Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Top Tips To Live A Frugal Lifestyle

Tired of spending all of your money paying the bills and buying the boring necessities? Tired of having nothing left over to treat yourself with? Need to reduce your spending to make ends meet? If so then you need these top tips to live frugal:

Get into the 'make do and mend' mindset. People throw so much stuff away these days, and often buy a replacement or hire a professional whenever there is a problem. Learn to sew and you can fix or even make your own new clothes. Invest a few dollars in a manual for your car, and learn to do the maintenance and minor repairs yourself. And find as many people as you can that have some skill in mending things - someone who can fix computers, someone who can do DIY jobs that you can't and so on, and then try to trade with them. Offer to do favors in return for favors and then you won't have to pay for so many things.
Try to anticipate your needs. If you know that you are likely to need something in the future, then start looking for it right away. Then you can buy when there is a super cheap special offer on, rather than buying the best thing you can find on the day when you actually need it right now.
Have a vegetarian day each week. Meat is generally the most expensive component of any meal, so leaving it out at least some of the time will save you cash. If you have a local butcher then you can also ask them about cheap cuts of meat, and there are some bits of an animal that people just don't usually buy, but which are still good to eat, and you may be able to get yourself a bargain.
The internet is a great place to find coupons as well as using price comparison websites. But as in step one, when looking for coupons it is a good idea to take a look on a regular basis, perhaps once per week, to keep an eye out for things that you might need in the future, rather than just trying to find something that you need now.
Organize a party amongst your friends where you all bring in your old stuff and swap with each other! Alternatively sell you old things that you no longer need or use online and get yourself some extra cash.
Use natural alternatives to brand name cleaning products wherever possible. There are 1000 different ways to do this so I'm not going to list them all here, but a simple Google search will throw up loads of great stuff and if you are willing to put in a bit of extra elbow grease it can save you money.

Budget and Get Financially Organized

A benefit of budgeting is that it helps to get you financially organized. Often when we are in debt a side effect is that we are disorganized with all of the paperwork, bills, and information. Getting on a budget changes that. Here are 3 ways that budgeting gets you financially organized.

1. Wasn't There a Bill for That?

We have all been there, searching for a bill that you have misplaced in the large pile of bills on your desk. Or shoved it into a kitchen drawer only to find it months later. Most people in debt have misplaced their bills or monthly statements on many occasions. Or if they do know where they are those bills have not been opened and still sit in their original envelopes in a big pile of other bills.

But creating a budget will force you to go through those monthly bills and to start organizing them by filing them in folders and placing them as line items on your budget worksheet.

Start by going through your avalanche of bills. Open the envelopes. Pull the bill out and organize them in piles. Group credit cards together in one pile. Utility bills in another. Auto and school loans in a third pile. And so on. Next place those piles into individual folders and stick them in a filing cabinet or hanging folder box.

Finally get those bill amounts and what you owe onto your budget sheet. Then file the bills in your filing system. You will now know where every bill and statement is and it will force you to get organized.

2. Eliminate Paper Waste

Part of getting organized is knowing what to keep - the actual bill statement - but also knowing what to throw out. You do not need the envelope the bill came in. You do not need the return envelope if you pay your bills online. And you do not need all of the ad inserts they stick inside every envelope with the bill statement. Make it a point that when the bill comes in the mail that you open it right away, remove the statement and file it as described in step 1 above, and then throw out all of the remaining paper in hand. Organizing by eliminating the waste will make the whole bill payment process seem easier. And you won't be distracted by all of the extraneous paperwork.

3. Use Bill Pay

Most banks offer a bill pay service. Where you can pay your bills online from your bank's website. Take the bills you have gathered from Steps 1 and 2 and start entering them into your Bill Pay service. Then once or twice a month when you have to pay the bills, pay them all at the same time from that one location. This will save you time. And it will save you the cost of a stamp. Most bill pay sites just require the company name and the account number to set up the service. Some can even be set up to do automatic bill pay.

Also, if your bank does not include the credit card or company you owe money to, then go to that companies own website and take advantage of say a credit card's own online bill pay service. Most credit card companies are capable of taking payment online and will even send you an email confirmation of the transaction.

By taking these steps - gathering up all your bills, eliminating the unnecessary paper waste, filing the statements, filling the amounts in on your budget, and taking advantage of a bill pay service - you will finally get financially organized and will easily be able to erase debt.

How to Write a Budget - How to Calculate Which Debts to Pay Off First

One of the most important ways to achieve financial freedom and erase debt is to write a budget. In writing your budget you need to calculate which debts to pay off first. Let's take a look at the steps to take.

When you write a budget it will have the effect of making you aware of your spending. If you are badly in debt this is probably something you have not been aware of for a long while. Credit card debt, for example, is very often made up of lots of smaller purchases that you have been unconscious of.

Your budget

Gather all of your financial data. This includes all of your sources of income, your bills, bank account and credit card statements.
List your expenses either on paper or on a spreadsheet. These expenses should include your essential commitments such as living expenses, utility bills, food and groceries, loan repayments and transportation.
Other expenses such as entertainment and spending on gifts are more flexible and can be reduced to fit your budget. It would pay to keep a notebook and record everything you spend for over the month.
All expenses are added and then subtracted from your income. If your income covers your expenses with extra available this is known as a surplus. If your expenses exceed income you will have a deficit and must make adjustments to keep your spending in line.
In order to pay off your debt you will need to reduce spending. It is important to reduce where you can.
Any surplus can be paid towards debt.
Your debts

List all debts, noting the balance, the interest rate and the loan payment. Also include who the debt is payable to.
Prioritize your debts. Are any past due? Are creditors making demands? Consider which debts have the highest interest rates. These are your highest priorities.
Pay the minimum on any loan that has the lowest interest rate and always pay on time. Do not miss any payments.
Firstly update the payments that are overdue. Negotiate with the lender if required.
Apply the surplus you have calculated in your budget to the debt with the highest interest rate.
If there is a small loan sometimes it is useful to get that paid up for the satisfaction it brings. Generally you should concentrate on the high interest debt as a priority.
Stop spending on credit card. Do not increase your debt.
Once you have paid off one debt pay the same sum to the next debt. It will get easier.

Christmas Gift Buying on a Budget

Even though the majority of men and women appreciate the spirit of gifting during the Christmas season, it is also a reality that Holiday gift buying can become a major financial encumbrance for many due to today's economy. This is particularly true for individuals who have large families or groups of close friends that they normally exchange gifts with. Christmas gift buying may also become a debt predicament for those who feel obligated to buy costly items for every person on their checklist. Yet, there are strategies to cope with the monetary problem that often results through Holiday shopping. One of the tactics to come to terms with this money challenge is to establish a spending budget in advance. Another approach to deal with the money tension of Holiday store shopping is to make purchases right through the calendar year rather than everything at one time.

Individuals who have problems with the sum of money they may be shelling out on for this Holiday should think of placing a budget on their buying before they commence their shopping adventure. To begin the strategy of setting up a spending budget for The holiday season, it is crucial to first make a checklist of everyone you plan to shop for. This checklist ought to include all of the close friends and loved ones you generally buy presents for along with any co-workers or employees. This list may include your postman or your kid's teachers. You may also want to budget with regard to gifts contributed to toy drives and other charitable groups in the event that you make contributions for these types of events.

Once you have got everyone on your list, there are a few techniques to help you go about creating a spending budget. Maybe the easiest way is to choose how much you plan to spend on Holiday purchases and divide that amount by the quantity people on your list. This will certainly result in a price range in which you are to spend the same amount of money for those fortunate enough to make it on your Christmas shopping list.This particular kind of spending budget technique may be acceptable if you plan on buying similar presents but it might not work out well if you desire to invest in something more unique for a couple of your closest friends or family members.

One particular technique for putting together a Christmas shopping budget is to figure out exactly how much money you may like to invest and then divide the persons into distinctive groups. Some of the groups you may desire to include are good friends and family members, work associates, acquaintances and presents which are bought for individuals you do not know well. When you have got all of the people in your list grouped you can figure out the portion of your overall price range you would most likely spend for each group. For instance you might choose to devote 50% of your overall spending budget on close friends and family members, 25% of your budget on co-workers, 15% of your overall spending budget on acquaintances and the leftover percentage on charities. After that you could use all these numbers to figure out the overall dollar amount of money you will be devoting to each group.

A remaining tactic for establishing an expense plan for your Holiday purchases is to start off by simply identifying how much you plan to spend on a few of the most significant people on your Christmas list. This will most likely consist of your dearest loved ones. Once you established dollar amounts for your dearest loved ones, it is time to separate the remaining amount of funds in your Christmas gift buying spending budget. This can either be carried out randomly by simply dividing the left over sum in your budget by the quantity of individuals left on your checklist or you may continue to go through your checklist choosing a dollar amount for every individual until you achieve your spending budget. If there are still people left on your list you may have to either lower your spending budget or think about removing some individuals from your Christmas shopping list.

Three Easy Ways To Save Money

Living in a recession is not easy. You are never too sure of where to spend money, invest money, or save money. Well, saving money everywhere would be nice but it is never as simple as it sounds. A Texas bankruptcy attorney might be able to help you, but not without a fee. So where do those who cannot afford debt relief do? Well, if there was one right answer for that, there would be no more recession. However, there are lots of little ways you can change the way you live to lighten your financial burned.

The first and biggest money waster people do not realize is food. Whether it is eating out, buying soft-drinks, or buying too many groceries, there are a lot of families who waste thousands of dollars each year on food. When you go to make a grocery list, really examine your cabinets first. Make sure not to purchase something you already have and not to get food that you do not need. If you have three unopened bags of pretzels, do not go purchase goldfish just because they look more appealing. Finish the snacks you have first! If you are an avid diet coke drinker, do not get 20 ounce drinks from the gas station every day. Instead, purchase large packs of cans. This is not a huge switch, but will add up to lots of extra money in your bank account.

Electric bills are another place where people tend to throw money down the drain. Leaving lights on, using too many lights, or leaving electronics on is so common and costs you tons of money. Use energy-efficient light bulbs in major rooms of your home like the kitchen, where lights are most frequently on. If you do not like going to be or leaving the house completely dark, purchase a nightlight or small lamp. They will take up considerably less energy than a regular light from a light switch. When you are not using your home computer, or charging your cell phone, make sure to unplug them. Even when not in direct use, they pull energy from your home. In addition, try to make your home energy-efficient in other ways. Make sure your windows are in good condition and are not letting excess heat out.

Lastly, one of the best ways to save money is to save money on the weekends. Going to the movies, or bowling, or out to eat is fun, but is also expensive. Save those types of outings for every once in a while, and try to make a habit out of less-expensive activities. Board game nights, movie marathons, or video-game nights can be surprisingly more fun that going out somewhere. They are great ways of getting people together, and cost virtually nothing. You may even find yourself getting a bit adventurous once you stop going out as much. Perhaps you will create a scavenger hunt for you and your friends to go on. Believe it or not, adult scavenger hunts can be done and are usually a blast.

Discover How to Stick To Your Budget

It doesn't matter if you're born rich or self-made. Unless you're going to budget your money, you will lose everything you've got. Here's the problem, though: it is so much easier to create a budget list than to stick to it.

Sticking to a budget doesn't have to be such a huge challenge for you. You can begin with the following tips:

1. Make sure you write them.

Create a list of every item your money goes into (such as food, transportation, and bills). Also write down your sources of income. The idea of writing is this: you don't want to forget, and you want to keep track of your expenses. You can also use the information for reference.

2. Take some time to write down your expenses.

Between savings and expenses, it's the spending that eats up a lot of your income. So you don't go overboard or spend more than what you can afford, write down every expense you've made. It doesn't have to take a long time, as long as you're diligent with it. Every time you make a purchase, keep the receipt and write each item down.

3. Consider savings as an expense.

A lot of people tend to consider the remaining money as savings. Usually, the amount isn't enough. Moreover, when the expenses close in on the salary, you have no more savings left. To save, consider it as an expense. This means keep the amount to a bank or a time deposit once you're going to receive your salary.

4. Pay off the bills.

Before you actually do your shopping, make sure you have already paid your bills, including your credit cards and mortgage. Of course, keep some as savings. This way, you can spend your cash any way you want to.

5. Learn to control yourself.

It's very important you can learn how to control your splurges or shopping addiction. It's not going to be easy, especially if you're already used to it. However, subliminal messages may be helpful. Here are some of them:

I can control my shopping urges.
I prioritize my needs over my wants.
I don't need a lot in my life.
I value every penny I receive.

You can repeat these subliminal messages every time you feel the urge. You can also listen to these subliminal messages when you're doing meditation or visualization.

6. Teach others to save.

Educate your children and spouse how to control the expenses. For instance, you may postpone gift giving to kids during Christmas. Opt for hand-me-downs than new clothes, particularly if the former still look okay. Request your spouse to help you prevent hoarding items.

7. Don't live beyond your means.

Your money has its own limitations. Honor it. If you desire so much more, you can learn to cut back on other expenses, look for higher-paying jobs, or accept part-time work as means to increase your income. Nevertheless, take inspiration from millionaires like Warren Buffett. They don't really splurge.

How to Invest Money for Better Returns

We shall be in a position to take the advantage of interest of money. When you are in debt, you need to shell out personal money to pay the interest. When you have invested money for future, your money will grow because of compound interest. That is the way of taking the advantage of compound interest.You shall know the rules of investing money properly. Once you know the rules you can invest in a better way and save money. You can take advantage of the rules only when you are well familiar with them.

We shall not take the money for granted even when it is with you. By respecting the money you can take care of it properly. If you spend money in proper ways like investments it will grow and give you rich dividends. Once you understand the cost of compound interest, you will come out quickly from debt trap. This gives you fortune of money over the future.

Today's world is very much complex and dynamic. We have different choices for each with that you have. We shall choose best option. The financial products around you are unlimited and you can choose some one by weighting its advantages and disadvantages. Some times vendors may not disclose every thing in public and let you know every thing directly. You shall do some background research to identify particular product. We can find a lot of information in the internet and can take the advantage of it. In the previous days as it is difficult to pull the information about products, the lender has advantage. But now the advantage goes in favour of customer.

We shall not be more concerned about making more money. Instead of this we all plan about investing the money that we earning right now. We shall be efficient in investing the money that we already have.

To know the full opportunities around you, you shall have the basic knowledge and you need to spend time to get this knowledge. We shall be in the process of learning over the time. As the time progress we also understand the principles more clearly. It may be impossible to know all issues around you with deep knowledge, but getting the basics is not that much difficult. If you know where to find the information when circumstances demands, it will help you to take better decisions.

You can go through all the documents provided by the company about a product, you can understand what is on the offer. For example, by knowing the tax rules you can learn the way of saving money. Rather completely depending on the auditor, you can plan about savings to protect yourself from tax bracket.