.

If you know that you will be tried after a long day at work, plan ahead.  This will help you to avoid impulsive trips to the local fast food joint.  Prepare easy to reheat meals on the weekend so that you won’t need to spend hours cooking after work.  Pack your lunch several days a week.  It can work well to get it ready the night before just in case you are running late in the morning.  Stock your cupboards with easy meal options so that you can always find a snack in a hurry.  If you need to go out, find some inexpensive choices at your favorite restaurant.

While there are many ways to find extra money and save, eating at home more often is one of the easiest.  With a few simple changes, you can have several hundred dollars extra each month to devote to your financial goals.

Money Management

Five Money Saving Tips for the 21st Century

We’ve all heard how important it is to build up personal savings, but so few people actually have any type of substantial savings.  If saving money is as easy as most financial experts purport it be, why aren’t more people successful at doing so?  Quite simply, it’s because saving money requires personal discipline.  Practicing personal discipline in the 21st century is incredibly difficult due to our commercialized culture.

Everywhere you look there is an invitation to spend money.  Turn on the television and what do you see?  Commercials galore.  Go to a movie and before the previews start there are commercials.  Some restaurants have even started selling advertising space in their menus.  Our current multimedia and digital age gives the average advertiser far more exposure to the consumer than in decades past.  As consumers we are flooded with marketing, selling us the idea that we need extra things to make us happy – even if we cannot truly afford such things.

The following are five tips that can help anyone break the cycle of spending and begin the habit of saving.

1. Pay yourself first

If you’ve heard this tip before but ignored it, it’s time to start paying attention.  We’ve all seen what happens on payday.  When payday rolls around the first thing most people do is immediately spend.

Bills need to be paid, grocery shopping needs to be done, and recreation needs to be had.  When the paycheck is almost all used up, whatever pathetic amount is left over is sometimes allocated towards savings but there are no guarantees.  More often than not some other unforeseen expense creeps up and drains the leftovers.

It’s time to face an important reality: If you don’t pay yourself first, chances are you won’t do it later.

 

It’s recommended that you put away ten percent of every paycheck.  That might sound like a lot at first but the sooner you start doing it the less impact your budget will feel.  Look for places in your monthly budget/expenses where you can trim some fat to make up the difference of what you’ll lose by allocating ten percent to savings.

If ten percent sounds like a wildly unreasonable amount, start with five percent and work your way up to ten.  If you want to walk on the wild side, try 15 or 20 percent!

2. Put your savings out of sight

Ever heard the saying “Out of sight, out of mind?”  Well that rings especially true with money.  A $20 bill sitting on the kitchen table isn’t going to last very long in any house.  Twenty dollars sitting in an interest bearing savings account could likely survive a whole year if you forgot about it.

One of the tricks to saving money is to stash your savings in a place that makes it difficult to make a withdrawal.  Here are a few ideas for making your savings more elusive:

  • Don’t use your regular bank for a savings account.  If at all possible, use another bank – one out of the way, or even out of state.
  • Set up reoccurring automatic withdrawals from your regular checking account into your savings account.  For example, ask your bank to withdrawal $25 every Friday and deposit it into your savings account.
  • Check with your employer to see if they will allow you to split your direct deposit.  Many employers can take a percentage of your paycheck and deposit it into a different account than your normal checking account.
  • Don’t use a checking account.  You want to make it difficult for yourself to make withdrawals from your savings so it’s important not to have a debit card or paper checks connected to the account.

3. Use less plastic and more paper

Debit and credit cards are ultra convenient.  They make transactions so much easier.  However, sometimes they can cause us to lose track of how much we’ve been spending.  In this era it’s pretty difficult to not use any type of debit or credit card, but there are some expenses where it’s not necessary.

As an experiment, try putting yourself on a cash budget for certain line items in your budget where you’d like to cut back.  One example is food.  It’s very easy to spend a lot of money eating out or grocery shopping.  Set your monthly food budget and at the beginning of the month withdrawal the full amount in cash.

Put the cash in an envelope and put it in a safe place in your house.  For the entire month, only use money from the envelope for food-related purchases.  When the money runs out, that’s it.  No pulling money from elsewhere.  You’ll be amazed at how clever you can be when you absolutely must stick to a budget.

4. Keep the change

Have you ever gone on a change hunt in your home?  Change is lurking in all sorts of interesting places.  That change may seem insignificant, but it quickly adds up.  Make it a practice to regularly spend an hour or so gathering the spare change around the house.  Check under sofa cushions, in the laundry room, in pants pockets and all around.

There are many services that will cash in your change for dollar bills.  Coinstar.com is one of them.  Coinstar has kiosks in many grocery stores where you can simply dump all your change while the machine counts it and spits out a receipt you then redeem at the checkout stand for cash.  Doesn’t get much easier than that.  Take that cash and immediately deposit it into your savings account!

Another tip for saving change is to establish a change/money jar somewhere in your home.  Every time you find spare change or dollar bills, drop them in the jar.  Empty your pockets at the end of every day.  Whatever you do, don’t take money out of the jar and spend it!

5. Ignore unexpected income

We’ve all been blessed with some unexpected income.  It might be some birthday money.  It might be a bonus from work.  It might be a lonely $100 bill you found on your morning jog.  The reality is our first inclination when we come across extra money is to spend it.

Start a new habit and put any new and unexpected income directly into savings.  If you really think about it, it’s money you didn’t expect in the first place so you’ll never miss it when it’s gone!

These are just a few easy (and not so easy) tips to get you started down the path of true financial freedom.  Stop living paycheck to paycheck and embrace the lifestyle of saving.  The peace of mind you get by stacking up savings is worth the temporary sacrifice.

What ways do you use to save money?

photo credit: paul (dex)