budget

Budgeting Myths You Keep Falling For

As it pertains to personal finance, you can find few themes as polarizing as budgeting. Many people swear by the exercise of maintaining a budget each and on a monthly basis, while others virtually convulse at the reference to the word. With innumerable opinions as well as budgeting myths floating around, it’s no surprise that folks so strongly disagree in regards to the topic!

The issue is that mindless acceptance of a variety of these common budgeting myths could be the death knell for the finances. You’re reading this information, so what’s promising if you’re motivated to succeed with money. And with the appropriate strategies and behavior modification, practically everyone can win with money! Keep reading as we dispel most frequent in addition to harmful budgeting myths floating around the net!

Budgeting Myths

· You Don’t Have The Time and Energy To Budget

Most individuals have numerous daily habits which can be much less significant than they become conscious. People spend time constantly, and a bit of self-reflection and honesty will assist you to decipher what matters as well as what doesn’t. Creating a budget ought to be an absolute priority. No one really wants to deposit a paycheck only to understand their savings account is definitely the exact same as it is last time the check is deposited.

Think about observing your daily routine and examining what could possibly be optimized for better spending. In the event that you head to the gym every single day, perhaps you might save on gas along with membership fees in the long run by purchasing exercise equipment plus putting it in your basement. Similarly, if you eat out every day at lunch, have a few extra minutes to merely pack your lunch instead.

· Budgeting Is Tricky

Likewise, lots of people accept the laziest budgeting myth of all of them that making a budget is complicated as well as difficult. The fact remains that when you have a grasp of basic arithmetic and a readiness to invest the amount of time in organizing your finances, it’s incredibly easy to make a budget.

· Budgeting Is Tedious

You’d be astonished at how many individuals don’t create a budget on a monthly basis because they believe it’s boring. Do you know what else is dreary? The credit card statements. Plus collector calls. And bankruptcy court, in fact, every one of that’s pretty awful. If you’re a free spirit in regards to budgeting, stop and take a breath. You certainly can do this!

Once you obtain the hang of it, creating a budget isn’t bad by any means. And as time passes, you could even find it a little fun. Suppose that! Acquire your spreadsheet-loving, planner of a spouse or buddy to simply help provide you that extra push. Budgeting is really a key to helping you get free from debt. And being debt-free? Now that’s enjoyable.

· A Budget Will Feel Preventive

As a matter of fact. Unless we’re referring to the most recent tight pants trend, a lot of people hate feeling restricted in virtually any way. Being told what direction to go ranks likewise in fame to root canals and trips to the DMV. But people who buy into this budgeting myth own it backward. A budget authorizes you by helping you realize that which you can and cannot afford to invest along with may also stop you from finding yourself in financial binds in the first place.

· Student Loans Can’t Be Optimized

With costs of higher education on a relatively endless upswing, financing the debt is usually something folks want to prevent thinking about. Though, only a little mindfulness regarding your loans can go a long way. Several services could possibly offer numerous unbiased options for diverse credit cards that could help to make student loan payments a breeze. Locate the best credit card that could take in cash back, low interest, or rewards for good grades. More on this click how to refinance your student loans?


· It’s Not The Best Time For Me

Could it be ever likely to be the best as well as most optimal time? Not actually. Something will constantly come up. That’s life. Have you been postponing starting a budget simply because you have a birthday or anniversary coming up? Don’t allow that be your excuse! If anything, you will need a budget now significantly more than ever. A budget can help you work out how much you intend to invest in the gifts and festivities. Of course, each month will look different, however here’s the best thing: You realize the date of these holidays, birthdays in addition to anniversaries. They do not ever change!

Put them in your allowance months ahead of time so you can begin saving.
If looking at the long run with a bit of wise practice still isn’t enough, perhaps all that’s necessary is just a “miscellaneous” category within your monthly budget. In this manner, an urgent financial setback is nearly impossible. Making a budget might not sound thrilling; on the contrary, it will lay the groundwork for more exhilarating things.


Avoid burning a hole in your wallet – Tricks to rein in your expenses

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The fact is that the more we stress over money, the more stressful it gets. But taking control on saving and spending can help you alleviate some of your worries. Irrespective of whether you wish to be a millionaire or you just wish to stop spending your paycheck before you receive it, there are always some interesting ways of keeping aside little amounts of cash. From taking care of your clothes to smart shopping, there are numerous tips to save money faster than your normal pace. Here are few areas to manage and few tips to follow.

Budgeting and banking

1. Choose a bank which gives back: Watch out for a bank which makes the most sense. Look for perks like high interest rate on savings account, no fees on ATM and no overdraft fees. Small banks often provide better interest rates and perks. In case you see that your bank doesn’t offer perks, ask them to offer.

2. Use an app to set goals: Set an ultimate goal and repay your credit card debt. Later on come up with a realistic and actionable plan for accomplishing your goal. Try finance-tracking apps like Learnvest, BUDGT or Mint which give you visual barometers of specific goals.

3. Don’t use ATMs too often: When it comes to ATM trips, be smart. Try to withdraw a fixed amount every week and stick to it as this way you won’t force yourself to hit on a non-affiliated bank. In order to stay organized, divide cash into envelopes with written ‘rent’, ‘food’ and ‘fun’. When an envelope becomes empty, stop spending in that category and try to control your expenses.

Home and Electronics

1. Turn off the tap while washing dishes: Spray little water on all dishes kept inside the sink and then turn it off while you scrub. When it’s time to rinse, turn off the water. Hand washing dishes just once in a day and not allowing the water to run while scrubbing can save around 200-500 gallons of hot water in a month. This is not something good for the environment but also good for your wallet.

2. Personalize your air freshener: Fragrant wall flowers, fancy aromatic sprays and a few over-priced candles can have a serious impact on your wallet. How about creating your own air freshener so as to save money on buying the more expensive ones?

3. Install energy-efficient appliances: Less energy will be equivalent to less money that you need to spend. If your fridge is something which is still working fine, don’t chuck it off. Instead, make sure all the other appliances in your home are energy-efficient and that they carry an Energy Star model.

Therefore, if you’re wondering about the ways in which you can rein in your expenses, take into account the above mentioned tips and advices. Install all the budget-friendly apps which can help you stay on the right track with your personal finances.

Image source: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2017/05/07/13/27/wallet-2292428_960_720.jpg


Kick your bad spending habits and stop using plastics – Tips and tricks to follow

Everyone of us has come across the advice: credit cards should be used wisely. But knowing what is smart and doing what is smart are two different things altogether. With the increasing number of US young adults purchasing things with their plastics, the advice is worth repeating. 64% of 18-34 years olds say they randomly use their credit cards, versus 43% in 2013, as per reports of survey done by Mercator Advisory Group. Do you ever feel guilty about any of the bad financial habits that you regularly keep repeating?

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Image: https://pixabay.com/en/shopping-spending-till-slip-879498/

We all know that bad spending habits can break our budget on a monthly basis and it is a big concern to deal with. Bad financial habits may include impulsive shopping for shoes, dining out every weekend or going for parties every other day. If you’ve maintained an income statement, you will probably see the dollar figures associated with overspending. Here are some tips and tricks that you may follow in order to bid goodbye to your bad financial habits.

• Tip #1: Put an end to mindless charging

There are credit card users who nurture a mindset which prompts them to pay with plastics rather than cash as the former ‘doesn’t count’. This is an entirely wrong notion that they harbor in their mind. Though you don’t have to shell off cash from your pocket, you will later on have to pay outrageously high interest rates for buying things on credit. Don’t you think that the money you pay on interest rate is a sheer wastage? So, as long as you can afford something with cash, buy it with cash.

• Tip #2: Head out only with the cash that you may need

Are you about to visit the mall for shopping? If yes, take only the cash which you may need. If you’ve set a budget of $100 for clothing, go to the ATM and get exactly $100 out and not a penny more than that. Take that money in your wallet and keep all your credit and debit cards at home. It is only this way that you will be forced to work with the cash that you have on hand.

• Tip #3: Paying ONLY the minimum amount on your cards is not the right way

It is sometimes understood that when your financial condition is tight, you may not feel like parting with your hard-earned dollars to pay off your credit card debt. But that will just make you hurt yourself in the long run. People who simply pay the minimum amount on the credit cards are actually extending the time period on every single item that they buy. Hence, it is always wiser to pay more than just the minimum monthly payments.

• Tip #4: Stop spending more than what you make in a month

Do you think yourself to be the US government? America is also in a tough state where its fiscal deficit is shrinking and how do you see your personal deficit? As per the National Financial Capability Study, about 36% of individuals, 1 among 5 Americans spend more than what they make in a month. Your personal goal should be to flock around among the 41% Americans who spend much less than what they earn in a month.

• Tip #5: Stop thinking that you’re not financially smart enough

Money matters can definitely be confusing but we presently live in an age where consumers are almost forced to exercise control over their personal financial lives, whether it involves investment decisions of retirement savings. You must have thought earlier that investing is hard or it is for the rich. But this is a wrong notion. You’ve got to take control over your own finances and make sure you’re making smart financial decisions.

The serenity and peace of being debt free has its own kind of glee and satisfaction. If you don’t stop your bad financial habits, it is almost impossible to walk along the path of debt free life. Follow the above mentioned tips and tricks to get rid of your bad financial habits and embrace monetary wisdom.


Responsible for a Cybersecurity Budget? Top Notch Ways to Spend Your Money

Responsible for a Cybersecurity Budget? Top Notch Ways to Spend Your Money

Last year was a bad year for cyber crime. In the UK alone, there were more than 5.1 million incidences of online fraud and 2.5 million cybercrime offences. And one of the primary victims of all this crime is businesses.

Protecting your business against cybercrime has never been a more pertinent issue. Your company could be the next target for criminals. Right now there are multiple channels through which cyber criminals are targeting businesses. First of all, there are the social engineers. These are the people who dream up schemes as a way to get valuable information from people. They’re creative types, and hard to predict. Then there are the hackers. These people don’t bother coming up with some elaborate con scheme. They look for exploits in your business IT system that they can leverage to gain access to your data. Finally, there are the programmers. These guys are in the business of writing viruses to bring down company servers and systems.

Because the threat from cyber criminals has never been greater, companies are looking for ways to protect themselves. According to the Wall Street Journal, big business is investing billions into the effort. If you’re responsible for a security budget, here’s where to spend your money.

Setup A Phishing Experiment

Phishing is a popular way for criminals gain access to sensitive company information. Phishing is very much like any other con trick. It seeks to convince people that it is a legitimate communication. And then it builds up enough trust for them to start giving out sensitive information. Clearly, this is dangerous for companies who care about the integrity of their data.

One of the biggest entry points for sensitive information is your business’s employees. This is something that JP Morgan recognised after had a data breach earlier this year.

JP Morgan decided to respond with a phishing attempt all of its own. It sent out a quarter of a million fake phishing emails to its employees to see what they would do. To its surprise, the firm found that employees opened a phishing email about 20 percent of the time. The company declined to say how many employees responded to the emails. But it was a severe enough demonstration of security failing that the company took immediate action.

After the experiment, employees were banned from using their work emails for personal use. And the company decided to invest a further $500 million into its online security apparatus. The phishing experiment revealed that the company was vulnerable through its employees. It served as a call-to-action to the board of directors and got security to the top of the agenda.

Employee Training

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Many companies have employees who use social media. Professional social media sites should be about networking and growing businesses. But they’re also a big target for hackers. The problem is that many employees don’t realise just how much information they give out. Information comes out in dribs and drabs, not all at once. So it can be deceiving. And yet, all this information can quite easily be collected by hackers and pieced together. Hackers with a fuller set of information can then use this to their advantage to hack company IT systems.

Employee errors are no small part of the business cyber security picture. Recently the Association of Corporate Counsel found that almost a third of data breaches are the fault of workers. And it’s usually because staff simply don’t know how what they’re doing affects security. Often it’s the simple and innocent things that have the biggest detrimental impact. For instance, employees who send sensitive information on home networks without the same level of security. Or employees who access client data and then take those data home with them. (This recently happened to Morgan Stanley).

Training, therefore, helps employees see some of the non-obvious ways their behaviour impacts security.

Expert Consulting

Once you’ve convinced the board security is an issue, and trained your staff, what’s next? To bolster your existing systems, of course. But should you go about doing that? Every business is different. And, therefore, every business has different security needs. Some companies only need protection for their back-end systems: they don’t collect customer data. Others need vaulted servers to protect mission critical data.

Here’s where the value of technology consulting becomes obvious. For any business to have an effective security strategy, it needs expertise. Understanding the company’s strengths and weaknesses is imperative if the company is going to be viable.

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The first thing to discuss with a consultant is the type of threats your business is likely to face. If your business is high profile or controversial, it’s likely that you’ll face a threat from botnets. The idea behind botnets is to drain your company of processing power. Here your web server is pinged from multiple locations millions of times a second. As a result, it starts to lose performance. And in extreme circumstances, it can be brought down.

These denial-of-service attacks are designed to prevent your business from carrying out its operations. They can also harvest capacity from your IT resources, bringing down your productivity. And so it’s essential that they aren’t allowed to run their course. Proactive maintenance of systems by a third party is an excellent way to prevent attacks from getting out of control.

If your business has valuable data, hackers might try to use trojan horses. The idea here is to gain backdoor access to your business systems. Hackers will try to harvest your email lists, erase your data or get customer information. Here again, consultants can help you to identify the problem and point you in the direction of how to deal with it.

Focus On Improving Security In Non-Computer Devices

The latest frontier in the battle between companies and criminals is the internet of things. It’s not just computers anymore that are subject to hacking. According to the Cybersecurity Market Report, it’s things too. There are now whole sub-markets that are connected to traditional IT infrastructure. Things like smart and the industrial internet are new technologies. But they aren’t adequately protected by existing ecosystems. Hence, there’s now a significant risk that businesses in these sectors will suffer catastrophic breaches.

Companies need to spend more on making sure that smart devices are as secure as the rest of their network. Criminals will exploit any weakness in your smart device network.

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Hire Ethical Hackers

Investor’s Business Daily recently reported cybersecurity spending would balloon over the next half decade. It’s expected to top $1 trillion between 2017 and 2021. Driving that trend, they propose, will be a rise in businesses hiring hackers to test their own systems. These freelance hackers will be put to work, testing whether companies can withstand an attack.

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But the focus is, again, going to be on the internet of things. Industry tracker, Cybersecurity Ventures, predicts double-digit growth in the sector going forward. It also predicts that protecting the IoT will, ironically, fall to hackers.

The good news is that educational institutions have been training people to hack for years now. And there’s a large pool of ethical hackers for businesses to choose from. Hackers can be hired to do all sorts of things to help your company. But the most common use is for highlighting data protection issues. Hackers are usually assigned the task of breaching company data. Along they way, they help to expose weaknesses in company defences. And these shortcomings can then be targeted for improvement. Most of the time, weaknesses are on the employee end of the spectrum. But sometimes you’ll find fault with password encryption and server access.

Redesign Cyber Security Systems

Lastly, it’s time for a reality check. Companies are spending more money than ever on protecting themselves from cybercrime. And yet the average loss following a breach has risen to $7 million. That suggests that the industry is doing something wrong when it comes to spending their money. According to PwC’s cybercrime report, 47 percent of companies are putting money into new technologies. But far fewer companies are thinking about their cyber security strategies. The effect of this is that companies are putting their money into technologies that probably aren’t helping them. Too few companies are stepping back and assessing the risk that they face, and how those risks have changed.

So here’s how to spend your money. First, generate a risk-based cybersecurity framework that’s adaptable. Seek professional advice if you need to. Make sure that your company knows the specific risks that affect the sector. And find out what are the latest tactics being used by cyber criminals.

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Second, share knowledge with other companies about the state of your cyber security. Only 15 percent of enterprises told PwC that knowledge sharing was a priority for them. And so it’s clear that many businesses aren’t leveraging existing relationships.

Finally, involve all stakeholders in discussions of cyber security threats. Partners, outside experts and the board should all contribute to the process. Including everybody in your strategy helps you to avoid wasting money and resources.


A Guide to Balancing Your Household Budget

Every household spends money, but are you spending within your means? Taking control of your financial situation and balancing that household budget is essential. This guide will let you do it.

Compare Spending with Earning

Before you do anything else, you need to get to grips with the reality of your current situation. That means looking at how much you spend and comparing it to how much you earn. You should have any trouble working out your household’s overall earnings. But you will need to keep a spending diary to really work out much money you spend in an average month. If you find that there is a deficient, and you’re spending more than you earn, then your budgets aren’t balanced. And you have a problem to fix.

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Plug the Gaps in the Short-Term

If you find that your financial situation is severe, and you are unable to make payments on your mortgage, then action is needed. This means looking at all those gaps in your finances and doing what you can to plug them. This could mean using your savings to balance things. Or you could take advantage of personal loans to sort things out. In the short-term, mitigating the immediate threats to your financial stability is what’s most important of all. You can worry about the other issues later.

Then Plan Some Long-Term Changes

When your short-term problems have been dealt with, it’s time to look at long-term changes. It’s impossible to balance your household budget without making serious changes to how you spend money. You should see if you can cut back on your weekly food shopping budget. And make sure you compare all the deals on things like electricity, gas and phone services. You might be able to get a better deal and save money in the long-term, so it’s worth looking into.

Pay Off Debts

If you took out loans earlier to help plug the immediate gaps in your finances, you should focus on paying that money back. Loans and credit can be great ways to sort out short-term problems, but they are not healthy for your finances in the long-term. Draw up your own repayment plan and see if you can pay it back earlier than the creditor is demanding. If you do decide to do this, make sure that you check if there are any charges that come with paying back the loan early though.

Save When You Can

Once your budget is balanced, you might start finding that you have some excess cash. Of course, this can only be a good thing, but it doesn’t mean that it has to be spent. This is the kind of money that should be put away for the future. Saving money is vital if you want to secure your long-term financial security. The money that you save away while you’re young could be what helps you to enjoy a comfortable retirement in the future. Once you get into the habit of saving money, it will come naturally.

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Keeping Your Budget is Easy, if You Change Your Life Instead

If you have a budget that just won’t work, something’s got to give. Many people change the budget in this situation. But I’m going to suggest the novel idea that instead of reworking the budget, you rework your life instead. This will be harder for some readers than others, as professional and family connections make big changes difficult. But for a certain kind of reader, this won’t be hard at all, and others will find that personal finance is important enough to warrant some drastic action. Here’s what I’m talking about.

Budget gurus tend to make budgeting all about lifestyle. They tell you to eat out less. They tell you to save more. They tell you to live on rice and beans for the next 10 years, thriving on the knowledge that you have so much self-control. This writer has never been able to live that way. Instead, it can work a lot better for many people to simply change the game. For some people, this starts with moving.Budget

You can save thousands of dollars every years simply by moving to another city or region. Different areas have wildly different cost of living standards. If you live in an expensive area, it’s like a tax that you pay on everything you do. This “tax” is often many times higher than any money demanded by your state and federal governments, and people pay it simply because they’ve never thought about doing otherwise. But what if you just moved? There are cheap American cities which have a lot of room for new residents. Get in on the ground floor, and you could save tens of thousands on food, housing, and lifestyle expenses, just within a couple of years.

Most consumers are also paying for things they no longer use or remember. I’m talking here about things like online entertainment subscriptions, or those mail-order razorblades you forgot to cancel. These subscriptions are all the rage, and more and more online retailers are offering this as an option. It’s best to take a careful look at your online spending statements to figure out if you are making payments that you are not aware of. An hour’s work can save you hundreds of dollars in the next year.

Similar auto-drafted payments for unwanted services is a big news story in England. PPI is a kind of insurance that got sneaked into a bunch of standard financial contracts. So thousands of people signed up for it (and paid for it every month) without even knowing about it or wanting it. This has given rise to a lot of lawsuits, and several class actions options are available to people who have PPI and don’t want it.

As you can see, there are a variety of big (and detail-oriented) changes which and free up your budget in a way that simple self-control and fun-denial can’t. If you’re able to identify and commit to these changes, you’ll be on your way to a much better personal finance lifestyle, without having to change your behavior much at all.


How to Redesign a Movie Auditorium on a Budget

Redesigning a movie auditorium is a really exciting project, and one that could potentially be used to make a profit. Whether you’ve purchased a movie auditorium for personal use or have dreams of setting up your own independent cinema that will be open to the public, making sure that your auditorium is comfortable and set up properly is a priority. Depending on the amount of work that you’d like done and how you’re picturing the result, the amount of money that you’ll need to spend on the redesign can vary. However, if you’re looking for some great ideas that are likely to fit into almost any budget, read on!

Seating

The seating is an important part of any movie auditorium – it’s got to be comfortable, stylish and fit as many people as possible inside. Depending on the size of the auditorium and how many people you expect to be using it at one given time, the amount of seats you will need to use can vary. If your auditorium already has seats installed that are in good condition, you may be able to get away with cleaning them up and continuing to use them. For auditoriums in need of further refurbishment, you can purchase a range of seating options from auditorium seating manufacturers.

Ceiling

Acoustic tiles are the best option for the ceiling of your movie auditorium, and you’ll be glad to hear that this is also one of the cheapest ceiling coverings to obtain. Most movie theaters use this type of covering; go to any cinema and you will probably see fiberglass panels much like those used in offices. If your auditorium ceiling is unfinished, acoustic tiles or fiberglass panels are the least expensive way to complete the job.movie-theater-inside-amc-pacific

Flooring

For acoustic reasons, you should never choose a floor for your movie auditorium that is made of wood, tile, concreate or linoleum. Instead, opt for a plush carpet whenever possible. Depending on the size of the auditorium the price that you will pay for carpet will vary, and will largely depend also on the type and quality of carpet that you choose. Industrial wear carpets are good for those who plan to open their auditorium for public use as these are less susceptible to wear and tear. Opting for a stain resistant carpet will also reduce dirt and debris stains and help the auditorium appear cleaner. It is far better to spend more on a high quality carpet initially than pay to replace a poor quality carpet in the future due to damage.

Color and Themes

When designing your movie auditorium, you should consider using colors that will control the reflections of the light from the screen, and also make the room appear larger. Darker colors such as navy or black are an excellent choice, combined with lighter, contrasting colors.

Are you an interior designer who would like to share any helpful ideas for redesigning a movie auditorium? Or, have you redesigned a movie auditorium yourself, and would like to tell us your story? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Image Credit: http://www.filmadvocacy.org/2013/05/


Couponing A Better Way to Save in 2014

Couponing For RealMaybe you know, were raised by, or are a coupon lady. We all know the type. In years past, hardcore couponers curated hefty binders to house their precious double and triple savings paper coupons. Couponing was a calling, a preoccupation, a lifestyle. For these committed shoppers, the payoffs could often be unpredictable. Coupon clippers would frequently stagger home under the weight of 256 rolls of double-soft toilet paper. “I got it for buy 1 get 2 free!” they would rhapsodize as justification. I remember those days fondly. But I am happy to say that today, there is a better way.

These days you don’t need a printer or the old plastic binder that was de rigeur for coupon kings and queens of yore. Today, you can get by with just your smart phone. Modern apps do a lot of the work for you, presenting a simple image to be scanned by many retailers. Sage-One online accounting products can help you find out just how much you’re saving, but for now I’ll describe how various coupon apps saved my wife and I on our weekly grocery bill.

As budget shoppers, we try to eat well on $100 a week or less. We both downloaded several coupon apps to see the difference they could make. Yowza worked well and was easy to use. Within seconds of firing up this app, we found coupons from several grocers in our area (as well as lots of other kinds of stores as well). We saved the coupons that were relevant to the stuff we eat (peanut butter from Whole Foods, Vegetable Oil from Safeway, Tomatoes from Giant, etc). We weren’t about to drive to every grocery store in our area, but there were enough coupons related to stuff we regularly eat at our nearest grocer, so we headed there to shop.

On the drive, I was scanning the local paper for printed coupons. Using SnipSnap I was able to take pictures of these coupons on my phone. Once at the store, I didn’t have to drag along the paper coupons, or one of the aforementioned plastic binders. I was worried at first that the cashier wouldn’t be able to scan the coupons off my phone, but she had seen this before, and the discounts went smoothly.

The last app we tried was Grocery Smarts. It worked very much like Yowza, but for some reason brought in a pile of different coupons. We were able to pick up some popcorn and kombucha at steeply cut prices, all in the time it takes to fill a grocery cart.

Finally at checkout, we saved $19.84. Our total price would have been $118.16, but through app-couponing, we were able to keep it under our goal of $100. I wasn’t sure we would have been able to do it, but we were keeping track of our total mentally, as we shopped. We nailed it. Saving fifteen or twenty dollars once a week for a year is going to add up quickly. I was amazed at how little time it took to save this much. Couponing is never going to be the same, and neither will my grocery bill.


How Should You Budget For Christmas?

Christmas is a time to enjoy the company of your loved ones and slow down a bit before the start of the New Year. But it can also be quite a stressful time when it comes to money.Budget

A lot of people end up spending quite a lot of money during this holiday season and this can even lead to debt.

Here are some simple tips to ensure you budget well for Christmas and get to enjoy it without spending a fortune.

Draw Up A Budget

It is a good idea to draw up a budget for yourself for the Christmas season. You can do it by dividing the budget into different categories. The main expenses during Christmas include:

  • Food
  • Gifts
  • Cards
  • Decorations
  • Possible travel

You can then think a little bit how much you want to spend on each of these categories. The key is to make sure that you have saved some money during the year to ensure you don’t need to loan money to purchase anything. Don’t go wild with your credit cards either.

If you want to use them it is a good idea to look carefully, which credit cards offer the best deals for you to use.

How Much To Spend

Of course you need to carefully think about how much you want to spend on each category. For instance, with gifts you should be careful about thinking the people you really must be buying a gift to. Don;t feel pressured to buying expensive gifts to people that you don’t even spend a lot of time with.

Remembering people with a Christmas card is enough to show you are thinking about them.

Clever Tips To Save Money

The good news is that there are a lot of good tips on how to save money and still have a great Christmas. Here are some tips for each of these categories.

Food

Food is often one of the biggest parts of Christmas expenses. The best way to save money with food is to draw up a menu well before the holiday and be realistic with the amount of food you are going to eat. Don’t buy crazy amounts of food so that you don’t end up throwing it away.

Gifts And Cards

A good way to save money with your gift shopping is to look into the option of making your own gifts and cards. For instance, making great homemade food gifts can be a really nice way to remember friends and neighbours and it will be a lot cheaper than a wine bottle or similar.

Decorations

This is another bracket where you save a lot of money by making your own decorations. There are a lot of great ideas at the Reader’s Digest website. Making your own decorations is not only cheaper but it can also be a fun thing to do together with the kids. Make sure you also use some of your older decorations as you don’t need to buy new ones every single year.

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Katherine is interested in providing budgeting tips and help in finding accounting services. She also likes to volunteer to get young people involved with the local communities and is passionate about learning salsa dancing.


Save Money & Plan Ahead With Budget Software

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To budget or not to budget

More and more families are needing to stretch their monthly budgets just a bit farther. It certainly isn’t easy, but it can be done. One thing that can be quite helpful is using budgeting software.

Some discover what money management expert Richard Bach has called “the latte factor,” small expenses that regularly drain your finances. Using this software will help you patch the holes in your budget and remove those pesky lattes – or whatever else is tempting you from keeping a sturdy budget in place.

It used to be that budgeting software was quirky and a bit difficult to use. But today’s software is intuitive, user friendly and works with the click of your mouse. Here are several options for great budgeting software.

YouNeedABudget.com

This personal finance budget software can be used on either a Windows based computer or on a Mac. What YouNeedABudget.com promotes is not only that they will encourage you to use their software – but their budgeting methods, which they say “has helped thousands of people gain control of their finances.”

You have the ability to try the full version with all its features for free for 34 days. The features include using Cloud Sync, so you can be up to date wherever there is an Internet connection. There are both iPhone and Android apps available so when you are spending on-the-go, you can log the information right into your budget.

One of the things YouNeedABudget.com is proud to say is that many people discover they are able to start by saving $200 after a single month. In nine months, people are able to save $3,300. If you have been living paycheck to paycheck, this is both impressive and exciting. They encourage a budget that wont let you spend too much and will also help you reach your financial goals.

Quicken

Quicken states they are the #1 personal finance software tool. One of the reasons to choose Quicken is that you can connect this software to your bank, to easily manage your account(s). People who use Quicken like that their expenses can be sorted into categories. You’ll see them both as a list with dollar amounts and percentages – but you’ll also see a colorful pie chart. It is easy to see exactly where your money has been going. Whether you are a “left brain” or a “right brain” type, this software is one that will be logical and easy to understand.

The software then sets a monthly budget for you based on your past history. You can customize your budget and also help to plan for future financial goals. The program works in “real time” so you’ll know exactly how much money you have in your accounts and to work with in your budget.

There is a mobile app so it is easy to make financial decisions on-the-go. If you are running errands and want to add in your expenses as you are spending, it is easy to do. You can check your budget and make financial decisions – all before you make that purchase.

Mint.com

Mint is a popular favorite when it comes to budgeting tools. You’ll find that Mint.com is available for free, there are no charges to use this software. Mint.com has received positive recommendations from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Money (Magazine).

Many who use Mint.com like that it has mobile apps available. You can choose from iPhone, Android and iPad. This makes it easy and convenient to save money by sticking to your budget while on-the-go. You can think before making those impulse purchases that sink anyone’s monthly budget because you’ve got all of your information available.

One of the reasons people like to use Mint.com is the information you enter in it is secure. This software simply reads the information you enter into it. You are not able to move the financial information you place in Mint.com and no one else can either, this is for your security and protection. It will connect you with your financial accounts in real-time using just your Mint.com password.

Just as Quicken uses a pie chart to visually show you where your money goes, so does Mint.com. This is helpful for right brain thinkers as well as left brain thinkers who are comfortable viewing a column of numbers and percentages. When you realize you are spending too much money on take out meals, based on how large that part of the pie chart is – it can help you get your spending under control.

Remember that no budgeting software will work unless you use it regularly. Take the time to enter your information and also to analyze its supplied data. This can help you set financial goals and plan for both your short term and long term future.

Lauren Hill writes for Galorath.com, a company offering software that helps you deliver your goods as promised in a timely fashion.


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