money

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
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