Steps to help you make, and keep a budget

Budgeting isn’t fun, and the very idea of it has discouraged most of us from even trying. However, having and following a budget is essential for our future, and easy when you know how to do it. Savings offer both instant, and long term rewards. Whether you already have a budget that isn’t working out for you, or you’re looking to start as a beginner, there’s no better time than the present to create a budget for you and your family.

– Your first step should be to prioritize. Depending on your age, career, lifestyle and other contributing factors, you may find some areas of the budget more important than others. For example, adults will find retirement planning much more crucial, where as individuals straight from college may be focused on paying off student loans. For this reason, this should be your first step. Determine how and where you’ll be dividing your money, such as with a savings, retirement fund, vacation fund, credit and other debts etc.

– Your next step should involve solid numbers. Collect the information you need, and make some concrete numbers you’ll be working. Begin with summing up your income, including your salary and any other money you receive on a strict monthly basis. Then, compare this with your average monthly expenses, including bills, rent, living expenses etc. Not all bills will be consistent, which means you’ll have to estimate and over shoot to be sure.

– Once you’ve worked out the concrete basics, you can start figuring out how to cut back and have more available at the end of each month. The easiest way to is to determine what unnecessary spending you do every month, which can be documented easily by using a debt card for all purchases, and avoiding cash. Having a paper trail to look at makes it obvious as to just how much you’re spending on coffee, snacks, and other expenses you could be avoiding. This can also involve calling your credit card companies and asking for fees to be waved, or other money saving techniques.

– Once you’ve determined how much money you have left over after expenses, you can determine how much you will set aside in a savings. If you don’t already have a savings, it’s advised you begin with an emergency fund. This is a savings everyone should have, and should contain several thousand that must be left untouched. An emergency may be unexpected auto repair bills, medical bills, etc. These funds can be used to help you keep your budget on track, and should be replenished as soon as possible.

– Sticking to your budget is much harder than starting one, which is why it’s important we take the time and effort to see it through. The best way to do this is to document all your spending and income, and always contribute to your savings funds every month. Always be looking for ways to save, whether it’s buying food on sale, or walking rather than driving as often as possible.

This post was authored by Holly Adams, who works for Coupon Croc. Check them out for discount codes on more than 2,000 stores.

The Who What When Where and Why of Getting Cash for Gold

Since the devastating recession of the American economy in the winter of ’07-’08, the battle cry of the average, hard-hit American has been “Cash for Gold!” This catchphrase is heard and seen everywhere, and has become deeply ingrained in our subconscious. What advertisers tend to do, however, is to robotically repeat the same lines about gold being at record high prices without clearly explaining the reasons for this phenomenon and the future of this field. Stop right here if you trust the advice of money- hungry gold buyers who inform you about the precious metals field on a need-to-know basis. Continue reading only if you really would like to understand what you’re doing before you finally sell gold in an effort to bring extra cash flow into your finances.

Firstly, it’s vitally important to understand the relationship between the value of the dollar and precious metals like gold, platinum, and silver. Before we happily kept bespectacled Benjamins in our wallet and passed solemn Washingtons to the guy behind the counter in Starbucks, currency itself was actually valuable. Coins were made out precious metals like gold and silver. The money itself actually had value. Today, our currency is made out of worthless paper. The money itself has no value; it rises and falls with the country’s economy. A scary reminder of the worthlessness of actual money is the Post-WWI depression in Germany. Money was hyper-inflated, and there are pictures of children building towers out of bills, a housewife burning money in a fireplace because it was cheaper than coal, and a man using bills as wallpaper. It is now easier to understand why during a down economy, people flock to items of tangible value, and why the price of gold and other precious metals, the symbol of wealth, rises sharply.

This phenomenon can clearly be seen when studying yearly graphs charting the fluctuation of gold prices from before the recession to the present. With the difference of the numbers, the same trend applies to platinum and silver prices. Since 2000, the price of gold had been slowly rising at an average of 50 to 100 dollars per ounce a year. In the beginning of 2007, the average price of an ounce of gold was $650. When the recession hit in the winter of that year, the price jumped 200 dollars to $850 an ounce in just a few months! During the dismal economy of 2008, the price of gold wildly fluctuated between $700 and $1000. While the value of the dollar stayed low in the years 2009 and 2010, the price of gold climbed steadily 200 dollars a year, ending at $1400 an ounce in 2010! Thankfully, since we’ve entered the year 2011, the economy has begun stabilizing. Correlating to the stabilizing value of the dollar, the price of gold has begun stabilizing; it has declined from $1400 to $1320, and then risen to $1440. Following this trend, when the economy continues to stabilize and the value of the dollar rises….if you’ve been following, you understand that just as the price jumped when the dollar plunged, as the economy and the dollar rise the price of gold is about to plunge.

So how does this apply to the average small business owner? Gold, silver, and platinum really are at record high prices, and as history repeats itself, the next step is down. This is a great opportunity to make some serious fast cash. Old jewelry and heirlooms which have been collecting dust are worth a lot of money in the market right now. You can make big bucks from selling platinum, gold and silver. Before selling, however, it’s important to ensure that you get the most cash for gold and that you’re dealing with honest precious metal buyers. is a resourceful website that has current selling prices and a host of information about the precious metals market. It’s also advisable to deal directly with online buyers rather than jewelry stores, since they can offer more cash for gold as they cut out the middlemen and melt down the metal themselves.

In conclusion, selling gold is a great way for anyone to obtain some extra cash. However, the time to act is now, before prices plunge and the boom of the precious metals market becomes a bust.

Bio: Mark Rich is a jeweler and gold expert who urges consumers to get cash for gold now, while the going is good. He recommends Captain Cash for Gold, a metal refiner that is dedicated to a policy of integrity and reliability.

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