Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Frugal Lifestyle

The word “frugality” has left a more negative connotation for most people than simply being a saver, a cheapskate or tightwad. There is a thin line difference to saving and too much frugality to the point of being awkward and ridiculous. This is where the negative connotation comes from.

But if you are guided with the right principles and reasons in deciding to live a frugal life, you would never go wrong.

If you have decided to live frugally, no need to be worried of insults. Keep your head up high.  And keep your focus through these tips.

1.    Eating Out - Having gimmicks with friends on a Friday night is fine if you do it once in a while. But this can be expensive if you add them up at the end of the month.

2.    Clothing - Naturally, if you are the kind of person who adores signature and designer clothes, do not expect that there will be something left of your take home pay. Instead of being trendy, wear clothes that can easily be matched with your other clothes.

3.    Own Home - If you are planning to move out and find a place to settle, do not be overwhelmed by the excitement, instead be practical. As a start, buy a smaller house or try other ways like rent-to-own, do-it-yourself arrangements, and owner financing.

4.    Buying Your Own Car - Shy away from sports cars or SUVs. Just stick to your purpose of buying a car which is to transport you anywhere you need to go. Check out also program cars like a new car warranty. Maybe this is not just the best time to replace your car with a new one.

5.    Shopping for Groceries - As much as possible do not go with items that are branded. Choose non-brands and try looking for items on the highest or lowest shelves for best prices. Grab the opportunity and shop during sales or use coupons.

6.    Family Out - There are inexpensive ways to bond with your family and be entertained like going to libraries, local parks, malling, picnics, visit friends and local church.

7.    Buying School Supplies - Stock school supplies at home and do not buy anything fancy.

8.    Be contented with what you have and try to live within what you earn.

9.    Plan your Child’s College Education - Teach them the ways to be independent and self-supporting by encouraging them to apply for scholarships and “on campus jobs”.

10.    Be Aware of your Financial Limitations

11.    Anticipate your Failures by Planning - Have always a budget plan so you would avoid impulsive buying.
 



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tips on How to Teach Your Kids to Save Money

A lot of teens nowadays do not understand the value of earning and spending money. They were not oriented that investing is necessary even if they are still students. As parents, you play a crucial role in this area.

You should be able to teach your kids on how to save money. They should be able to understand the concept of money and investment as early as childhood. This will prepare them to learn money management, as they grow old.

Here are some tips on how you can teach your children how to save money:

1. Your children should be educated of the meaning of money. Once your children have learned how to count, that is the perfect time for you teach them the real meaning of money. You should be consistent and explain to them in simple ways and do this frequently so that they may be able to remember what you taught them.

2. Always explain to them the value of saving money. Make them understand its importance and how it will impact their life. It is important that you entertain questions from them about money and you should be able to answer them right away.

3. When giving them their allowances. You need to give them their allowances in denominations. Then you can encourage them that they should keep a certain bill for the future. You can motivate them to do this by telling them that the money can be saved and they can buy new pair of shoes or the toys they want once they are able to save.

4. You can also teach them to work for money. You can start this at your own home. You can pay them fifty cents to one dollar every time they clean their rooms, do the dishes or feed their pets. This concept of earning little money will make them think that money is something they have worked for and should be spent wisely.

5. You can teach them to save money by giving them piggy banks where they can put coins and wait until they get full. You can also open bank accounts for them and let them deposit money from their allowance. You should always show them how much they have earned to keep them motivated.

Money and saving is not something that is learned by children in one sitting. You should be patient in teaching them and relating the value of money in all of their activities. Children will learn this easily if you are patient and consistent in guiding them and encouraging them in this endeavor.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Guide To Better Budgeting

A budget is basically a money plan, outlining your financial goals. Having a budget, you can well establish and regulate funds, set and achieve your financial objectives, and make advance decisions as to how you want your finances to function well for you.

The main idea in budgeting is for you to put aside a certain amount of money for expected as well as unexpected costs.

Simply put, budgeting means an estimation of monthly home expenses basing it on previous expenses and bills.

The initial step to take in budgeting is to find out how long will your compensation last. Define fixed expenses like car payments, home rental, insurance, etc. Likewise follow up your expenditures thoroughly for a month so you can discover and understand where your funds are going. Through proper determination of your “spending patterns”, you can immediately identify solutions for effective budgeting.

For instance, when you have a steady monthly income of $4,000, you should subtract all your identified monthly bills from that income.

Other bills can be assessed and then subtracted from the amount of your income. The balance that remained after fixed costs can now be your budget in the household. Rather than allocating money for miscellaneous like gas, clothing, entertainment and groceries, financial planning will allow you instead to use proportions or percentages of it.

The strategic solution in order for budgeting to be successful is inflexibility as well as flexibility; there are fixed expenses so payment must be an inflexible factor.

Budgeting will best work when very scarce omissions are made to greater limits. The idea here is to formulate goals and plans, then abide by it as much as you possibly can.

Here are tips on how to budget:

1.    Have good sense of money management.  Your attitude is essential. Reach an agreement and compromise and know the significance of reducing expenditures; it all involves a lot of sacrifice.

2.    Plan your situation. Make a listing with your earnings to one side and your overheads on the other side.

3.    Know the difference between luxuries and necessities. List down what you believe as luxuries, with it, split the list in half, crossing out half the list.

4.    Practice frugality but with dignity. You can have fun with little or without spending at all. Rather than going shopping, play with the kids at the beach or at the park. 

Budgeting is an effective and fundamental tool that is readily available to everyone.  Consider it, and benefit from it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Methods Of Saving Money

Saving is basically putting aside money or a way to utilize your present income for future use.

One saves for several reasons such as for a college education, buying a new car, for a new TV set you wish to acquire in three to four months time, for down payment on a home, or to provide for yourself when retirement comes.

As much as there are several reasons for saving, there are likewise many methods in which one can save. In most instances, the best method can be determined by whatever plans you have for the future.

1.    Savings accounts. When saving for just a short period or for emergency purposes, consider opening a savings account passbook, as it is in this method that you can easily gain access to your funds.

Great for both long and short term savings, you can deposit and withdraw money to your account and earn interest, based on your average daily balance. A minimum balance is required to be maintained though, and you are charged with a penalty should you fail to maintain it.

2.    Checking account with interest.  Here one can benefit from checking account conveniences, while your deposits gain interests. Generally these types of accounts grants privileges such as limitless withdrawal and check writing, access to ATM and bill payments that can be done online.

This method typically requires a daily maintaining balance of at least $2,000.

3.    Money market insured accounts. For long-termed goals, this method is ideal, as it generally offers a much higher rate of interest compared to a regular or standard savings account.

The interest rate usually is dependent on the amount of money in your bank account; larger balance means higher interest.

4.    “CD” or Certificates of Deposit.  This is a savings method requiring you to “loan” your money to your financial agency for a certain time frame, usually ranging from thirty days up to five years. Here, the longer the time span again, means higher interest.

Keep in mind that usually insurance companies offer better deals on interests compared to banks, so before you invest, compare rates first!

At certain times, when your goal is many years away, it can be a wiser decision to save money in a certain way that you are not drawn on using it other than the main reason for saving it. Deciding on the right financial agency such as a bank, credit union or insurance firm can bring about a lot of benefit in your finances.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Little Goes a Long Way: Smart Secrets to Budgeting

There’s nothing more we want than to be able to efficiently manage our money. After all, the money that we want to manage is money that is oftentimes, hard earned. This is where a budget comes in. A budget executed properly, should help you see where your money is going, get more utility out of every buck, and help you save some extra for future use.

The first smart secret to a budget is to set a goal. What do you want to achieve? Do you want to correctly appropriate your income into bills payments? Do you want to put an amount aside for a big purchase or a huge investment? By having a goal, you will be able to shape your budget to best serve your interests.

Secondly, you would want to take note of where your money usually goes. This includes bills, major but regular purchases (like grocery costs, healthcare costs, and the like), and everyday miscellaneous purchases. Only when you list down where you know your money usually goes will you be able to identify which expenses you can do without. Once you’ve identified these regular expenditures, take into consideration what you can cut back on. How much do you spend on your daily caffeine fix in the morning? How much do you spend on newspaper deliveries to your front door? The measly $2 or $5 of these small purchases cumulatively translates to more than $3600 a year! Instead of buying your expensive latte or reading the newspaper on print, put aside the amount you would usually pay for these small routine purchases in a small container. You will be surprised at how much you’re saving out of your older budget.

Being indebted is a vicious cycle on its own. You’re talking about continuous payments, not to mention huge interest rates. The best way to deal with this is to pay the minimum on all of your debts in order to avoid paying extraneous late fees. Whatever cash excesses you may have, you can opt to add on to the payments you make in your biggest debt. This way, you are concentrated on getting the biggest debts first that cost you the greatest interest rates. Doing this progressively, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll get off your huge debts.

The last and most important step is to jot down the amount you earn the sum you spend. You can make use of computer cash management programs, or make database sheets of your own. Make a system that works for you and will help you keep track of your monthly budgeting progress.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Keep Them Handy: Budgeting Tools that Work

Budgeting your monthly expenses in order to get the greatest return on your income (and perhaps, even put aside some for saving!) doesn’t have to be extremely hard.

Various budgeting programs are available for use. Money management programs provide you with a usual package that allows you to enter your cash inflows and outflows, categorizes your expenditures, and at times, presents to you analysis of your spending behavior. Through these programs you can also input the various payments you have to make monthly, and subsequently track if you’ve paid your dues on time. Moreover, some programs also offer you a tax form draft that will help you make sure you’re not missing out on any dues or any deductibles, for that matter.

Another budgeting tool that you can utilize are coupons. Various stores and magazines contain coupons that you can use to get discounts on various products. Should there be a need to purchase a particular product for which you have a coupon for, you will end up saving a fraction of what you might have had to spend on a regular purchase.

Lists—whether on a piece of paper, on your cellular phone, or on your personal digital assistant (PDA) will help you keep focused on what you have to buy, and in effect, keep track of the purchases you make. A classic example is your regular grocery trip. Prior to making the trip, plan out the week’s entire menu and identify what food items and materials you need to purchase that are unavailable in your pantry. Then, make a list of other household items that you’ve run out of (or are eventually going to run out of before you can make the next trip to the grocery). Armed with these lists, you can go to the grocery and know exactly where to go and what you’re going to buy. Without these lists, you will walk idly along aisles, and will likely pick up various food items that you won’t likely need in the immediate future, or already have at home.

A filing system is perhaps one of the best budgeting tools you can have in your home. With simple, labeled file folders, you can put together your bills, your receipts, and whatever bank documents are issued to you when you save or pay. By putting together your bills, your credit card receipts, and the like, you are able to keep track of how much you owe and when your payments are due.

Effective budgeting tools are those that best address your needs as a consumer. Create your own budgeting tool or find a program to do it for you—just make sure it suits your lifestyle.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Why Banking Works

When it comes to financial management, even business professionals reach a consensus as to what is the most effective, reliable, and secure means to manage your money, and that is through the bank. Your bank is an effective means to manage your bills payments, keep track of your transactions, receive your income and whatever extraneous cash inflow, and help you save effectively.

The last one is perhaps the most obvious feature of the bank that people do not take advantage of. A bank, being a financial intermediary, can actually help you save money efficiently. Here’s how.

First, you are required to keep what is called a maintaining balance in your bank account. This means that even if you make deductions in your account, the bank requires you to save a bare minimum in order to continue enjoying their services. And yes, that translates to a forced saving on your part.

Another feature of bank saving is the fact that you are free to continuously add to your account whenever you can. Otherwise, your money will remain safe in your bank. Moreover, while it’s staying in the bank, you are actually earning interest rates on your money.

What are savings interest rates? These are payments made by the bank to you for leaving your money in the bank. By depositing your money in the bank, your bank utilizes a portion of it in its loan operations where it subsequently earns through interest and loan charges. In effect, the income they receive trickles down to you, their source of money. This savings interest rate is actually an effective incentive system. Why so? If you save more money in your bank account through your deposits and savings, you end up receiving a higher return on the savings interest rate than other people would.

Banks have a threshold amount for you to be able to participate in the bank’s long-term, higher yield savings schemes. Time-deposit accounts, mutual funds and the like require you to leave your money untouched for a longer period of time. In exchange for the bank’s use of your money for a longer period of time, the percentages of interest return are double those that you would get in a regular savings account. You can add increments of a certain amount in order to increase the capital you invest in your time-deposit account or mutual fund. An increased account obviously translates to bigger interest gains.

Talk to your local bank about their savings schemes. They offer various mechanisms to encourage us consumers to entrust their money to them. In a bank, your money is in a safe place, and it is growing while it stays there.