How to Own Your Finances; A Novice’s Guide to Money Management

If you are just starting off with your first pay check, rent, bills and other financial obligations, you’ll want to be more responsible with your cashflow. This will not only improve your credit score for possible loans in the future, but help you prepare better for post-retirement life.

Not everybody is good with money. But financial responsibility can be learned. In this post, we’ll be discussing a few ways to help you manage your money better.

  1. Set up a budget

Setting up a budget is the first step to taking control of your finances. Sure, it may require some work, but it is a smart way to get an overview of money coming in and money going out. Simply put, a budget is an organised table of your cashflow; how you earn versus how you spend. You can also use a budget to set up limits for your expenditure.

With a good budget, you are:

  • More likely to have a good credit score
  • More likely to qualify for a loan or mortgage
  • Less likely to be in debt
  • Less likely to be caught unawares by unexpected costs


  1. Getting everybody involved

If you live in a household with other occupants, you should organise how the expenses are managed. Discuss the energy usage, each member’s contribution, total household budget and so on. You will also want to set up a plan that everybody can abide by.

Calculate the total spending more from the income and agree to the role each person will play in the money management. A well-managed household is a financially comfortable one.

  1. Reducing your household bills and mortgage

Household bills make up asignificant part of our spending. If we adopt certain responsible behaviours, we can control the amount we spend. There are technological applications that help keep people a tab on their money.  Online financial apps thismake it easy because they are designed to be both efficient and user-friendly.

The app helps you monitor your savings each time you earn by reminding you to put aside a percentage of your income. It also helps people make quick transfers between accounts, and when to pay up your monthly outstanding.



  1. Pay off loans and credit cards

If you owe money on credit cards or have loans, it is logical to pay of the debts with the highest interest rates first. Some examples are:

  • Credit cards
  • Store cards which usually charge high interest rates
  • Bank personal loans which usually charge a lower interest rate than store cards or credit cards

Be careful to avoid go against the term and conditions. So, if you intend to pay down on another debt, pay at least the monthly required payments on any loan agreements and the minimum (at least) on any credit cards.

  1. Set a savings goal

Many people find it difficult to save. But setting a savings goal can motivate you to achieve this. How much should you save from your income? The 50/30/20 rule is always a good standard. Start with emergency funds, what else do you need? A retirement savings account, deposit for a mortgage or a new car? When you specify your goal, it becomes a lot easier.

These are just a few tips, but they can help you start off on the right step to becoming more financially responsible.

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Saving Your Health: 5 Things You Need to Do When You Have Medical Bills Coming

There will come a time. Sooner or later, you will need money fast. Car repairs, broken down appliance, or a medical emergency with mounting bills, you don’t have the cash at hand—or the credit record to get a slow process loan.

That’s the day you reach for a “signature loan.” defines it as “a type of unsecured term loan… as a good faith loan or character loan.” You put up no collateral, and your promise makes it all good.

5 Things You Need to Do

US News warns, “Unpaid medical bills often end up scarring your credit report, which can then impact your finances down the road. “

It starts a depressing circle where the medical bills hurt your credit and you, then, find it difficult to get a mortgage, credit card, or automobile financing.

  1. Get a fix. Things may not be as pad as they seem at first. Once you are past the shock of the bill, you should take some time to cool off. With a worksheet, you can better assess your assets, obligations, and budget.

With a plan on the table, you can lay out possible approaches to paying off the debt You might move other payments around or educe a payment here or there.

  1. Talk to the biller. Medical billing is often inaccurate. Sometimes, you first bill does not reflect ongoing insurance solutions. So, contact the creditor to review the billing accuracy and detail. The Fair Credit Practices Act (FCPA) entitles you to current and accurate accounting.

If you foresee difficulty paying the bill, you should communicate that and discuss any breaks available and clarify the timeline on the payable.

  1. Request an payment plan. If you know their timeline and your financial plan, you can request a payment plan. Some providers may be willing to work out an interest-free payment plan to fulfill the obligation within their timeframe and your budget.

The medical office has no obligation to cooperate, but they usually have the flexibility to work things out to your mutual advantage.

  1. Freeze your spending. Once you prioritize the payments that must be paid and those you can shave some cost off the top, you get a better grasp of the hole you are in.

If you share your personal problems, your budget situation, and your willingness to cooperate, medical billers will usually find the way to set you up.

  1. Borrow the money. A lender like Milwaukee’s stands ready to lend you the money quickly without your providing collateral. It’s the Easy Loan Store putting cash in your hands without undue process and delay.

You complete an online application, and they call you to discuss the loan, terms, and details. Once the loan is approved, you pick up the cash at the local King of Kash store or have them deposit it your bank account.

Saving for your health costs

A signature loans beats a payday loan or title loan. It’s not tied to your payday or your auto title. You get immediate funding and fixed monthly payments that help you budget your future. And, you can borrow up to $3,000!






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Facing These Start-up Roadblocks Can be a Challenge. Here’s What You Should Do

Start-ups face the same challenges over and over again and that is because many don’t figure out the appropriate solutions before the problems start. Starting a new business from scratch is definitely not a smooth ride, but you can make it less challenging for yourself when you know precisely what to do. So what are the most common problems start-ups face and how should they solve them even before they start?

Attaining Visibility

Marketing is the bane of any business, especially a start-up. For new businesses, there is no brand recognition at all. To make matters worse, your budget is likely limited and chances are the market is competitive.

What to do:

The truth is brand recognition will not come at the snap of a finger. You have put good work into it and good money too. Thankfully, the Internet has made a lot of things easier, so you might want to focus more on marketing on the web. Hire a professional writer to produce quality content that will project your brand as it needs to be.

Scaling up

Let’s say you finally kicked off and have been running okay for a while and it is time to scale up. While money is an important requirement for scaling up as needed, it is not the only concern. It’s important that you have the appropriate infrastructure right from the start to enable you scale up when you need to. From technology to administration, there is so much involved in scaling up and it helps to plan for it right from the start.

What to do:

Start when you are planning the launch of your business to plan for what happens when you scale up and how you intend to scale up. That could mean choosing a hosting service that allows you to scale easily or keeping and maintaining international contacts that may be useful in the future when you want to expand to other countries.

Finding the right people

Yes, there are quite a number of people out there who can fit perfectly into the kind of employees you are looking for, however, the problem is finding them. Any start-up will admit that the process of finding the right people to join their team is a particularly daunting task, especially since a lot of people may not be too eager to get jump on a start-up because there is less security.

What to do:

The first step is to know precisely the skills you are looking for. Then, instead of trying to make sense of the recruitment world yourself, use an agency that knows what it is doing. Not only will this save you time, but it will save you from making serious mistakes that will have a negative impact on your business.


It is good that you are researching this topic as you can save yourself a lot of trouble if you prepare adequately for the challenges that come the future. Keep learning and keep growing.

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Separating Fact From Fiction: What Can You Really Expect From Premium Economy

It is never wise to make your own assumptions about what you might be getting when you pay for an upgrade as not all premium deals are created equal, and that is definitely the case when it comes to airline upgrades.


Here are is a look at some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding premium economy upgrades to help you decide whether it is worth spending a bit more when you consider what you are really getting for the money.


Uniformity is not an option


If you book a certain grade of room at somewhere like a JW Marriott Resort with Spa you can be confident that your expectations are likely to be met but that is not the scenario you often face when it comes to the airline industry’s interpretation of what premium economy means and what you get.


If you are happy to accept the line that premium economy is much the same across all the different airlines you are going to be in for a rude awakening with some of the “perks” you get offered for taking the upgrade option.


You can expect extra legroom and you might get a slightly wider seat with a bit more of a comfortable recline, but there no specific industry standards to rely on, which means each premium economy offer is going to vary between airlines.


Whether you are on a domestic or international flight can also make a substantial difference to the extra amenities and facilities you get offered as part of your upgrade.


Believe it or not, it is even possible that enhanced food options can mean an extra bag of peanuts rather than a better menu, so always ask exactly what you are going to get before you pay for an upgrade.


Pick your perks


Having recovered from the shock of discovering that premium economy varies so greatly it is time to get a bit more discerning about what perks are worth having and which ones are worth the price of the upgrade.


A nice fluffy pillow and a comfortable blanket can help you settle into your seat with a greater degree of comfort but probably more of interest if you are taking a business flight is the option of free in-flight Wi-Fi.


Buying Wi-Fi access can be expensive, so if it comes as part of the premium economy package that is worth having. Other perks to look out for that do add value to the premium price is the option of priority check-in and a more generous baggage allowance.

A fair price comparison


The basic advice is to treat each premium economy offer on its own merits and decide whether you are getting value for money if you decide to pay more for your ticket.


If you can manage to find a premium economy seat for a price that is not much more expensive than the regular coach option, it is probably going to be worth it.


When the price of premium economy starts creeping up nearer double the cost of economy, that might be the point where you decide to sit and suffer in coach or bite the bullet by going business class.


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How Your Family Can Save A Ton Of Money Without Changing Your Lifestyle

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could have exactly the same lifestyle you have now (if not better) and save even more money than before? That’s what this quick and effective guide is aiming to help you do. You still want to live an enjoyable, comfortable life with your family, but you don’t want to have to make sacrifices to save money. Here are the tips you can use:

Assess Your Spending
Take a long look at your spending and figure out where you can save. For instance, many families buy way too many groceries and end up wasting them!

Always Make A List
Always make a list whatever type of shopping you’re doing, and think about big purchases carefully. Waiting a few weeks is a good timeframe to allow yourself to figure out if the purchase is a good idea or not.

Have Set Budgets And Dates
Have a set budget for your food shop, a set budget for pocket money, a set budget for petrol, etc. Don’t just spend as you go along. Budgeting doesn’t mean struggling to get by, it means being smart!

Find Clever Ways To Save On The Biggest Bills
Take a look at your biggest bills and find smart ways to save on them. For example, turning your thermostat down by a degree or two and changing the lightbulbs in your home can make a world of difference! Then you have your car to consider – would buying or leasing be a cheaper option for you? Which makes more sense for your lifestyle?

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6 Ways Your Family Can Reduce Monthly Outgoings Right Now

Lots of families will struggle for money at some point. That is because the job market is less than stable, and anything can happen. Also, plenty of people make poor financial decisions and end up with debts they can’t pay. When that occurs, it can seem like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. However, there are many strategies people could use to turn the situation around and get their families back on track. Considering that, read this article carefully and see if any of the suggestions appeal to you. These methods tend to work well, and there should be at least one excellent idea below.



Switch energy supplier


Most homeowners pay more than they should for electricity and gas because they fail to change provider every twelve months. Either that or they use too much power and fail to monitor their carbon footprint. Anyone who wants to reduce their outgoings just needs to use some comparison sites to find the best deals. There are lots of different domains that compare prices from multiple specialists to ensure customers get the best rates possible. The process should take no longer than a few minutes, and the power companies will perform all the hard work. If you currently use an electricity metre, it’s vital to switch to a monthly pay deal as soon as possible. In most instances individuals just have to:


  • Visit a price comparison site
  • Enter personal details
  • Take a look at the results
  • Contact the cheapest supplier



Swap your credit cards


Many folks also make mistakes when it comes to the interest rates on their credit card debt. Lots of companies offer excellent introductory deals that mean individuals won’t pay any interest on the money they owe for the first twelve months. So, it’s possible to reduce the bills you pay considerably for the next year. Just be sure the deal you select allows balance transfers because that’s how you’ll get rid of the old cards. Also, read the small print because some lenders hide valuable information there. Again, there are comparison sites that will compare offers from all the major credit card suppliers. So, you just have to follow the same process you did when swapping to a different energy firm.



Downsize your property


Some people struggle to meet their financial responsibilities because they have to pay an extortionate mortgage. Maybe you changed career recently, and now you don’t earn as much as you did before? Whatever the problem, the last thing anyone wants to do is default on the debt and lose their home. It’s much better to sell the property and move somewhere a little cheaper. Be sure to use a mortgage calculator next time to ensure you understand how much cash you will have to find every month. Some folks might consider renting a home, but that’s a terrible move because you will throw money down the drain. Just look for properties that are:


  • Cheap
  • Located outside of popular areas
  • Meet the needs of the family



Get rid of that second car


Being a two-car family is somewhat of a status symbol these days. Indeed, that is why so many couples have more than one vehicle parked in their driveways today. Still, it costs a small fortune to keep the second automobile on the road, and so you should get rid of it as soon as possible if you want to save money. Families that use two cars have to pay insurance, tax, and fuel costs twice! That doesn’t make sense if you find it difficult to pay other bills at the moment. The only downside to selling the second car is that you might have to wake up a little earlier in the morning to get the kids to school and commute to work. However, that is a small price to pay if it means you have lots of extra cash in your accounts at the end of the month, right?



Consolidate your debts


At some point, homeowners might reach a point where they can’t make payments on their bills and debts. When that happens, it’s vital that you don’t bury your head in the sand because things will only get worse. You need to tackle the issue head-on as soon as you can for the best outcomes. Consolidating your debts is a fantastic option that could stop you from getting into too much trouble. Anyone who wants to do that just has to:


  • Make a list of all the debts
  • Get in touch with a consolidation specialist
  • Sign a new repayment deal
  • Keep to the repayments


In most instances, debt consolidation deals will last for around five years. Those who don’t manage to pay the entire balance within that time will get the rest of the money they owe written off. Of course, that is the last resort, and if you fail to make the repayments, you stand to lose everything.



Consider bankruptcy


Lastly, it’s important to note that bankruptcy is always an option. In fact, it’s sometimes the best solution for people who don’t own property. Those with few assets stand to lose very little during the bankruptcy process. Indeed, sometimes the procedure comes to an end in less than twelve months, and the individuals get a fresh start. Of course, you should do everything possible to avoid that situation, but sometimes there is no alternative. Those who want to declare themselves bankrupt will have to:


  • Pay a fee
  • Make a list of all debts
  • Hand bank accounts over to the authorities
  • Follow all instructions from the receiver


Just bear in mind that anyone who owns property or who has assets will lose them. Anything worth money will go to auction to help cover the outstanding debts.


Those six ideas should help anyone who’s struggling to make the right decisions. There is often a method of getting out of debt and reducing monthly outgoings that won’t require bankruptcy. However, that concept is mentioned here today because it’s vital that everyone understands money problems are not the end of the world. In some instances, creditors might make people bankrupt when they don’t receive payments. It’s nowhere near as bad as it sounds, and so there is no reason to stress. Still, the other suggestions should assist most people in avoiding that final solution.


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Getting On The Road To Recovering And Saving Financially

When you’re in a downward spiral financially, finding the brake pedal can be like finding a needle in a haystack. It’s not often that you get into a situation where you need to get out of debt, so many people aren’t prepared. Even if you don’t have savings to help you through a rough time, knowledge is the best currency. Knowing how to save money regularly and using all the available options to you is the only way forward. The task is made even more complicated when you want to repair your image once you’ve climbed your way out of debt. Unfortunately, in the modern world of finance, your reputation can be seen by anyone in the industry who has the authority. You’re more likely to be refused a loan and treated with kiddie gloves by banks and companies if they see you haven’t made tangible progress. You can make a few choices to start on the road back to recovery.




Ask for payment records


When you’re in debt, the last thing on your mind is asking the company or the bank to make sure they’re keeping a record of your repayments. Your aim is to just get the money in on time and make sure that the interest rate is not suffocating your lifestyle. However, once you’re in the clear, one of the things you can do to make a record that you’re no longer in debt and living a more responsible and trustworthy life is to ask for these records. You can either email or phone up your bank or loan company, which will, in turn, send you paperwork that shows the dates, amounts and extra money that you paid in order to be cleared of the debt. In future, you can use these records that as evidence, when asked by banks and loan companies to show you are responsible and that you do have enough self-discipline not to let this happen again.


Photo by Chris Potter


Repairing credit scores


Whenever you go to take out a mortgage or large long-term loans, you’ll always be subject to a harsh financial background check. This will determine if the bank or company, will feel comfortable lending you the money, and knows that they can see return payments being made on time. If you’ve been through a rough patch before but have since turned a page, that record can still affect your likelihood of getting out a mortgage for a new home purchase. To find the best ways of patching up your reputation, visit, where you’ll be able to read in-depth reviews and use modern techniques to help build up your credit score again. Some strategies are great for a short-term boost, but most others take meticulous planning and dedication for a longer period of time. However, if you stick with them, you can wipe the slate clean and start again.
Repairing your financial record is sometimes a matter of honor. You may want to show any future lender or bank that you have made payments to clear any outstanding debt, and have done so in a controlled and reliable fashion. Requesting your payment records is the evidence that can show this. However, repairing your credit score can sometimes only happen after you’ve read a detailed review of the many different credit repair companies.  
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Who Should You Trust For Financial Advice?



Financial advice can be a difficult minefield to navigate. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the best way to manage money, but there doesn’t seem to be a correct ‘way’ that works for everyone. Some people prefer to build up their savings; others think that paying down their mortgage early is essential. Despite those methods working for them, there is always contrary advice — even just in those two examples. Mark Cuban told it’s not a good idea to save money; advise against paying your mortgage off early. You can’t win!


So given the plethora of differing advice out there, who should you trust?


Below, let’s run through some of the most common sources for advice about financial management, and decide once and for all whether they should be trusted with such sensitive matters.


Financial Advisors


Provided your financial adviser is independent, then yes, they should be trustworthy. The ‘independent’ requirement is very important, though. If a financial advisor is little more than a salesperson trying to sell you products, then they’re not going to always do what’s 100% right for your finances.


Expert Websites


The internet has made financial information all the more accessible, which has meant that thousands more people are able to take charge of their finances than ever before. However, there’s no doubt that there’s some poor quality information out there too.


For the most part, a website should be judged on how specific it is. If it’s a site that’s trying to cover all manner of topics, then it’s possibly best avoided. Sites like, for example, make clear what their focus is — repairing your credit score if you have existing bad credit. That’s a good thing; it leaves more room for their expertise. However, bigger sites that try to cover hundreds of different financial topics might be best avoided — there could be ‘jack of all trades’ situations developing in their content.


Your Bank


While your bank might be the most developed financial relationship that you have, the chances are they’re not the best source of financial advice. The problem is simple: your bank is going to try and sell you products and/or services that they produce. That means they’re unlikely to give you the best advice for you personally; no bank is going to say “well we can offer you this, but other banks can do a much better deal!”. So it’s best to do your own research on what’s available, rather than trusting the word of your bank.


Your Friends & Family


While friends and family are a good source of advice on various subjects, it’s unlikely their financial advice is as spot-on as you might hope. If you know someone who manages their finances with rigorous precision, then of course you should try and soak up some of their experiences. General advice and opinions are often best ignored though; you have to figure out the right next steps for you and your family.


By being able to take the right advice from the right sources, your family finances should be in fine shape in no time at all.
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Are you Self-Employed? Know the Different Types of Pension Choices Available for You

The number of self-employed people in the UK has been on a steady-rise in the last 15 years.  In fact, economic analysts agree that this group, made up of nearly 5 million people, is keeping the economy afloat. However, there are concerns that self-employed people in the UK are not helping their pension pots in the way they have helped the UK economy.

Research shows that only 17 per cent of the self-employed group are consistently contributing to a pension pot. Some of the reasons quoted as the cause of the apathy towards pension savings include confusion about the importance of contributing to a pension, confusion about possible tax breaks and confusion about flexibility. Most self-employed people have fluctuating incomes so they are less open to any scheme that has an air of a lack of flexibility.

If you are in this group, the good news for you is that saving for retirement is more straightforward than you may have imagined. If you already have a system for managing your finances as a self-employed person, you should be able to easily build a pension pot. The different types of pension plans available to you are covered below:

Self-Invested Personal Pension

With a self-invested personal pension, you can choose where your money will be invested and your level of risk-tolerance. This means you can generate higher returns.

However, this pension type is best suited for people that are fully knowledgeable about the pension process. Apart from the complexities surrounding choosing how your pension is invested, the charging structures in place with many providers are complex. The charges are made up of terms like headline management fee, payment transfers, fees for trading and more. This is why research is doubly important before going this route.

Stakeholder Pensions

A stakeholder pension is a straightforward defined contributions pension scheme. It is one of the best plans for anyone with irregular income because you can make as little as £20 payments each month. If you want to increase your contributions or hold off on contributions for a particular month, there are no charges or penalties to worry about. Additionally, this pension type is based on minimum standards set by government so the charges are some of the lowest you can find.

On the flip side, you won’t be able to determine where your funds are invested. However, this is in keeping with the focus of the pension plan, which is simplicity. Your funds will be invested low risk vehicles with lower returns but you won’t have to worry about the investment details.

With these two options, you can decide on a pension today.

Self-Employed? Why You Should Set up Your Pension Plan Now

A pension holds many benefits for you even as a self-employed person. You may not have an employer making any contributions, but you can still enjoy Income Tax Relief.  This means getting a quarter of your contributions sent to your pensions pot directly from the HMRC. So by the time you have paid in £1000 as a basic rate tax payer to your pension pot, the HMRC would have paid in another £250.

Finally, starting early is vital. The longer the money stays invested before your retirement, the higher your chances of benefitting from compounding.


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Saving Starts With Spending: Top Tips for Tracking Your Daily Expenses

Somehow, you can’t work out where all the money goes. You’ve got a reasonably good job, and you don’t live in Beverly Hills, but your debts creep up and there never seems to be any money. The problem, probably, is that you are not using the “b” word. Getting control of your finances nearly always starts with a budget.


Chicken or Egg


It’s so difficult to know which comes first—making the budget or living by it. Logically it is obvious that making the budget comes first, but gathering the information you need takes time, and while you’re doing it the spending goes ahead.


Making a proper budget is a long-term process, but that doesn’t stop you setting up an interim one. One month is probably all you need to gather the information that will get you started. After that, you can make the first draft, although it will take at least a year to identify where all the money goes as quarterly, annual, and one-off costs are added.


Ins or Outs


For most people, it is relatively easy to work out what comes in each month. Being clear about what goes out takes longer. The more you pay by credit or debit card, the more information you have at your fingertips. Whenever you pay cash, keep a receipt or write it down in a notebook—nerdish but useful!


At the end of the month gather the statements and receipts, and analyze your spending into categories: groceries, gas, meals out, utilities, mortgage, savings, etc. Compare the monthly income with the expenses. If the expenses are greater, it is time to look for areas where you can cut costs.


Cash or Card


Once you have set yourself a budget, sticking to it requires constant monitoring. As you began in the first month, so you must continue for every subsequent month. If you can check each week how you are doing, so much the better.


Credit cards may seem like symbols of profligate irresponsibility, but they can be a real ally if you use them wisely. Every month you have a convenient list of your spending, which you can then analyze under headings. Some cards even do the job for you by assigning each payment to a category. With a shared account couples can keep watch over their joint spending. Try this website to compare available cards.


Cash still has its place. Its best use is to decide at the start how much money you can afford to spend on “luxuries” like coffees and lunches out. Put that amount in your wallet as cash and when it is gone, you stop buying until next month. It’s an effective way to get under control the money that can easily melt away.


Start or Delay


There is probably only one good time to start living on a budget, and that is today. Like many things, it seems like hard work to begin with, but by the time it has become a habit you will only notice the benefits.

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Easy ways to save money and budget it better as a family

Most families are on the lookout for ways to save money, but oftentimes there’s just too much going on to think about saving, which causes budgeting to go haywire and affect the entire family’s financial future.

The problem is that most money-saving tips require a full lifestyle overhaul in order to see a return. Whether it’s converting to a more sustainable lifestyle or removing precious family vacations, some families simply might not be willing to make such sacrifices that frugal living often requires.

If you currently live in a rented home and looking to buy your own place as a family, then saving money with the goal of investing in a Lendlease Brisbane housing and land or other great suburban communities is a good idea. Most housing projects are now developed near the CBD, boasting complete amenities/facilities for families.

These are some of the simple things you can do to ease your monthly finances and start saving.


Shop smart. A more organised shopping list will save you a LOT of money. You may be doing this already, but are you doing it right? Start by listing items you have to buy, then bring an envelope filled with coupons if you have them. Decide a maximum budget you’ll spend and shop early in the week when stores are least crowded. Crowds mean added stress that isn’t good for budget-conscious shoppers.

Unsubscribe to services you don’t really need. Here’s where your potential is unlimited since most of us are subscribed to services that we barely use, sometimes not even at all. Consider cancelling a hardly used gym membership one year, or your land line telephone service, how about the cable TV subscription if you can live with the free local channels? You could end up saving around a $100 monthly, and it can add up over the years.

Refrain from buying off the shelf. Incessant and splurge buying is sometimes considered normal in a way. Well, not with families who want to save. Anytime you feel tempted to buy something costly, do your homework first. For starters, surf the web to see who has the item priced lower, or if sales are coming up.  You should also check the manufacturer’s website to see if any coupons are available. If you’re patient, you can buy the same item second hand.

Take advantage of rewards programs. These days many companies offer rewards programs as part of their marketing efforts. Sign up for them when you can and keep tabs of what’s sales are happening in the local market or shopping outlets.

Prefer driving over flying. Don’t let the ease of travelling by air prohibit you from saving money. If the trip is within a few hundred miles, then consider driving. Say you have a family of four, just think about the savings you get from not having to book for four.

Where to invest your family’s savings. There are many ways you can invest the money you spent as a family. One option is investing in stocks (which can be learned and done online), properties, jewelleries and education.

Of course, there are tons of ways to save money and manage your finances better as a family. Start with the above suggestions and then go out your way to look for other strategies. Best of luck!

What other ways have you found to let your family save money?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

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Making a Good Start: Preparing Your Finances for a Family

As an expectant parent, there will be a lot of things you’re trying to get your head around, from how you’re going to juggle your work when the baby arrives, to what on earth an epidural anesthesiology is.

But have you considered your finances?

Recent figures released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have revealed some astonishing things! Up to the age of 17, it costs the average middle-class family $170,460 to raise a baby that’s born now. If a family’s income is more than $65,800, this figure jumps to $249,180. And that’s without taking college expenses into consideration, which can average $11,976 per year for public schools and $26,070 at private ones.

However, by doing a bit of planning before the baby arrives, you can make sure you’re not caught out with your finances – both now, and in the future.

Consider Your Current Budget and What You Might Need

If you’ve already got a budget plan in place – great. But if you haven’t, now’s the time to sit down and analyze your spending habits. Having a budget in place can really help you take control of your finances, especially before your baby arrives.

Because of how much your budget will change once your baby’s born, you’ll ideally want to settle your debts if you can. This will allow you to meet the costs of diapers, clothes, bedding, strollers, cribs, and so on, which can soon add up over time. However, in a lot of cases, you will start to save money in other areas, as you won’t be going out as much and you might not go on vacations as frequently.

Furthermore, if you need a bit of help getting all of the essentials together for your baby – why not hold a baby shower? Have a list of things you need and invite family members and friends along who can help contribute to your baby fund.

Make Sure You’ve Got Enough Saved Up for Emergencies

Even though it’s a daunting prospect, you’re soon going to be responsible for someone else other than yourself. So, to reduce how much pressure is on your shoulders, plan ahead for all eventualities.

Emergencies aren’t something we want to think about, but they can happen. Therefore, it’s a good idea to consider adding life insurance to your monthly expenditure if you haven’t already. This will help provide financial stability for you baby should the worst happen. Equally, you might want to consider health insurance, which will cover medical expenses and doctor’s bills; and disability insurance, which will keep your head above water if you’re suddenly unable to work.

Another key part of preparing for emergencies is having a savings account in place. In general, this should cover about three to six months’ worth of your outgoings, helping to reduce any financial pressure that might arise in an emergency.

Finally, don’t forget that, no matter how young they are, your children will learn their financial habits from you. So, get into those good habits now before your baby arrives, and commit yourself to creating a good financial budget and plan that you’ll stick to.


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Family Financial Planning: $15K a Year Can Cover It

Bringing a child into the world is no small decision. Aside from the whole responsibility that goes hand in hand with creating a human life and making sure turns into a happy healthy adult, becoming a parent is also a big financial decision. According to the US Department of Agriculture, middle-income families can expect to pay around $15k per year to raise a child, which is a lot more than many people anticipate when they make the decision to start a family.


Budget, Budget, Budget


Making a budget and sticking to it is really important. While you can’t always account for incidentals like a hospital visit or unexpected home repairs, avoiding overspending on food or personal items really adds up over time. Use an app like to help you keep track of your day to day finances. Even small things like a coffee or a lunch out here and there can add up over time. Start small and put away a few dollars each day, it’ll be empowering when you start to see the benefits.


Consider a 529 Plan


529 plans are college savings accounts that are available in all 50 states. The minimum balance to open an account is only $25, and you can put away money whenever possible to invest in your child’s future. The plans are tax-advantaged and anyone can contribute—so friends and family who feel generous can throw a few bucks in to celebrate a birthday or other milestone.


Consider a Flexible Spending Plan for Healthcare Expenses


Flexible spending plans allow you to put a little money aside each month, or each pay period and come with pre-tax savings as a further incentive. These plans supplement your insurance, and cover things like hospital visits, copays, eye exams or other services, though the specifics vary depending on your plan. There are also some limits as to how much you or your partner can contribute. Check for more specifics.


Get a Handle on Your Debts


Hopefully, you’ve gotten a chance to pay down your debts. Ditch your credit cards and learn to consolidate your loans. While in an ideal world, we’d all be starting a family without any debt weighing us down. Consider that you may need to lower your payments to fit your child into your budget.


Get Life Insurance


Few things are less pleasant to think about than planning what happens after your death, but as a new parent, you want to prepare for the absolute worst. If you are the family breadwinner, you’ll need to purchase life insurance and name your child as the beneficiary. You’ll also want to figure out when your child or partner would inherit the money after your death.


Communicate with Your Partner


This is a big one. If you are raising your kids with a partner, you’ll need to get on the same page regarding spending priorities. Even if you have separate accounts, planning a monthly budget regarding child raising costs is a critical element to your financial success and the success of your relationship.


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Advantages and Disadvantages of Applying for Reverse Mortgages


There are many great reasons to apply for a reverse mortgage, but there are also some potential disadvantages and complications associated with them. It’s important for you to know both the good and bad sides of what you may be getting into when you sign a home equity conversion mortgage (HECM), as opposed to a standard home loan agreement. Here are some things to consider, both positive and negative, before you make your final decision.



HECM Closing Costs and Interest Fees Can be Confusing and Increase Over Time

One thing to be aware of is that home equity conversion mortgages have closing costs and associated fees. They are not fee-free. However, you won’t pay those fees out of your own pocket. Instead, they will be subtracted from the amount of money you receive from the loan.


As for interest fees, those increase as time passes. So, while you won’t have to make any monthly payments, the amount you owe in the end will be much higher than the amount you borrowed in the beginning. That is something that you need to anticipate and prepare for before you ever sign a loan agreement for a reverse mortgage.


The Amount You Can Borrow with a Reverse Mortgage May be Lower Than Expected

Even though reverse mortgages are home equity conversion loans, not all of the equity can be changed into spendable money. But what is a reverse mortgage borrowing limit and how is it calculated? It is an amount set according to the law that is designed to keep you from having to pay back more than a certain amount and protect lenders from loaning too much money to any one borrower. It means that you’re only going to get a percentage of your home’s equity converted to cash. The exact amount you will be eligible for depends on the appraised value of your home, how old you are, and other factors that the lender can outline for you.


Reverse Mortgages Offer Low Default Risks

One of the nicest advantages of a reverse mortgage is that you can’t default on it easily. A regular mortgage requires you to make monthly payments. When you miss one the lender can threaten you with default notices. Eventually they can actually take your home and assets.


It is possible to default on a reverse loan like this, but not easily. You don’t have to make any monthly payments, so there is no way to “miss” a payment. The only way you can generally default is by moving out of your home. Even if you do move, the lender can only sell your home and keep the amount of the proceeds that is equal to what you owe. The rest of the money goes to you. If there is no money remaining and there is still a balance on the mortgage, you don’t have to worry. The lender can’t attack any of your other assets, just the home itself.


You Can Live in Your Home as Long as You Wish

Some elderly people choose to sell their homes, move into small apartments or assisted living facilities, and use the money to help their families. But a reverse loan gives you the chance to use the money the way you want and still keep your large home and your independence. You can live there as long as you wish because you will still be the owner of the property. You don’t have to pay rent to anyone or worry about your home possibly being taken away.


You Can Receive Loan Payments on Your Own Time Schedule

Finally, keep in mind that a reverse mortgage can be customized for your needs in terms of the payment schedule. You can get a credit line, annuity, or lump sum. You can collect payments each month for a set number of months or permanently. It all depends on how much equity you need to convert at the time of the application versus over a long period of time for purposes like paying monthly bills.










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3 Tips for Teaching Your Kids About Credit

Of all the lessons you teach your children as you’re raising them within your home, how to manage money may be the lesson that can have the most impact on their ability to be self-sufficient once they leave the comfort of your nest.

However, because money is often such a taboo topic, even within familial ties, many parents find it hard to know how to talk about money with their kids, especially when it comes to complicated and confusing topics like credit. So to help you prepare your children for the world outside, here are three tips for teaching your kids about credit.

Explaining What Credit Is

The concept of credit can be hard to explain to your kids, especially if they don’t quite understand basic financial principles yet. For this reason, Real Simple suggests first explaining what credit is by talking about earning money, borrowing money, and repaying money.

If these ideas are understood, the idea of credit shouldn’t be too hard to convey. To help teach these principles, you may even want to go over your own credit report with your child to show them examples of how to use credit and what goes into a credit score.

Understanding Buying Decisions

Knowing what you can afford is a great financial lesson to teach children. However, this lesson often becomes more convoluted when credit is involved. Because you don’t have to have the physical money on your person to use a credit card, buying decisions can often be easily influenced when using credit.

That’s why, according to LaToya Irby, a contributor to, it’s important to teach your children how to make good purchasing decisions when using credit. Show them that just because something may seem like a necessity or a good deal at the time doesn’t mean it’s worth risking your credit over.

Talking About Debt

When discussing credit, you also have to discuss debt. Your child should understand that if they can’t adequately manage the credit they’re given, they could end up with crippling debt. But while debt is something to be aware of, Tim Chen, a contributor to U.S. News and World Report, reminds us that not all debt is bad.

It could also be beneficial for your child to learn that some debt is necessary and important for building your credit score, like acquiring a home loan, car loan, or student loan. Too much fear of debt can be just as harmful to your child’s financial future as not enough fear of debt, so make sure you do your best to give them a balanced education.

If you’ve been considering talking to your child about credit, use the tips mentioned above to ensure they understand what credit it, how to use it, and how to manage it wisely.

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