3 Lifestyle Changes that Will Save Money

 

3 Lifestyle Changes that Will Save Money

By Aurora McCausland

 

More often than not you’ve probably sat and wondered how you could manage to save a little extra money every month. You don’t have the time nor the energy to start another job, and you don’t have any hobbies that you feel like you could monetize. But it would be nice if your wallet had a little more padding, your bank account just a little more cushioning, and your budget a little more wiggle room. The good news is, there are definitely ways that you can start saving and stop stressing about getting all of your bills paid on time.

 

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Think about your lifestyle differently

 

This isn’t news to anyone. You came to this article hoping to find actual answers to help you save money. Saying “spend less money!” isn’t going to solve anything. Even with the strictest budgets, the most important thing that needs to happen, is that you need to think differently. Stop thinking about money in a negative way. Don’t say “I don’t have enough money”, because that’s true. Those negative thoughts are not helping you bring more money into your life! So the very first step to saving money, is to tell yourself that you are good at saving money. Changing your mindset is a really important part of trimming your budget and saving your money more effectively.

 

 

Look at your spending habits

There are some of us, who know that we have areas we spend too much money on. Some of us spend a lot of money mindlessly shopping online. Some of us eat out for dinner every night, even though we know there are groceries sitting in the fridge, just waiting to be eaten. But some of us, feel like we handle our money in a mature manner, and genuinely feel like there’s nowhere to trim your budget without feeling deprived or living far below our means.

 

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Do you fall prey to the lure of “sales”, and spend money on things you don’t need, or that you could easily live without?

 

Do you buy name brand products, when you know that there are quality options for a fraction of the cost?

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These are two of the biggest culprits of people that feel like they don’t spend extra money! You could cut your grocery bill down significantly if you were to buy store brand items instead. And if you see a sale, walk away! Always look for sales when you’re planning to buy something. But just because there’s a sale, doesn’t mean there’s something there that you need to buy. So don’t let yourself be pulled in by the enticing promise of quality items for less, because you really don’t need those things.

 

How new is your car?

 

Most people either buy brand new cars, or they buy very used and relatively old cars. Not a lot of people fall somewhere in the middle. But in this case, you really want to be right in the middle. Buying a brand new car can cause you to lose a lot of money. The value of a brand new car drops thousands of dollars when you drive it off the lot. Whereas, a car that’s a decade old will need a lot of maintenance over the course of just a few years, and you’ll end up pouring money into a junker car that you don’t love.

When you need to buy a new car, find a reputable used car dealership (many regular car dealerships also have a used car section that you can shop from). You can often find a car that’s less than two years old and is virtually new, but will cost you significantly less than a new car. This link has some handy tips for make cost-effective car-purchasing decisions.

 

Passively Save

 

If your money is just sitting in your checking account, chances are that you will end up spending it. Even if you didn’t intend to, and even if you don’t have a reason to spend that money. The smartest way to make sure that you don’t spend all of your money when you don’t need to, is to set up automatic payments from your checking account to your savings account.

This way, you don’t even have to think about it, and you’ll end up saving a lot of money this way. Start with 10% of every paycheck, automatically transferred into savings. If you don’t miss that portion of money after a few months, change it to 15% of your income. Find an amount that works for you, and passively save it every single month! 

 

Let’s Chat > What are some ways in which you save?

 

How to Clean Up Your Financial House This Spring

When you think about “spring cleaning”, you probably think about getting rid of all that clutter in your closet, sweeping, dusting, and maybe holding a yard sale. While spring cleaning usually means getting your house clean and organized, it can also relate to your financial house as well. This spring, take some time to spring clean your finances so you can stay on track throughout the rest of the year.
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Get organized
There’s no way to have a firm grasp on your financial house if it’s all disorganized – papers here and papers there, important documents haphazardly shoved into drawers and boxes. You wouldn’t leave your closet full of junk during spring cleaning, so don’t leave your finances full of it either.
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The first step is to go through all of your paper documents and figure out what is important and what isn’t. Throw away bills and other documents you no longer need. All of your important documents should be stored in a simple-to-use filing system.
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Next, you should consider scanning your paper documents and creating digital backups. It helps to have your important documents available in both paper and paperless formats.
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Finally, you should go through your bills and determine which ones can be switched over to paperless. Most companies – from cable, internet, electric, gas, and even city water – offer paperless service. It’s much easier to know which paper documents are important when you don’t have a dozen useless paper bills coming through the mail slot every month.
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“Doing so quickly eliminates paperwork because you’ll no longer receive those bills in the mail, and it also guarantees you won’t forget to pay them … avoiding late payments also helps you improve your credit score over time,”notes US News & World Report.
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Reevaluate your budget
We’ll assume that you set up a household budget at some point. If not, that should be your first step. If you already have a budget, it’s highly likely that it needs some fine-tuning to account for new expenses and changes in income.
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Now is the time to take a look at everything – your student loans, credit card debt the cost of childcare, daily living expenses, etc. Look for ways to make cuts in bloated areas and focus on how you can budget more money for the paying down of debts and for savings.
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“Take a look at your current situation and your future goals and consider revamping your budget, tweaking your investments, ramping up retirement contributions, and adjusting your withholding,” suggests USA Today.

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If you’re having trouble budgeting enough money for savings, it may help to set up auto-deductions from your paycheck that will automatically go toward a savings account. Remember, without that emergency fund and nest egg for retirement savings, your financial house is standing on a shaky foundation.

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credit cards in wallet SMLXL
 
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Reduce the amount of plastic in your wallet
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If you’re like many Americans, your wallet may be bursting with different types of plastic. You may use multiple credit cards, or you may just use one or two but still have a half dozen sitting in the back reaches, gathering dust. Either way, it’s important to pare down your plastic reserves.
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If you have cards that have low balances that you barely ever use, pay them off and get rid of them. Reassess your interest rates on your existing cards and work on stocking your wallet with the best possible cards for your situation.
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“Once you have an accurate credit report, check the interest rates you pay on balances and compare the rates with other cards. You may be able to use that as leverage to improve your credit card terms,” notes Bankrate.com.
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In order to keep you and your family on track this year, it’s vital that you take some time this spring to clean out your financial house. Get organized, take a second look at your finances, and work to get your credit card debt under control. If you do those things, you’ll be well on your way to “cleaner living” this year.
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About the Author
Gloria started WomenLed.org to celebrate the advancements women have made and inspire women to become entrepreneurs and seek promotions in the workplace.

Getting Your Financial House in Order

Getting your Financial House in Order

Okay, so you’ve probably said it before, as I often have, “this is the year that I am going to get my financial house in order”.  It doesn’t matter how many times you have said it before or how many times you will say it in the future, you can only start from where you are now.

So when it comes to finances…spending, saving and budgeting are all topics that are very important even millennials know that it’s a task that we all must inevitable be able to handle.   Trust me, being in debt is no joke and retirement comes sooner than you think.

Budgeting with pad a paper may be considered old school, and I understand that, however, believe it or not, a lot of people still like to see a spreadsheet with numbers – pages of expenses and assets, however, with the internet, apps and social media, there is no excuse not to be knowledgeable about your finances.

The task of cleaning up your financial life doesn’t have to be overwhelming and I am going to share with you a list of 8  ways to organize and tidy up your financial life for 2017.

  1. Automate your bills so that you’ll never miss another payment…set it and forget it.  If you have a steady income coming in and you are budgeting it’s great to never miss a payment again, because there are too many negative consequences when you do.  Auto pay is only good for the bills that are the same each month, like the mortgage not ones that fluctuate like your water or gas bill.
  2. Pay Yourself First: Save for Retirement, Then College for the Kids – if you can have money taken out of your paycheck and deposited into a retirement account with your employer or have the bank transfer money directly from your checking to savings account – save something – after all you worked hard for those dollars, keep some of them for yourself.
  3. Track your spending – whether using a smartphone app, Quicken software or an old fashioned notebook, pad and pencil – when you see where you are spending your money you may find ways to eliminate unnecessary spending.
  4. Protect your credit – check your credit card and bank statements carefully, whether you get them hardcopy or online.  Also sign up to get an annual credit report which is now free at www.annualcreditreport.com
  5. Organize and backup your files – whether these financial records are needed for tax purposes, estate planning, or medical records and home repairs make sure everything is organized in a file, a box and if electronic, back up the files.
  6. Create a budget, stick to it and review it regularly to stay on track – if you are a couple, make sure you both review it together as finances are the biggest cause for discourse in a relationship.  There are many budgeting apps that you can download on your smartphone, computer or tablet.
  7. Update your records – your will, your beneficiaries, health care directives and your online accounts – keep a notebook or an online password vault with your online account passwords and userids.
  8. Get personal finance advice from the voices behind the top money blogs, including Wise Bread, The Simple Dollar, Mint, Nerd Wallet, Rent.com, GOBankingRates, TurboTax, WalletHub, Broke Millennial, CreditCards.com, Bankrate, Stacking Benjamins, The Budgetnista, BeFrugal, Well Kept Wallet and The Ivy Investor

When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, the idea of building an emergency fund seems impossible. After all, experts recommend squirreling away three to six month’s worth of living expenses in a savings account. How can a newbie saver even get started?

Here’s the good news: It doesn’t take thousands of dollars to build a small, yet effective financial safety net. In fact, a little bit of savings goes a long way when it comes to weathering certain financial upsets

Few more tips to save more money for the future:

  • Take on a part-time gig. If you’re looking to build a small financial cushion, fast-track your progress by taking on a part-time job and funneling that extra income straight into your emergency savings account. There are so many things you can do for cash and put that money away – teach piano lessons, tutor in Spanish, check out Fiverr for services you can offer – website design, voice overs, etc.
  • Declutter and sell items you no longer want or need – garage sales, Craig’s list, Facebook yard sales – be careful where you meet buyers and sellers – some cities offer the police station parking lots for exchanges.
  • Live beneath your means – POINT BLANK PERIOD!
  • Don’t post financial information online – taking pics of checks, credit cards, address, etc.
  • Don’t click on those posts – xyz company will pay you money for clicking and sharing….really!!!!

What say you, how are you getting or keeping your financial house in order?

SLXLM

If you missed the Podcast with The Ivy Investor, click this link to hear the interview.

Will You Die in Debt?

Will You Die in Debt?  Let’s get financially fit in February!

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According to CreditCards.com, Americans are more optimistic about getting out of debt during their lifetime.  Millennials feel that they are least likely of dying in debt but seniors feel that they are more likely to die with some debt.

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Today, as we celebrate our son’s 21st birthday,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY al-MALIK GLORIAN BLAKE

I pray that his student loans are paid off far in advance of his retirement because I definitely wouldn’t want to go into mine with that debt.

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student debt

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Seniors who are living on a fixed income feel as though they won’t be able to keep up with inflation with the cost of living outpacing any interest gained in their 401K Retirement Plan or Social Security benefits.

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seniors checking their 401K

You can read the entire post, however, these are a few of the main points:

  • Millennials are the most positive about paying off debt. Nearly 60 percent of younger millennials (ages 18-25) think they can wipe out their debt by age 30. Members of the baby boom and Generation X were more likely to say they would die in debt or pay it off when they’re older than 60.
  • Most people would save the extra money if the debt was erased. Seventy-two percent of debtors said they would save for retirement, an emergency, a new home or college if they no longer owed anything. Retirement (32 percent) was by far the most common answer.
  • Many seniors would splurge. A mere 6 percent of respondents said they would spend their savings on a big-ticket item or a vacation if their debt was erased. However, members of the silent generation (ages 71 and up) said they were more likely to splurge than others.
  • We think we’re better off than those close to us. Forty-eight percent of people who are in debt said they owed less than their close friends and family, and 37 percent said they had about the same. Only 9 percent said they had more.
  • 53 and debt free. The average age people expect to be debt-free has changed little from previous years’ surveys (53 in 2016, 54 in 2015, and 53 in 2014 and 2013).

The scientific survey of 1,000 consumers, including 614 who have debt, was conducted via landline and cellphone Dec. 8-11, 2016.

“I think millennials are going to be very different from their Gen-X and Boomer peers, in the same way, people who went through the Great Depression were different from generations that came before and after them.”

— John Pelletier

Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy

On the blog, I am kicking off the month with the theme Financially Fit in February, and there will be articles with tips on getting your financial house in order.

A few weeks ago, I interviewed Courtney Richardson, The Ivy Investor on Social Media Sunday with the Delaware Blogger Podcast.  We discussed many ways in which to save money and tips on investing even with limited amounts of funds.

I will post highlights of that interview on Monday, but invite you to listen to the Podcast today, then leave a comment as to which ways you found to be useful in saving money.

Social Media Sunday with the Delaware Blogger Podcast

There are also many ways in which to earn some extra money to cut down on your debt and next week I will feature a guest post written by Christine Hill, entitled “8  Hobbies That Will Make You Money”.

Let’s Chat: what are some ways in which you have cut down your debt or eliminated it all together?

Social Media and Finances

“This is the year that I am going to get my financial house in order!”

You’ve probably said it once or twice in your lifetime. However, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve said it in the past or how many times you may say it in the future, you can start from where you are now.

Tonight’s Podcast provided tips on investing, saving, and even making extra cash no matter how much or how little you currently have. I provided a list of Social Media apps and financial blogs that are available to assist with your financial goals.

My special guest was Courtney Richardson, a millennial investment expert, and owner of The Ivy Investor blog.