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Personal Finance

Saving Money at Work

  • CLOTHING . Whatever type of clothes you wear to work – casual, formal, or something in between, you can find them used in great condition for very little money at thrift stores. But one thrift store may not sell everything you need to wear. Also, not every thrift store will have your size. So, visit several of them to buy those clothes.
  • COFFEE, I don’t think any employee can go through the workday without drinking at least one cup of coffee. But, if you are a coffee connoisseur, you probably can’t resist buying your morning cup of Joe from Starbucks. Don’t go to Starbucks every day, or any other coffee shop that competes with Starbucks. The smallest cup of regular coffee there costs roughly $1.50. If your tastes lean towards gourmet you could spend up to $3 more per cup. You could spend between $7.50- $30.00 for one cup of coffee every day per week. That would increase your spending from $375 to $1,500 in one year. So, bring your own large jar or jug of coffee to work. A 48-ounce jug of Folger’s coffee grounds costs about $16.50 at Office Depot. This amounts to about $.03 per cup. Of course, if there is coffee at work, drink it since it’s free.
  • LUNCH
    Restaurant meals are expensive, with few exceptions. On average, restaurants cost $7.00 at the very least. According to the Aug. 29, 2012 issue of Time magazine, business columnist Dan Kadlec states a worker can save $2,500 per year by taking their lunch to work every day. So, bring your own lunch to work so you won’t spend so much money at a restaurant.
  • OFFICE SUPPLIES
    Buy most or all of your office needs at the beginning of the school year. I recommend “school supplies,” because many items used by kids in grade school, high school and college are the same ones you use at work. Paper, pencils, pens, notebooks, sticky notes, calculators and other supplies are drastically marked down for kids who go back to school in the Fall. Megastores like Kmart or Walmart sell plenty of school supplies at very cheap prices. You might also want to make a trip to your local Office Depot or Staples where you can find more office-specific supplies for minimal prices.

Financial Mistakes To Avoid This Holiday Season

Not having a financial plan

If you never utilized a financial plan for your own accounts, then risks are that you are going to fail miserably this season!

What amount would you say you are going to spend? What amount of cash would you say you are going to need? In particular, what are you going to afford? Shopping without a financial plan this Christmas is one of the top mistakes consumers do. Implementing a financial plan is the first thing everybody ought to do when planning on going to shop this Christmas season.

No budget Christmas by any means

If you do budget each month then you most likely are liable of this; not planning for Christmas. We are not perfect, and truly, this is a slip-up that many people do almost every year.

Do not plan for Christmas. Knowing the fact Christmas is coming. You will realize that it will drain you financially, still never do that. The reason behind this is because you will do the following things given below:

Not pay a bill or bills on December to buy Christmas presents.

Shop for Christmas and use a credit card.

It requires some time to understand that if you can budget Christmas in January, You will have the ability to stay away from these mix-ups and have an obligation and stress free Christmas.

Not having a plan

If you don’t take a seat and plan your holidays, you are going to overspend your hard earned cash. Planning your spending, your shopping, even your entire holiday if vital, will offer you some help with saving cash and keep yourself on track this Holiday season.

Do not have unreal expectations

Let’s face this, we do have unrealistic expectations of Christmas; and this transpires each Christmas season. We see the ads, we watch films, we see these expectations of what Christmas “ought to” be or feel like. This is the point at which you have to keep it genuine.

No, you are not going to get a brand new car with a red bow on the top. No, you are not getting a dream vacation package for Christmas. Be reasonable with presents and your expectations, Christmas is not just about presents.

Shopping out of guilt will destroy your finances

Feeling guilty because you couldn’t afford to buy everything your family needed may prompt overspending. Try not to promise your children or family what you can’t afford. You don’t need to buy for somebody because they gave you a gift. If they get mad because you didn’t give back a gift, possibly you have to question your relationship.

Once more, you don’t need to buy presents for everybody if you can’t manage the cost of it. You shouldn’t be made to feel guilty that you didn’t give somebody a gift back because they gave you a gift. If you are willing to shop, then the best way is to rest over it. YES, go to bed.

Financial Advisor Can Help You Stay on Track

  1. Measuring where you are now

You know the expression “you can’t know where you are going, if you don’t know where you have been.” Nothing could hold more truth, in relation to your personal finances.

If you don’t know your key money numbers (your net worth, monthly cash flows and several others), learning how you need to proceed forward in a helpful way is made more difficult.

If these calculations are properly determined they will tell you: what you have now (assets), what you owe now (liabilities) and what you have retained (equity). Further, the money that you earn and spend will be uncovered in detail, which will give you the extended information of what you can save, debt you can either pay-off or your capacity for new debt and serve to indicate if you have the funds to give money away and/or invest.

These questions are not easily answered without a proper look into your personal financial information and then suitable conclusions and decisions made from them.

  1. Establishing your priorities

Prioritizing what you need and want from your money is not always easy.

There needs to be not only the “hard numbers” of your personal money situation but also some thought about your feelings towards money and how you think about it. For example, some of the questions that your advisor should include deal with:

  • What are the most important things in your life?
  • What do you want and expect for yourself and your money?
  • What do certain purchases bring to your life and are they worth it?
  • How best should you manage your time to get the most from it?
  • What money habits do you have that are not good for you?
  • Do you really understand the inner workings of money and how it affects you?
  1. Making suggestions to reach your money goals

Although this could include a variety of methods, it should be one that is:

  • Realistic for your current situation
  • One that honours your future desires and goals
  • Doesn’t impose on who you are and what you are about
  • Doesn’t make demands but rather, works with you to move you forward and build momentum
  • Not a “cookie cutter” approach to your personal finances, that so many advisors promote

Taking Charge Of Earnings

Rarely has any person succeeded without having goals and concomitant plans. Even when one becomes rich by hitting the jackpot, or winning a lottery, proper planning is mandatory if the fortune is to last or benefit him or her for long. Goals and plans give one direction and focus. Knowing what one wants, and taking decisive steps towards that direction, is crucial to achieving financial independence. Whether it is a home you want to build, or an academic certificate you want to acquire, or the financial future of your children you want to secure, you need a plan. The best plans are those that are documented.

The next crucial plan in managing your money is to budget for it. Once you establish your income streams and quantify them, you must create a list of your expenditure items in tandem with what you earn. Many people fail to secure their financial future by spending without budgeting. Impulse buying and unplanned long-term investments will obliterate your income. Living beyond your means hurts your prospects for the future. Once you make a financial expenditure plan, do not allow other unplanned items to encroach into it – unless you are dealing with an emergency.

Finally, you will achieve nothing unless you minimize and eradicate debts. Incurring unnecessary debts is one way of living beyond what you can afford. Any money you borrow today, and which you don’t invest wisely will haunt you in the future. Create a plan to offset all your debts today. Talk to the people you owe and agree on a repayment plan. Set aside a portion of your income to pay your creditors regularly. Most importantly, spend only what you earn; save a part of your income regularly, and invest wisely.

Help You Organize Your Personal Finances

  • Make goals for yourself. Your goal may be to put a certain amount of money aside towards retirement or pay off a certain amount of debt. It’s easy to waste money when you don’t have a plan in mind. Stick to your goals by writing them down and sticking to them every month. Make sure that they are reasonable and attainable. Not only can this monthly habit help you organize your finances, it also can be an incredibly empowering step.
  • Pay off personal debt. If you have debt, and most people do, make paying off loans a top priority. Constant debt can hurt your credit score and keep you from fully enjoying life. You may want to consolidate debt or liquidate current assets to cut down on interest payments. Try to pay off loans as early as possible, even if that means cutting back on your current expenses now.
  • Stop overspending. Many people struggle with impulse buys and paying far too much for things that they don’t need. A good budget can help to avoid this habit, but you may also want to look for additional ways to avoid splurging. Only shop with cash and leave your credit cards at home. Separate accounts also help you keep your money in specific areas so you can’t overspend. Whatever system works for you and keeps you on track financially is the one you should stick with.
  • Change your credit card. If you’re paying for extra fees and expenses, then you need to ditch your card. Rewards cards are a great asset, especially cards for places you shop on a regular basis like grocery or gas company cards. Look at your current card to determine if you’re really getting enough and make a change if necessary.
  • Automate your bill pay. You may be interested in paying all your bills manually every month, and that can be a safer option. However, for many expenses that are fixed such as internet and a car payment, having an automated payment makes your life much simpler. You can link up automatic payments to a separate account to review quickly once a month.
  • Save for a rainy day. Maybe even a few of them! Always put some money aside every month as a financial cushion for when things go wrong. You may need this money for an emergency trip or any unexpected expense. When you have this money put aside, your life is much less stressful.

Save Money on Your Energy Bill

Check Your Tariff

How much you will pay on your energy bill will depend on not just your usage; the energy company tariff you are on pays a large part in what you pay out. It is important to consider the following:

  • Are you on a fixed price tariff? Very popular, the fixed price tariff locks in the price of you gas and electricity until a set time which means that you only pay the unit price you agree at the beginning of the term, regardless of how energy prices rise elsewhere.
  • Have you checked to see if another company will charge you less? Using a comparison site to check what the best deal is will save you a fortune in the long run.
  • Have you opted for paperless billing and duel fuel? There are many discounts available for those who go green and scrap their money bills and statements through the post as there also is for those who chose to have their gas and electricity together with one company.

Reduce Your Usage

You pay for what you use therefore making changes around your home will save you money on your monthly or quarterly bill. Make sure that you switch lights off in rooms where they aren’t being used. Use draught excluders and keyhole covers to keep the cold out and reduce heating loss. Turn the heating down just a degree or so and drop your usage without feeling any real drop in temperature. Don’t leave electrical items on standby either as this uses as much energy as it would if they were fully switched on.

Payroll Loans

Payday payroll loans are typically used when there is not enough cash in the bank to cover money needs until the next paycheck comes around. If households have less debt, it would make sense that the need for fast cash would dwindle as well. There are important factors concerning this assumption. Mainly speaking, the household would have to a financial plan in place, proper budgeting skills as well as control on spending power in order for it to ring true.

Budgeting Skills – When debt numbers decrease, it doesn’t mean that money management can disappear. A budget is still as important in order to keep track of income. It is easy to slide away from accountability of the budget is not continually used for all levels of debt. Be accountable to continue paying off debt rather than upping spending power. A savings account is a great place to help store any excess cash to be used at a later date as needed.

Financial Plan – A budget runs much smoother when there is a plan to follow. Are you focusing on one particular high interest debt at a time in order to pay it off as fast as possible? Are you looking to buy a home or car and are working on increasing your credit potential to earn a low interest loan which will save you lots over the years of on-time payments? Maybe you are looking at increasing the amount in your savings and seeking an opportunity to create a retirement fund as well as maintain an emergency fund. The emergency savings would play a big role in whether or not a payroll cash advance loan will be used or not. Credit cards are often used, but if your finances have not recovered enough the alternative money options may still be the only access to extra cash during an emergency. Use your budget as a tool to monitor progress on any short or long term financial goals.

Spending Power – When there is excess money somewhere within the budget it takes lots of control to not spend it. The urge to get the latest in electronics, fashion or a night out on the town may prove difficult to control. What we think we deserve and what we can afford to treat ourselves with do not always match. Individuals may not even have extra cash, but face the itch of having available credit now that their debt has been lowered. It serves no good purpose to use this credit unless it is to alleviate an emergency cost. If there is no savings, a credit card is a good option as long as the interest is lower. Some credit cards have interest higher than short-term loans. Watch what you spend and have a plan to pay it back in order to keep the most income in your own pocket.

Create a Cash Cushion

As for me, I was on this Level for a long, long time – probably a decade. I always thought there was a better place to put my money “to work.” Your money should be working for you, right? Every three or four months, I would amass a good chunk of my goal. I would see that money in my savings account and say, “I need to invest this money and get a return. It’s just sitting there.” And, I would try and skip this Level. There were years, I thought I was playing at Level VII, but really I was still playing Level III.

In the beginning, I would take that money and put it in some risky stock speculation. I wouldn’t even call it investing because I was watching the stock prices daily and making trading decisions on a daily basis. That is not investing. I would invariably end up losing 20% – 40% and sell the “investment.” Then I’d be down and put the cash back into my savings account. After another three or four months, when I saved up another good chunk of my goal, well, you know what happened next.

So, did I learn my lesson after the first few times? No. Did I learn in the first couple of years? No. Did I learn the importance of having cash set aside for emergencies? No. I’m stubborn. I’m “smart.” I can beat the “system.” And so I continued like that for years.

Another version of this lesson for me was why having extra cash around is so important. There are so many emergencies that can happen that require extra cash. If you don’t have the money sitting in a savings account, then you have to sell something to raise cash. Typically, you’re selling at a very inopportune time. Maybe taxes come up and you owe more than you think. If you don’t have cash, then you have to sell something. What if the economy is going through a recession? Typically the time you lose your job is the same time that the stock market is down 20% or more. That really hurts when you have to sell at a loss to raise cash. It’s almost having a process of “buying high and selling low” in your financial investments “system.” That is not going to increase your net worth over time. That is going to lose you money.

Let me tell you another reason why Level III is so important. Later in the game, we’re going to be investing in real estate and businesses that generate cash flow, but are not considered liquid. That means you can’t sell them easily. It’s going to take time to sell these non-liquid assets. It’s going to be more like selling a house than selling a stock on the stock exchange. These non-liquid assets are where a lot of the power is because of their ability to produce cash flow. We’ll be looking to buy them with the potential of never selling them. We won’t be looking for capital appreciation. We’ll be looking for cash flow. So, if you don’t have the proper reserves in place, and if you haven’t learned this lesson yet, you’re going to get yourself into a lot of trouble. Entire dynasties have been brought down because they didn’t have enough cash in the bank. An opportunity is only an opportunity if you can take advantage of it. Otherwise, it’s just a good idea. For you to be able to take advantage of an opportunity, you’re going to need cash. For you to be able to protect some of your other investments, you’re going to need cash.

It took me over a decade to learn this invaluable lesson. Save, at a minimum, three months of expenses in savings account for emergencies. Your emergency fund is the buffer in your system, the redundancy, that allows all the other systems in your financial structure to work well. It’s the grease, not the gas – but, both are needed in a well-running car to get you where you need to go.

Advantages Of Personal Life Cover

  • Tax Breaks: Most life insurance polices include a tax-free allowance that can be paid in each year. The payout, whether it is in a lump sum or instalments, is tax-free. This is also dependent on the total value of the estate, because it could be counted in the Inland Revenues’ calculations for inheritance tax. However if it is written into trust this can be avoided because it makes the pay out completely separate from the rest of the estate. Not all life insurance policies can be written in to trust, so it is advisable to check this before purchase.
  • Peace Of Mind: This is often considered the biggest benefit of having this type of policy in place. You will be reassured that your funeral costs will be covered and your family will not be left with unpaid debts such as loans or credit card bills and the mortgage or rent.
  • Added Extras: You will have the option to add critical illness and income protection cover to your policy if they are not already included on the life policy. This can provide essential protection should you be diagnosed with a long-term debilitating or terminal illness.
  • Regulations: All providers must adhere to guidelines that have been set up by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Each company must have a clear and accessible complaints procedure in place. They will also need to deal with complaints in a timely manner as they are also required to report complaints to the regulatory bodies.
  • You will be able to specify beneficiaries even if you have not created a will. |You can have one or multiple recipients. If the principle beneficiary has already died then the money will be split between those remaining or, if named, a secondary recipient.
  • Most insurance companies provide an online calculator. This is to make it easier for you to figure out exactly how much money you would need to be paid on the claim to provide for your individual circumstances, ensuring your peace of mind and that the safety net in place is strong enough.

About Managing Personal Financial Crises

First, only use credit when it is absolutely necessary. Never use credit for consumables such as groceries, utilities, etc. The one exception might be gasoline, if you discipline yourself to pay the card off in full each month. Did you know that if you pay your credit card by the due date you might be able to avoid interest charges for charges made during the billing cycle?

Second, the moment that “bonus” money (windfall, unexpected) comes in, apply it to the debt first! This is very important. Windfall money must not be spent frivolously, ignoring your debt. Don’t respond like a child. Respond as a responsible adult, making the right decisions rather than according to how you feel.

Third, STICK TO THE BUDGET. And, BELIEVE in tomorrow. You can believe in tomorrow when you manage your money. But, if you treat your money according to your feelings and luck, don’t be too surprised when tomorrow is a lot harder than you expected.

Do you want to be debt free?

  • Plan your finances or become a prisoner of debt.
  • Don’t spend more than you have.
  • Respect yourself and your family and your future.
  • You can either become an expert at managing your money, or an expert at getting into debt. How do you become a debt expert? By not planning and not managing your money.
  • Part of growing up is taking responsibility for your finances including: showing up for work every day and doing better than you have to; planning what you will do with your paycheck, and sticking to the plan; paying yourself from every paycheck: put money in your savings account.

You can be debt free if you plan to be.