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Staying Within Your Budget Successfully

When you know that you are going to be strapped down with a tight budget, it is important that you are focused on creating a budget that is actually going to work for you. Having a budget that does not accomplish your financial goals is pointless but if you are not wise about giving yourself some wiggle room in the budget it can get extremely frustrating.

While you are working on your budget, it is important that you understand where you can cut costs somewhat painlessly. When you find ways to minimize the money you are spending and you do not really notice that you are no longer spending that money, you may save a lot of money when all is said and done.

You Have to Start Somewhere

Start by figuring out where all of your money is going. Although this may sound silly, it is important that you understand where your money is going on a daily basis. Keep a record of all of all of the money that you spend to ensure that you know exactly what you are spending your money on. Keep an accurate record of what you are spending for a short period of time and then use that record to go back through and assess your spending.

Needs vs. Wants

When you are assessing your spending, you should be sure that you can take the time to figure out what is necessary and what is not necessary. Depending on your financial goal, you may find that you have a lot of money left over after the essentials or you may find that you do not have a lot of spare money. Regardless of what you find after watching your spending, you will want to look through your records and see where you can save money.

There are many different ways that you can choose to save money when you are living on a strict budget. Don’t be afraid to make some drastic changes in your lifestyle to ensure that you are able to meet the goals that you have set for your budget. You may want to start by assessing where you spend your money for food and drinks.

When you are spending money on food and drinks outside of the grocery store, you may find that you are spending a lot of extra money. Grocery shopping rather than eating out on a consistent basis will end up saving you money in the long run. When you do your grocery shopping, you should be sure that you are looking for sales and good deals. You may even want to look into a local farmers market option. When you shop at a farmer’s market you can be sure that you are getting fresh produce and often it is much less expensive than shopping at the grocery store.

Take the time that you need to find the grocery store that will provide you with the best option. You should also understand how important it is to minimize the money that you are spending on snacks. When you are out and about, you should be well aware that small charges charged on a consistent basis will start to add up quickly. Pack your own snacks or take time to purchase your drinks in bulk and bring them from home.

Plan Ahead

If you know that you are going to need to make a big purchase in the future, it is important that you take the time that you need to look through your options and secure something that fits within your budget. There are a lot of people that end up spending too much money because they do not take enough time to do research.

When you do your own research, you may be able to find a better deal on a large purchase. Don’t be afraid to take the time that you need to ensure that you are getting the best deal for your money. With the internet, you can be sure that you are able to do a lot of research without even leaving your home.

Being on a tight budget can feel restrictive. As you create your budget and stick to your plan, you may find that you have a lot more financial freedom than you did in the past. You will be able to pay off debt in a timely manner and use your money for the things that you know you are going to need.

How to Budget As a Single Parent

If you ask several of your friend’s what their greatest joy in life is, their answer could very likely be their children. When people decide to have children, their lives are changed forever.

Most people picture themselves getting married eventually and settling down to have children. What people don’t anticipate is separation or divorce.

Sometimes separation or divorce is inevitable. In these cases, it can be difficult to decide who should have custody of which children.

Because of divorce, many parents are forced into being single parents. While this is difficult, most parents are happy about and willing to take care of and raise their children even if they must do it on their own.
Many people know that raising children on their own is harder than raising them with two people, yet they still buckle down and do the best they can because they love their children. Being a single parent obviously has many challenges.

One of the biggest challenges of being a single parent can be learning how to budget. You now must support your family with only one income coming into the home.

While it may seem impossible, nearly 13 million American parents do it every day. They learn what they need to do to budget, and they make it work.

What do single parents need to do to budget? Here are a few tips on how they can get started.

First, Assess Your Finances

The first thing you should do is take a look at the status of your current finances. It’s unfortunate but divorce is not cheap, especially if it took a long time to reach an agreement. Once the divorce is final you’ll most likely be left with a considerable amount of legal debt as well as typically couples are expected to split any liabilities such as the mortgage, car payments and any other long term or even short term loan liabilities from installment loans, cash advances etc…

Next, Adjust Your Budget

Once current liabilities have been assessed every single parent should sit down and re-adjust their budget. They need to look at their fixed costs, variable costs, and one-time annual costs, and try to compare these costs with how much money they think they will make within the year.

Some examples of fixed costs are bills that arrive at your door every month. Monthly costs could include bills for TV, cable, internet, insurance, and utilities.

Although no one really likes to pay these kinds of bills, they are necessary to pay if you want to have a permanent residence. These are costs that you usually cannot cut out of your budget.

Then you have your variable costs. Variable costs are costs that are not as fixed as a monthly bill.

Check Your Variable and One-Time Annual Costs

Variable costs vary between people and families, but they could include clothing, groceries, money spent on eating out, traveling, vacations, etc. Families will spend different amounts of money on different things, so your family’s specific budget will be customized to your family.

One-time annual costs can include but are not limited to real-estate taxes, income tax, Christmas presents, registration renewals, and other payments that are made once a year. When one parent is newly single, usually they start looking for ways that they can trim down the amount of money they spend each month and each year.

In general, the area that you’re probably going to be able to cut back on the most is the variable cost category. As discussed earlier, fixed costs are usually costs that cannot be eliminated from your budget.
You may be able to pay less on your fixed costs, but you will most likely not be able to get rid of any of them. Variable costs are where you are going to be able to do the most trimming.

If you were able to spend a lot of money on clothing before you separated from your partner, you may not be able to spend as much money on clothing if you are now a single parent. Additionally, as a new single parent, you may have to pay for things that you are not used to paying for.

These things are most likely going to be related to your children and the care of your children, like daycare, childcare, transportation for your children, or education. Another issue that single parents must face is that they may simply just not make enough money to be able to support their family anymore.

Many single parents face a difficult decision when they reach this point. It can be difficult to just quit their current job and try to find a new job in this economy.

Because of this, many parents decide to go back to school and get a higher degree so that they can secure a higher paying job. Before a single parent makes this decision, they should carefully consider what they really want to do.

Going back to school could cause much financial strain on the family. Single parents should make decisions about their financial situation with the best interests of their children in mind.

How to Teach Your Children How to Budget

Parents have an incredible amount of influence on their children. From what clothes they wear to what foods they eat to what religion they choose, children generally follow the example that their parents set for them.

When it comes to budgeting, there are quite a few wrong ways to do it. Many parents are flippant about money in front of their children, and that sends a certain message to the youngsters.

Many other parents simply do not address the issue of money and managing money to their children at all, just hoping that their kids will “catch on” and figure it out for themselves. It would seem obvious that this is not a great idea.

Teach Your Kids How to Budget Early On

Neglecting to sit down with your children and talk to them about money and budgeting would be a serious mistake. If you don’t teach your kids about budgeting, who knows what financial mistakes they could make in the future?

Teaching your children now will help to prevent them from making the kind of financial mistakes that are very hard to undo later on down the road. Kids need a gentle but firm example of how to approach and manage money from loving and kind parents who want to help, teach, and guide them.

One of the most important things parents can do is to teach by example. Parents cannot expect children to live by certain financial principles if the parents aren’t willing to abide by these principles themselves. If a child sees their parent using their credit cards, second mortgage or a cash advance irresponsibly then they will be more likely to make the same mistakes when they grow up. While each of these can be great financial tools when used correctly, it takes the proper discipline to ensure that they’re paid off in a timely manner.

Begin With a Budget Sheet

Begin by showing your children your budget sheet, and how it all works. Show them what each column means and what expenses go under which column.

During your teaching moments with your children about money, be sure to be calm and patient with them at all times. No matter what age your children are at, it is important that they know that they are able to learn in a safe and inviting environment.

Make sure that they are not afraid to ask questions, or of looking dumb by asking a question. Make sure they know that asking questions is good and is a way to learn, and by no means mean that they are inferior.

Make Budgeting a Family Activity

It can also be a fun family activity to take a trip to the bank and talk about what happens there. It is up to your discretion as a parent as to how much information or how much detail you want to go into at the bank, but it could be a fun and exciting learning experience for your children.

Whatever you might be doing at the bank, like cashing a check or putting money into your savings account, make sure you talk to your children in specifics about what it is you’re doing. This will help them feel included and like they’re more a part of what is going on.

Banks often have balloons and candy for youngsters who are in the bank for their parents, so these types of things can help your children feel comfortable inside the bank and associate it with positive emotions.

Teach The Basics, Like How to Buy Groceries

One of your next stops after the bank can be the grocery store. Show your kids your grocery list and explain to them that you always bring a list to the store with the items that you need; otherwise it is likely that you will buy more than you intended and stray outside your designated budget for food that month.

Have your kids participate in going around each aisle and selecting the items that are on the list. Explain to them that there are different brands of each item and that certain prices are better than others.

Have them look at the unit prices on the tags under each item and teach them that that is where you can see how much you’re paying for a certain amount of an item. Explain to them that you want to get the most product for the cheapest price.
Bring a calculator to the grocery store and have your kids add up each item that they put in the cart. This can help them visualize and understand the concept of staying within a certain budget.

If they’re adding up the items in the cart and the total goes over the amount that you had set aside for groceries, explain to them that sometimes you have to make sacrifices if you can’t afford everything you wanted. Help them put certain things back on the shelf that aren’t absolutely essential.

A helpful learning activity that can go along with grocery shopping is helping your children look for coupons in newspapers and magazines before you shop. Explain to them that not all coupons are useful; only if you were going to buy that item already before you saw the coupon will the deal save you money.

Teaching your children how to budget and to interact with money in a healthy way is one of the greatest gifts you can give to them as a parent. They will have much more success with their finances in the future because of your diligent efforts to help them in this area.

Creating a Budget that Will Stick

When attempting to create a budget for yourself, there are many barriers that you may run into. It is important that you understand how you are going to overcome these barriers and take full control of your finances.

The first mistake that people often make when they are creating a budget is that they are unrealistic. Being unrealistic about your budget can make for a very disappointing and frustrating financial situation. You want to be working with a budget that you know you are going to be able to successfully follow. To be realistic, you want to make sure that you are still going to be able to enjoy your life.

Look For Cheaper Alternatives

Start looking for substitutions and don’t try to eradicate everything that you love spending money on. If you absolutely love getting coffee at the coffee shop, limit yourself to two or three a week. Better yet, pay for a French press and start making your own coffee at home so you can enjoy your coffee in the morning without feeling the guilt that comes with spending too much money on coffee. Finding budget friendly ways to still enjoy yourself will ensure that you do not feel deprived throughout the time that you are living on a budget.

Switch to a Cash System

If you are still having a hard time understanding where your money is going, start taking out cash. Give yourself a budget and make sure that you are sticking with your budget by only taking out a specific amount of cash for a specific period of time. You want to make sure that the amount of cash that you take out is reasonable for the time period that you have specified.

When you are working on paying off debt, it is important that you strategize your debt payments. Start by paying off your debt that has the highest interest rate. Once you have paid that debt continue onto the other debt that you have. Slowly climbing out of debt can be difficult, but it will be well worth your time in the long run.

Start By Saving

If you are not in any type of debt, you will want to start learning how you are going to save money. Setting a goal for yourself and saving enough money to achieve your savings goal. Having a savings account that you can count on if something should happen to your income is a great way to ensure that you are going to be protected financially. Taking time to really focus on what your financial goals are and then working to achieve them will be well worth it.

Treating yourself as you continue to stick to your budget may give you the incentive that you need to continue. Finding a reasonable way to reward yourself can also help you break up the time that you spend saving. Creating a reward schedule for yourself can be a great way of sticking with your budget.

If you need a little help budgeting, you may want to look for a budgeting tool that you can use on a consistent basis. There are a lot of different budgeting tools available online and if you have a smartphone you may be able to download the ap so you always have your budgeting tool with you. If you are going to use a budgeting tool, don’t be afraid to try out a few before you decide on one.

Once you get into the habit of sticking with your budget, you will find that it is much easier to handle your finances. A budget can make a huge difference and will help you feel more in control of your financial situation.

Budgeting can drastically help your financial situation, but there may be some financial woes that you cannot avoid. Should an unexpected financial cost come about, you will want to know how to react. There are some quick ways that you can get your hands on extra cash. A payday loan is a great example of a quick way to get money that you need. Should you take out a payday loan it is important that you include paying your loan back when you make your budget.

Take one small step towards gaining control of your finances. With one step you may be surprised at the difference you feel. Eventually, you can continue to take more small steps and before you know it you will find that you are in a positive financial state. Take time developing your plan and remind yourself of your goals throughout your time budgeting.

Getting Out of Credit Card Debt

If you are like most Americans, you use plastic to pay for a lot of your major purchases. The term “plastic” here means a debit or credit card.

A debit card is a card that is connected to your specific bank account. When you make a purchase with your debit card, money is pulled directly out of your bank account.

A credit card, on the other hand, is quite different from a debit card. When you make a purchase with a credit card, the card pulls money out of nowhere to make the payment.

However, this money isn’t really coming out of nowhere. You have to pay back that money that you spent, just at a later date.

Credit cards are good in some ways and bad in many others. Credit cards are good when you’re making a big purchase and you don’t have quite enough money in your account to make the purchase.

You can just swipe your credit card and then pay the amount in full at the end of the month when it is due. This can be very useful when you are trying to catch a sale on an item, like a TV or furniture set, and you don’t want to wait to buy it because then the sale will be over.

As you can probably guess, credit cards have their downsides as well. Many times people don’t actually have the money to buy whatever it is that they want to buy, so they just put it on credit.

By the time the bill comes in the mail, they still don’t have enough money to pay the bill. What’s worse is that the bill comes with a certain amount of interest tacked onto it.

So with a credit card, you’re not just paying the amount for the thing you bought, but you’re paying interest as well. You can probably see how it can be easy for people to rack up inordinate amounts of credit card debt on their cards.

If you have found yourself in this situation, try not to panic. There are things you can do to help yourself get out of debt.

There is no panacea, however. There is no cure-all where you can snap your fingers and all of your debt will go away.

The process may take time, effort, and even more money, but you can get out of debt. And it is worth it to be free of debt.

One of the most important things you can do to start getting rid of your credit card debt is to take inventory of how much you actually owe. This can done by examining all of the statement your credit card company has sent you.

If you can’t remember how much you owe, or you’ve lost the statements they’ve sent you, give them a call or look online. There will be a way for you to find out how much you owe.

Another important thing you can do is to try to start making a budget. Figure out how much money you’re making and where your money is going when you spend it.

This can be difficult at first, but with time, you’ll get better at it. Budgeting is crucial to successfully managing finances.

One of the next steps you can take is to try to understand why you are in so much credit card debt. Think about the things you bought with your credit card and the justifications you made to yourself so you could feel good about buying each thing.

While you may have wanted the items you bought with your credit card, were they really necessary? Sometimes the answer is yes, but most of the time the answer is going to be no.

It is important to be honest with yourself in this process, because you are the one who has to worry about the credit card debt that is piling up. Try to pinpoint why you’re in so much debt and work on solving that specific problem.

The next step could be to stop getting into more debt. There are several ways to do this.

One way is to simply stop spending money using your credit card. This may sound easy, but if you’re used to paying for things with your credit card, it will most likely be very difficult to just stop your credit card usage cold turkey.

Work on cutting back on your credit card usage, and soon enough, you’ll have conquered your problem. If you find yourself in the midst of credit card debt, follow these simple steps. They will help you get back on your feet and out of your credit card debt.

Budgeting for Dummies

Many people don’t know how to create a budget because they feel like it is a difficult task or it is too late. But in reality, creating a budget planner is very simple, easy, and enjoyable! It doesn’t matter what situation you are in, creating a budget is very important for everyone. If you have never created a budget, don’t worry, we are here to give you some budgeting for dummies tips and tricks!

Determine Your Income

One of the first steps in creating a budget is determining how much money you have coming in. Calculate how much you make in a month, and write that down. The easiest way to do this is by taking a look at one of your paycheck stubs from your latest payday and one from the same time the previous year. If your income fluctuates from month to month then you should take the lowest possible amount earned on any given month. Guessing a low amount will give you room to save money on the months you earn more than that low amount. It is always good to assume the lowest price, so you will never come up short!

Financial Statements

Financial statements include bank statements, bills, and any document that has an indication of money coming in or out. This will help you physically see where a lot of your money is going. It is really important to determine where you are spending the bulk of your money. Is it food? Is that item a need or a want? Locate where you can cut out expenses, so you can start saving today.

Determine Expenses

The next step in our budgeting for dummies tutorial is making a list of all your expenses. Track bills that are coming up in the future, and find past bills. It is very important to know exactly how much you are going to spend on expenses. Once you know how much you spend, take a look at your weekly and monthly expenses and see if there is any way you can cut your expenses.

Now that you have everything that you spend on a regular basis written out in front of you it is time to make some cuts. Take a look at all your expenses and determine which things you can cut out. Here are some examples:

  • Going out to eat.
  • Buying name brand food and clothing (do you really need that little logo on your shirt? You can probably get one that looks similar and fits the same for much cheaper at a local thrift store.
  • Going out for expensive activities on date night (try some activities that don’t cost money like swimming at a local pool, an outdoor picnic, a biking trip, or a hike.
  • Taking the kids to expensive activities (Try some fun activities that don’t cost money like going to the park, camping in the backyard, etc.)
  • Borrow (Need something like a carpet cleaner? Before you spend a fortune buying something you aren’t going to use very often, try borrowing or even renting from friends and family first.)

Thank you for reading, we hope you have enjoyed these budgeting for dummies tips and tricks.

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