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Money Management

The Best Budget to Keep You From Living Paycheck to Paycheck

I have tried many budgets to try to get me to stick to one without much luck. I always made excuses to where the money for a purchase would come from, like I worked some overtime this week so I can afford this. Wrong!! Yea I could buy it but I could make better use of my money.

I then discovered the Zero Based Budget, and my life changed forever. Not really, but it did change my opinion on budgeting. A Zero Based Budget is basically assigning all of your income to a category to make the remaining amount equal zero. What I do is just make a base income, which would be the minimum I would take home a month not including overtime because that’s never guaranteed. So here’s my sample budget:

Zero Based Budget

Each category I based to projected portion on past months and made it the highest possible number it could be without being overtly wrong. As the month goes by on a separate sheet you just jot down the expenses that go into variable categories like entertainment or eating out. Always remember to plan for special occasions for instance, if you’re going to a birthday dinner or something, be sure to adjust your budget accordingly.

At the end of the month all you do is add everything up and then all of the extra money can go towards your financial goals/savings. I think this helps because you can actually see where your money is going vs. where you think its going. Also, because you get to see the savings you made at the end of the month by watching your money.

Do you have any budgeting tips that work for you?

 

Money Management

The Importance of Payday Loans

Many people often show an aversion towards loans that are not properly warranted. For these people, any form of debt is often bad debt. The truth however can be wildly different; loans or debt are bad when you don’t use them properly and you are not able to pay off the loaned amount in time. However, if you can take care of these concerns, you can actually be confident that the loan is good especially if it betters your situation in the way you envisioned the loan would help you.

Enter payday loans! The importance of payday loans lies in the fact that it is one of the most readily accessible types of loans out there. True, the short-term nature of payday loans lends itself highly to risks like higher interest rates but this does not negate how this loan type can be tremendously helpful for many people.

In times of emergency, payday loans can provide the quickest access to money needed to help you survive a rough period. If you’re expecting an income that is delayed, payday loans can help cover your expenses for a few days until the money arrives. If there’s a school project for the kids that needs immediate funding, payday loans can be the most important lifeline that you have to make sure the kids get what they need. There are so many scenarios that lend value to the importance of payday loans, none more so than the fact that you can use it for medical emergencies and the likes.

All this can be traced to the fact that payday loans require little documentation to support and are generally payable within two weeks or so after the loan is secured. In essence, you don’t have to think about it for extended periods thereafter. It’s really a short-term infusion of cash meant to help you move along until you are in a much better financial situation. When used properly, as already discussed, it’s more than just a life saver. It’s something that can help better your life on days when you feel you are really at a low point financially.

Think of finding payday loan lenders and getting payday loans the next time you are hard on cash. It might just be the option you need to continue taking care of the importance things while the payday is still some days away.

Money Management

The Financial Issues of Legal Trouble

At some point, anyone may find themselves on the wrong side of the law and need some help getting out of jail. One option is to employ the help of a professional bond company like as Expert Bail. Regardless of the charges brought against you, there are several ways to respond calmly, intelligently, and in an honest and efficient way.

What is a Bail Bond and How Do They Work?

A bail bond is essentially a document that is presented to the court promising that a defendant in custody will appear at all necessary court hearings for the charge levied against him or her. If the defendant does not show up, he or she is said to have “jumped bail” and doing so can have even more serious consequences, including the issue of a “bench warrant” for the arrest of the defendant in question.

Following the arrest of the defendant, the local court normally establishes a bail cost. The cost of bail can depend on several factors, including the severity of the crime and whether the defendant is a repeat offender or if is their first offense. Many states have a bail schedule that sets forth the cost of bail for various offenses, though the judge is usually free to set a different amount.

Once the amount of bail is set, someone must contact a bail bondsman. This is usually a family member or close friend of the defendant, but can also be the defendant himself or herself. A family member or friend who contacts a bail agent is fills out all of the appropriate paperwork and pays a percentage of the bail cost.

In effect, this friend or family member is guaranteeing that they will pay the full cost of the bail if the defendant fails to appear in court as ordered and is often referred to as the guarantor or the indemnitor.

Usually, the bail agent will ask for some form of collateral to further guarantee the bond process. This collateral is always something of value, such as cash, a car or jewelry.

After the paperwork has been filled out, it usually takes less than an hour to be released. This can vary from state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction however and may take between 30 minutes and 48 hours depending on local processes and rules.

How Much Are We Talking Here?

The exact amount a bail agent will charge depends on several factors. One of the main deciding factors is the cost of the bail itself set by the judge. In general, the more serious the offense, the higher the bail.

Bail agents normally charge a percentage of the total bail cost. Often, this is 10% of the total bail cost. The percentage of the bail is usually restricted by law. Bail bonds can normally be paid for with cash or credit card, though some bail agents also take checks or even PayPal.

Upon resolution of the defendant’s case and full payment of the bond, the collateral put up by the guarantor is returned to the guarantor.

Money Management

Don’t Make Payday Loans a Scapegoat

Payday loans are the fastest way to get cash before your payday and the best way to get financially ruined in no time. People often forget that any money borrowed from a payday lender will generate high interest rates that summed up to an already existent debt, make payday loans a heavy load to pay off.

If you are already trapped in a debt circle resulting from credit cards, mortgages or another type of loans, you do not really need to add a payday loan to this circle, but find suitable alternatives for your imminent money need. There are at least four alternatives to a payday loan that might be the answer to you are looking for, so simply analyze them and decide yourself which is the best in your particular case.

Negotiating

The most viable way is talking to your creditors and asks the possibility to extend your due date. Okay, you need money, not refinancing or similar thing, but this way you can take the money that you reserve to repay your debt, assuming that you have this money available in a savings account or somewhere at home. There are two possibilities here; on the one hand that you really need the payday loan to repay other debt. In this case, a creditor can extend the due date without reporting to the bureau or charging a penalty for late payments, thus removing the need to get cash advance. On the other hand, you might have never thought to put aside any money to repay your debt, living on a paycheck to paycheck basis.

Credit Cards

However there is a second alternative here, as long as you need the money to buy something or that your credit card grants you access to cash advance. Yes, using your credit card to pay for items is cheaper that borrowing money from a payday loan. However getting a cash advance from a credit card (when allowed) is costly than paying for goods at the time of purchase, although both of these solutions into one financial instrumental will always be cheaper than a payday loan, and some banks give a few days grace period to repay cash advances before interest rates apply.

Family or Friends

The third alternative to payday loans is not always suitable and not always impossible; which is to borrow money from a family member, friend or even your neighbor. Perhaps this last thing will only give you nothing more than a few bucks, but sometimes a few bucks can make a difference. However family members or friends may have your money solutions in their hands and it is about daring to ask them. The main advantage is that they may lend with no interest rates, but there is a risk factor involved here. Money is often responsible for broken relationships, so if you are unsure of your financial capability to repay their money in a timely manner, you will do better select another alternative. Be honest about your financial situation when talking to them and never promise without having the certainty on what you are saying.

Reevaluate Expenses

Perhaps the fourth alternative is the best of all of these; cut down on your bills. Depending on how much money you need, you can cut out some services that you do not need, or you can delay the payment without being reported to bureau if your delay does not exceed past 30 days. If you cannot live without paying your carrier the extra module that enables you to text your friends beyond the limit of you cell phone plan, for instance, then try to cut out the amount of beers that you drink. Tighten your belt for a month or two will not hurt and can give you the extra cash that you need, or can be an “extra” income if you keep reducing expenses consistently.

There are several other alternatives to payday loans, but these are some of the easiest solutions that you can find.

Author Bio: Noel Finlay works for FastCash.org a company that provides information on quick loans. 

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