Budgeting

Budgeting is every ones nightmare but it is a practice that we must do.Living without a budget is dangerous and can lead to a financial crisis.

11 Ways To Save Money

11 Ways To Save Money

11 Ways for Saving Money

Are you new at budgeting your finances? Do you really need to start saving up for a new vehicle, plan a vacation, save for retirement, pay on some medical bills? Here are some thoughts of how you can say for these items.

1. Make a total of all your monthly bills. Monthly bills are ones that occur every month, usually on the same day. Insurances, house payments, cell phone bills, and car/school loans are all considered routine monthly expenses. Don’t include things like grocery shopping, clothing, or eating out, these are flexible and can change from month to month.

2. Make a list of net income after taxes you receive each month. This would also include rental income, child support, interest you receive from investment, and etc.

3. Subtract your monthly bills from your income and what is left over is your true free income.

4. Take a look at your credit cards. Put your highest interest cards at the top of the list to pay off first. We need to get rid of these first and only keep the one with the lowest interest rate in your wallet. The ones in your wallet should only be used for emergencies only, like car repairs, medical emergencies, and home repairs that are a must!

5. Think about all the money you need to spend to SURVIVE. Not on dinners out, new toys, or clothing. Things you need to keep your family fed and healthy. Subtract this money from your free income, it should only be half or less of your free income money.

6. Use the rest of your free income to start paying down your credit cards. If you just pay the minimum each month you will not see your credit card debt drop. You must make a diligent effort to pay more than the minimum.

7. Repeat these steps until your credit card debt is under control. This doesn’t mean having absolutely no debt, but I would recommend an amount you can pay off in 3 months or less.

8. Congratulations on making it to step eight and getting your debt somewhat under control! Now let’s start saving. If you like to see what you need to save to retire, here is a free retirement calculator for helping figure our what you may need. Retirement Calculator

9. If your company has a 401k and they offer any sort of match (any percentage), start the 401k. This is free money that your company is giving you, if you do not take advantage of this you are losing out.

10. With you car loans, mortgage companies, and credit cards you may want to try and connect with the lenders and ask if they would consider lowering your interest rates. Even if you only get one yes, it is better than not asking at all and continue to pay high interest rates.

11. If your employer directly deposits money into your bank account, set up an extra account to add money into. Since you don’t ever see it, you won’t think about it. If you deposit your checks yourself, take advantage of a savings account or do what I did and set up an account at another bank and then on my bill pay each month I automatically transfer funds from my working account to my other bank account, what do they say, out of sight out of mind.

As hard as it sounds, try not to indulge. Cut back your cable package, go out to eat once a month, and instead of seeing movies on the big screen with your entire family, wait until you can rent the movie. Chances are you can rent movies through red box for less than $2.00! You can save a lot of money if you just put some effort into it. Our family had to make adjustments, but now we can sleep at night and don’t have get scared if the phone rings thinking what collection agency is after me now.

Posted by Tom in Budgeting
Jobs That Supplement Your Full Time Job

Jobs That Supplement Your Full Time Job

Are you in need for some extra income to supplement your full time job?

There are many of us out in the work force that just need a little bit more income each month to help supplement the pay that your present full time job offers us. Many of us just need a side job or business to put an additional $500 – $1000 a month in our pocket to pay off bills, or make ends meet, or to put away for retirement. The list of jobs that I am going to talk about I have actually done most of these jobs myself or know someone who has done one of these jobs while holding a 40 hour a week regular job.

Please check my links on finances at Cornerstone Finance

Let’s take a look at the list and see if one of these jobs can help you.

Office Cleaning

I was able to do this job in the evenings and on the weekends when businesses were closed. I would work from 6:00 – 9:00 pm four nights a week. Most of the time I would do the work for about $20.00 an hour. If you do the math I would clear about $850 – $900 a month. This is a great part time business that a person can do with their spouse. I have known several people that started doing this as a part time income source and turned it into a full time business.

House Cleaning

This is one job that I have not done myself, but several friends of mine have done this or are doing this presently. One particular friend works full time at a hospital in our town and she gets off of work at 3:00pm. When she gets off work she goes home and changes clothes and runs out for a couple hours and cleans two houses. So she does not get burned out she does this three nights a week. She is paid $40.00 per house and if you do the calculations she makes around $900 a month average.

Grass Cutting

Since I live in Florida lawn business can be big money. When I have needed some extra cash I have hooked my small trailer to the car and loaded up my mower and weed trimmer and gone out and cut lawns. A small lawn I charged $25.00 and a larger yard I would charge $40.00 dollars. In our area we see several husband and wife teams out cutting and trimming lawns. This also can start off small and grow into a full time business.

Pressure Washing Homes and Driveways

This is a great job to do in the summer, especially here in Florida when it is hot nine months out of the year. I have paid friends of mine up to $150.00 to pressure wash my house and $100.00 to pressure wash my roof. This is another job that can be done in the evening like my friends do or on a weekend.

Blogging

This is a great opportunity to sit at home in the evening and write articles about what you like. This is what I did to get my business off the ground. You do not have to quit your day job and it can be done in just a couple hours a few nights a week. You may have to invest some time to build up credibility and grow a following, but once this has been accomplished it can bring in a great side income or full time income. I personally do it for my future in order to have a nice residual income when I retire.

Handy Man Service

This has really put been a blessing for me and many of my friends. There are a huge population of people that do not know or are scared to death too try and tackle small jobs around their homes. Sometimes it can be a 10 minute small job that can put an extra $25.00 – $50.00 in your pocket. Larger jobs can put much more money in your pocket every month. Both here in Florida and in Chicago I was able to find work just by word of mouth. There are plenty of people that just don’t know how to do things for themselves or don’t have the time, this is where a good and honest handyman comes in handy.

Computer Repair

I have fixed people’s computers for years, and have made some serious extra income while still holding down a full time job. The only expense I had was a small add in the local paper in the classifieds. I also would put a small ad on Craigslist which I picked up a few computers each month from. I would charge less than the competition and I was always totally honest with the people and not sell them something that they did not need. By doing this I would get a lot of referrals and repeat customers. I have paid for several vacations and mission trips to Central America.

Music Lessons / Tutoring

If you are musically talented like my neighbor is you can make some serious money giving in home music lessons. My service manager’s wife is a full time teacher and she does private tutoring on the side to help supplement her family’s income. Both of these do require some special talent, but most of us do have our own things that we are talented at that we can offer people.

Conclusion

In today’s tough financial times most of us need extra money from time to time. I hope that these ideas have opened up some thoughts of what you can offer people in exchange for being paid for your services. All of us have talents in one thing or another, sometimes you just need to sit down and give some thought to what you can offer to the general public. Just put on your creative thinking cap!

Follow us on Facebook

Posted by Tom in Budgeting
Start Your Own Business On EBay

Start Your Own Business On EBay

Starting an online eBay business

If you are thinking about starting an online eBay business there are many thing you need to know to so you can be successful. A lot of people I know have been successful in eBay and some have even given up the corporate life in order to do eBay full time. I will admit eBay is work, don’t kid yourself.  But if you want a stay at home business this is one that has been around for some time and it has made a lot of people like yourself very successful.

Getting eBay started

First thing first, be smart and do some homework before diving in with both feet. Explore around and find the power sellers, check out their sites. Power sellers are very successful eBay business owners, look at they are selling and see how they set up their item descriptions and their about me page. Find out what is working for them and take some good notes. They would not be power sellers if they did not know what they are doing.

Now open up an eBay seller’s account. There are a few pages of information you will need to set up with eBay, you will also need to setup a PayPal account in order for your customers to pay you. PayPal is one of the best and easiest accounts for people to pay you through especially with a credit card.

Find items that are in high demand, this may take some research on your part. This is where you do some investigative work on power seller’s sights, and check out the “hot topic area” on eBay.

Please check my links on finances at Cornerstone Finance

What to sell first

What I did was I started selling items that were lying around my home and items that were cluttering up my garage and my shed. I started with these because these items were pure profit for me; I also had some old college text books that were in the closet doing me no good. I listed these on eBay and sold them for two to three times more profit than what I would have gotten for them at a yard sale.

Opening an eBay store

Once you have your eBay business up and going and you have learnt the basics of what to do and how to do it. You will want to think about opening up an eBay store. An eBay store is a great place to show off all the items you have listed on eBay. People may be searching for one item and then they go to your store and find something that they just can’t live without, they would not have known about that item if they did not see it in your store.

Google Trends

One of the power sellers that I know uses Google “Trends”. Trends finds out what people are searching for on the internet. Google searches for hot topics that people all over the world are searching each and every day.  What my friends do is explore the list and see what they can get their hands on in order to sell on eBay. Just keep in mind that eBay is international, so if something does not sell in your area does not mean it may not be a hot topic in another part of the world. Stay positive and don’t get discourage, eBay takes work and commitment, treat it like a business and it will provide an extra income to you.

Conclusion

In a future article we will look at some of the finer details of how to run an eBay business. We will look at deeper of how to list items, how to add pictures, how to ship the best way, how to track your feedback, and good customer satisfaction ratings.

Join us on Facebook

 

Posted by Tom in Budgeting
Need Extra Income?

Need Extra Income?

Are you in need for some extra income to supplement your full time job?

There are many of us out in the work force that just need a little bit more income each month to help supplement the pay that your present full time job offers us. Many of us just need a side job or business to put an additional $500 – $1000 a month in our pocket to pay off bills, or make ends meet, or to put away for retirement. The list of jobs that I am going to talk about I have actually done most of these jobs myself or know someone who has done one of these jobs while holding a 40 hour a week regular job. 

Let’s take a look at the list and see if one of these jobs can help you.

Office Cleaning

I was able to do this job in the evenings and on the weekends when businesses were closed. I would work from 6:00 – 9:00 pm four nights a week. Most of the time I would do the work for about $20.00 an hour. If you do the math I would clear about $850 – $900 a month. This is a great part time business that a person can do with their spouse. I have known several people that started doing this as a part time income source and turned it into a full time business.

House Cleaning

This is one job that I have not done myself, but several friends of mine have done this or are doing this presently. One particular friend works full time at a hospital in our town and she gets off of work at 3:00pm. When she gets off work she goes home and changes clothes and runs out for a couple hours and cleans two houses. So she does not get burned out she does this three nights a week. She is paid $40.00 per house and if you do the calculations she makes around $900 a month average.

Grass Cutting

Since I live in Florida lawn business can be big money. When I have needed some extra cash I have hooked my small trailer to the car and loaded up my mower and weed trimmer and gone out and cut lawns. A small lawn I charged $25.00 and a larger yard I would charge $40.00 dollars. In our area we see several husband and wife teams out cutting and trimming lawns. This also can start off small and grow into a full time business.

Pressure Washing Homes and Driveways

This is a great job to do in the summer, especially here in Florida when it is hot nine months out of the year. I have paid friends of mine up to $150.00 to pressure wash my house and $100.00 to pressure wash my roof. This is another job that can be done in the evening like my friends do or on a weekend.

Blogging

This is a great opportunity to sit at home in the evening and write articles about what you like. This is what I did to get my business off the ground. You do not have to quit your day job and it can be done in just a couple hours a few nights a week. You may have to invest some time to build up credibility and grow a following, but once this has been accomplished it can bring in a great side income or full time income. I personally do it for my future in order to have a nice residual income when I retire.

Please check my links on finances at Cornerstone Finance

Handy Man Service

This has really put been a blessing for me and many of my friends. There are a huge population of people that do not know or are scared to death too try and tackle small jobs around their homes. Sometimes it can be a 10 minute small job that can put an extra $25.00 – $50.00 in your pocket. Larger jobs can put much more money in your pocket every month. Both here in Florida and in Chicago I was able to find work just by word of mouth. There are plenty of people that just don’t know how to do things for themselves or don’t have the time, this is where a good and honest handyman comes in handy.

Computer Repair

I have fixed people’s computers for years, and have made some serious extra income while still holding down a full time job. The only expense I had was a small add in the local paper in the classifieds. I also would put a small ad on Craigslist which I picked up a few computers each month from. I would charge less than the competition and I was always totally honest with the people and not sell them something that they did not need. By doing this I would get a lot of referrals and repeat customers. I have paid for several vacations and mission trips to Central America.

Music Lessons / Tutoring

If you are musically talented like my neighbor is you can make some serious money giving in home music lessons. My service manager’s wife is a full time teacher and she does private tutoring on the side to help supplement her family’s income. Both of these do require some special talent, but most of us do have our own things that we are talented at that we can offer people.

In today’s tough financial times most of us need extra money from time to time. I hope that these ideas have opened up some thoughts of what you can offer people in exchange for being paid for your services. All of us have talents in one thing or another, sometimes you just need to sit down and give some thought to what you can offer to the general public. Just put on your creative thinking cap!

Join us on Facebook

 

Posted by Tom in Budgeting
7 Items That Can Ruin Your Credit

7 Items That Can Ruin Your Credit

7 Easy Ways To Ruin Your Credit

Some the biggest financial mistakes I made were when I was in my 20’s and 30’ that set me on the road to financial disaster. I was young and dumb and I had a good paying job, credit was no problem. I was receiving credit cards daily in the mail so it was no big deal filling my wallet with these cards. If I wanted something I would go out and purchase it or if I did not have the cash I had the plastic card to pay for the item.

After I matured and received a job handling loans for lenders I got a great education in how credit and loans worked. There are many items that will affect your credit, there are a few things that can have a positive effect on your credit score but there many things that have a negative effect and many things that you have no control over.

Having Good Credit

In today’s world your credit is so important. I am an employer for a large service based company and one of the hiring criteria is having good credit. We will take an application that looks good and if the person has bad credit we will not hire the person. This is just one issue that can hinder your life if you have bad credit. Many things in life revolve around your credit score, one would be amazed at how your life is judge by just your credit score.

There are many things that affect your credit score. Let’s take a little walk down the path and take a look at a few of these simple things that will ruin your life when it comes to your credit score.

Too many credit cards

Everybody is giving away credit cards, these cards are a huge money maker for companies. The last time I was at my dentist and took my dog to the vet they both were trying to get me to take out a credit card with them. Any department store, home improvement store, airlines you fly on and etc have credit cards that they want you to sign up for. Before you sign up for these cards read all the fine print on the contracts. Also take some time and do some research, some of these cards offer some great point reward programs.

Remember that every card you apply for is a loan program. When you apply for these cards your credit report is run and it is scrutinized which affects your credit score. Every ding against your credit drives down your credit score.

Pay your credit card payment on time

While we are on the subject of credit cards remember you MUST pay your credit card payment on time. Do not miss a payment even if it is a one off and say I will pay it next month. If you do this you will be charged a expensive late fee, plus you will rack up more interest. But what is worse is that your credit score will take a major hit and it will show all the times that you made late payments.

Read your email and open all your mail

This just happened last night to my wife and I, my wife was scanning her email and found that our cell phone invoice was due the These companies are saving on postage and administrative fees by sending the invoices by email. If you were to be late with your cell phone bill or utility payments this may show up on credit score and possibly lower your score. Make sure you read all your mail and catch those bills that come in a plain white envelope, read all your email and junk email because with technology these days your bill may be sitting in your email box.

Cosigning for a loan

I highly frown at people that co-sign for loans. First if the person is needing a loan cosigned for then they probably have bad credit for not paying their bills on time. If your child is needing a loan for a car and they have no money for a large down payment then I would wait and make them save their money until they have a good enough down payment for a car loan where they do not need me to cosign for it. I have two daughters that I have turned down cosigning for loans for them, they both have bad credit and it is due to the fact that they cannot manage their finances. It may sound bad, but I am not going to ruin my credit because they cannot manage what they have.

Getting buried in debt

It is getting easy again to finance just about anything. Home and car loans are flying out the door again and money is being lent to people are such cheap rates. Although you may qualify for a home loan and it is not in your budget don’t go out and purchase a home that you know will not fit into your monthly budget. If your debt to income ratio are not inline this will affect your credit very negatively. This negative score will stay with you until you have paid down some of the debt and get your income to debt ratio straightened out.

Large ticket purchases

If you are in the process of purchasing a home while the loan is being processed by the lending institution do not purchase anything on credit until you have closed on the home. Many people while purchasing a home will go and purchase all new furniture and supplies for the home on credit which will have a terrible effect on your credit score. If the hit on your credit score is bad enough you may lose out on the loan for the home. Be extremely careful if you are having a large loan processed, there are many things that can affect the loan, do not add to it with materialistic purchases.

 

Posted by Tom in Budgeting
Mistakes To Avoid When Trying To Get Out Of Debt

Mistakes To Avoid When Trying To Get Out Of Debt

Getting out of debt

Everyone has horror stories when it comes to debt, for me paying off debt is like losing weight. We all have great enthusiasm to get out of debt and to lose weight but most of us never follow through and succeed at either. We all make mistakes, and I have my story book full of mistakes that I made while trying to get out of debt. The one good thing about mistakes is that you learn some valuable lessons that you can share with others so they do not get into the same trap.

Mistake number one

This mistake is always number one with everyone I talk to about getting out of debt, and that is having a plan. Just like losing weight you must have a plan and you must stick to the plan. If you have a spouse both you and your spouse need to follow the plan and don’t deviate from it.

Mistake number two

Do not try to get out of debt without goals or have goals that are impossible to accomplish. Here is what you will want to do instead. First put together a plan with your spouse you both need to establish some creative goals for the family. First you need to setup small goals. These goals need to be something that you feel you can accomplish in a month or two. Then setup some medium goals that might take six to eight months to accomplish and then you need to setup some long range goals that will take one to five years to accomplish. An example of long range goals would be like paying off your mortgage early.

Mistake number three

Do not try to get out of debt without a solid documented budget in place. Most people hate budgeting, but this is a must when you’re trying to pay off debt and become debt free. Again just like losing weight, if you do not plan and setup meals correctly you will not lose the weight. Same with budgeting, if you do not have a detailed budget then you will spend money on items that don’t fit into a budget category and you will find yourself getting deeper into debt. You must have a budget no question about it.

Mistake number four

This mistake I really kick myself over, I took my bonus and raise from work and wasted the money on foolishness instead of paying down my debt. When coming into money either by work or other means you must apply this extra income toward your debt and not increase your spending lifestyle. Take the extra money and apply it towards your mortgage principle or your principle on your high interest credit cards. By doing this it will drive down your debt ratio.

Mistake number five

I kept charging on my high interest credit cards even though I knew I shouldn’t. Some families make the mistake of paying their bills with their credit cards in order to earn points from the credit card companies. This is fine if you are dedicated in paying off the credit cards when the bill comes do. I find a lot of people take the spare cash that they have in their account because they paid their bills with a credit card and they blow the cash. When the credit card bill comes in they do not have any money left to pay off the credit card then you start racking up high interest charges and getting yourself deeper into debt. Be extremely careful of falling into this trap with credit card points.

Mistake number six

I did not setup an emergency fund, this was a huge mistake that took me years to recover from. Every household needs to have an emergency fund for those unexpected home or car repairs or life changing disasters. A family should have six months’ salary set aside in a special account that you do not touch. One never know when disaster is going to hit, disaster could be illness, getting fired, your main source of transportation dies, or you have a major home repair that has to be done. Without an emergency fund you could find yourself in a world of hurt. Start today if you do not have one and keep building to it.

Mistake number seven

Do not keep the same lifestyle you are living today. I tried this and found myself not making any headway in getting out of debt. You must change your lifestyle and cut foolish spending. There are many ways to do this, here are just a few that I found I had to change. Stop going out to eat, wash your car at home instead of spending ten plus dollars taking it to a car wash, drink your coffee at home or work instead of stopping at expensive coffee shops. The list can go but I think you get the picture.

Conclusion

As you read this you will see that most of this is common sense items and mistakes. I just learnt over the years of what to do and what not to do. If someone would have shared these with me I probably would not have stayed over my head in debt as long as I did.

Find more interesting articles and videos on our Facebook Page

Posted by Tom in Budgeting
Ideas To Help Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

Ideas To Help Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

Mortgage and automobile debt

For many people that are trying to homestead the one problem that many people have is debt. Two of the largest debt’s that families have hanging over their heads are mortgage debt and automobile financing. Today let’s take a look at ways to help pay off your mortgage and get this number one debt off your back. In future post we will talk about ways to pay off your auto loans and work on ways to be debt free.

Tip number one

Automate an extra payment to your principle along with your regular monthly mortgage payment. What I mean by this is when making your regular monthly mortgage payment add an extra $25 a month towards your mortgage principle. The reason I pick $25 a month is this is a nice low dollar amount that I am sure most people can find just by cutting back a few bad habits. If you set this up to automatically come out of your account and go straight to your principle you more than likely will not even notice the money being gone. After you are comfortable with $25 dollars a month then step out and increase it to $50 dollars a month. You will not believe how many years you will cut off your mortgage by paying the principle down monthly with just a few added dollars.

Tip number two

Many Americans are paid on a bi-weekly paycheck principle. If you were to set-up your mortgage payment to be paid bi-weekly instead of monthly. By paying half of your monthly mortgage payment ever two weeks you will shave off many years off the term of your mortgage. The reason for this is when you pay bi-weekly you will be making an additional monthly mortgage payment which will go directly towards your principle thus reducing the loan amount of the mortgage and saving you years of mortgage payments.

Tip number three

The whole idea of paying off your mortgage early is by cutting years off of the term of your loan and the easiest way to do this is reduce the principle. What my family and I have done is to deposit large chunks of money periodically towards the principle. Some ways that we have come up with these deposits is by thinking outside the box. A couple ways that we came up with the extra money to put towards the principle was to have a garage sale twice a year. Instead of taking the profits from the sale we took the money and put it towards the principle on the mortgage. Another suggestion that we did was to take our tax return and put this towards the principle. Whatever way you can find to take extra money and apply it towards the principle, do it! You will save thousands of dollars in interest by lowering the principle of your mortgage.

Tip number four

Most people have no clue about tip number four.  I love tip number four since we use credit cards that offers points for all our purchases. Disclaimer – we pay off the credit card at the end of the month so we do not add up debt.

Many people like us use our credit cards to pay for everything in order earn points for vacations or other frilly things. But there are some cards that you can have the points convert automatically to mortgage interest payments. So every time use this type of credit card you earn points which automatically get converted over to paying down your mortgage principle. This is a great tool that takes the guess work out of paying off your mortgage early.

Tip number five

Pretty much everybody can think of a way to adjust your lifestyle in order to save money to put towards your mortgage principle but tip number five is near and dear to my heart which is starting a side income. Making money on the side either by having a hobby or offering a service for people that you can do in your spare time is very rewarding and there is no limit how much money you can earn. There are many ways to earn extra income without taking on a second job that you may hate and regret. Just keep your eye on the goal and that is to pay off your mortgage and get out of debt in order to free up your income in order to be a happy homesteader.

Here are some resources for guidance on earning extra income

 

Find more interesting articles and videos on our Facebook Page

 

Posted by Tom in Budgeting, Homestead
Simple Ways To Save Money

Simple Ways To Save Money

When it comes to saving money I enjoy this game. I treat saving money as a game in order for the whole family to join in and it does not become a threat or a chore. Let’s take a look at some ways we can save money and not make it a negative thing to do.

  • Buy In Bulk

There are many reports by us news, cbn, money magazine and business insider that state purchasing in bulk can save you time and money. Most of the time if you purchase items from warehouse stores like Sam’s club or Cosco you can save on average of about thirty percent over the chain grocery stores.

  • Eat At Home

I know so many people that never eat any meals at home, this is so ridiculous. First eating at restaurants is not healthy for you and the money you waste can easily add up versus the money you would save if you purchased the food and cooked it at home. Example, my wife and I love a good rib eye dinner once a week, if we were to purchase this at a local chain restaurant we would easily spend $50 – $75 for this meal. I can purchase two rib eye steaks for $13 and potato, salad and vegetable I would spend no more than $20 for the both of us.  Right there I would save $30.00 from one meal.

  • Shop Smart

Shopping is a huge chore and many of us hate the thought of going shopping each week for groceries but if you shop smart it can save you time and money. Example, my wife and I sit down and plan out our meals for the week ahead then we put together our shopping list. First, by having a shopping list and stick to it you won’t spend money on things that you don’t need. We also keep track of prices at the local stores and farmers markets. When we put together our shopping list we will make separate list for different stores because we know that items will be cheaper at one store over another. Also we purchase all our fruits and vegetables at the local farmers market because the items are fresh and it puts money back into the community. By shopping this way we save a lot of money each week.

  • Shop with Coupons

In order to save money with couponing you need to mentally change how you shop. You will need to make your weekly meal plan according to what is on sale. Go to more than one store for the items on your shopping list. Be organized with your coupons before heading to the store. Don’t be afraid to stock up on items when they are a fantastic deal.

  • Eat Left Overs

I find that in today’s times many of our younger folks don’t eat leftovers. My wife and I were visiting our daughter for Christmas a couple years back and after dinner our daughter and husband took the leftovers and threw them in the trash. I about blew a gasket when I saw this. Now I am a little old fashioned since I was brought up by parents that grew up during the depression and I don’t throw anything away. Plus many foods taste better if they sit overnight in the refrigerator. So much money is wasted when you don’t eat leftovers and just throw them in the garbage.

  • Turn Lights Off

I find so many times lights left on in our home. I am constantly walking behind my wife and turning off light switches. When she gets up in the morning every light in the house goes on for some reason. This is such waste of money that can be used for other things and it is the simplest way to save money on your electric bill.

  • Conclusion

These are just some simple basic ways to save money for other things. Now if it was me and I did not have an emergency fund set up I would take this money and start applying to my emergency fund and get that set up first be anything else.

In some future episodes we will take a look at some other ways to save money and cut expenses.

Posted by Tom in Budgeting
How To Build A Budget For Your Family

How To Build A Budget For Your Family

Building a budget that works for your family

A good budget is the number one tool to helping a person pay off debt, build their retirement accounts, and plan for their financial future. A budget is a road map to help you with your everyday finances. A person should not look at a budget as being a negative item, but a helpful tool. When you take a vacation you use a road map or google maps in order to map your way from point “A” to point “B”, well a budget is the same thing, a map to help you manage your finances.

Many Americans have troubles with their bank accounts and other finances because many of us lack the skills to manage their accounts and their debt. There are many tools out there to help us with skills but most people do not know where to look or what to look for. Many financial tools  are free of charge if you know where to look.

Before putting together a budget the first thing you need to do is track all your expenses for a month. There are mobile apps that can help you record all of your purchases. Every purchase, from small ones to large ones need to be recorded for this month. Even ATM fee’s and bank fees need to be recorded in order to get a good picture of you spending habits.

Take this data after a month of tracking and sit down and you will probably be surprised to see where your money has gone. This is best way to get an overall picture about how you allocate your funds and spend your hard earned money..

When you finally sit down to put together your first month’s budget the number one thing you do not want to do is cut out all the fun things you do. Don’t make this a punishment and take all the fun out of your life. If you are too strict on yourself you will probably fail in a short time period. You will find yourself cheating and eventually you will stop following your budget and you find yourself back in the same boat your are trying to leave. Instead learn to limit yourself. Example would be, “if you stop every morning for a starbucks coffee or eat out for lunch everyday, don’t stop doing these things you enjoy all together. Just set yourself some limits, instead of doing these things daily, cut yourself back to once or twice a week, you will see the benefits add up in your wallet at the end of the month.

Now take your bills for the month and separate them into categories. The first category should be your fixed expenses, such as your mortgage or rent, your utilities, car payment and any sort of membership fees that you pay monthly. Hopefully this does not go over fifty percent of your monthly take home pay.

The next category would be savings. Experts recommend putting away ten to twenty percent of your take home pay into a auto deposit savings account that earns interest. They recommend an auto deposit, this is where the money comes out of your check before you notice it is missing so these funds will not be seen, “out of sight out of mind” kind of thinking.

The third category would be flexible spending. Your monthly budget should not exceed thirty percent of your take home pay for this category. This would consist of eating out, morning Starbucks coffee runs, groceries, gas, entertainment, hobbies, and etc. This category is called flexible because these items can be adjusted. For example, when shopping for groceries, try cutting coupons and look at adds in the paper to save yourself some money. Shopping for clothes, is another area that you can compare prices in order to save money. Filling the car with gas, shop around the area for cheaper prices for fuel. Cut back to once or twice a week for going to Starbucks instead of going daily. These are just a few examples of where you can be flexible and save money.

So if you see, fifty percent of your money goes toward your large ticket items like rent or mortgage, twenty percent goes to savings of some kind, and thirty percent goes toward your more flexible items.

Here is a list of tools to help you build your budget. These tools are online so I have put the links here for you to click on.

Budget Calculator

Mint.com

Budget Worksheet

BudgetPulse

Posted by Tom in Budgeting