How To Budget Money

Budgeting money is something of a neglected necessity in the modern world, with so many people lured into spending regardless of their financial situation. It has become almost the norm to spend each month more than is earned, often without even knowing it. This has led to severe debt problems for millions of people in the US and UK in particular, and an encouragement and acceptance of ignorance in personal money management.

Despite all the bad debt write offs, the banks and other lenders are happy with the situation. They build the risk factor of bad debts into their interest rates to ensure overall profitability, so borrowers are paying for the collective lack of ability to budget properly. Yet, budgeting is easy, so it is baffling in some ways that many people are unsure how to budget money.

Being able to budget your own money is a bit more than listing your incomings and outgoings each month, quarter, year, or whatever period you need to budget for. Yes, you must go through the listing process, and then keep an eye on both sides of the equation constantly. But there are other factors in home budgeting, and that is what this article is about.

The Greatest Incentive

To encourage yourself to budget money is important, as without the motivation, you will probably not budget that well. What incentive can there be to having a home budget and sticking to it? The answer is actually quite simple. Nobody becomes rich by spending more, or even the same, each month than they receive. Wealth grows from surplus; that is, the surplus left over at the end of the month after you have completed your spending.

Recognizing this can provide you with a kick start in wanting to learn how to budget money, and then put that learning into practice. Once you start to see those surpluses build, your confidence in wealth building, and incentive in budgeting, will grow.

Keeping Detached

It is important when budgeting to maintain a detached view of the figures. Think of yourself as a finance professional helping a consumer set and manage a home budget, and set yourself aside from any emotions that may seep out during a review of your budget. Some parts of the budget can arouse emotions, and thus distort sensible decisions. Things like cutting out a family holiday or weekend trips, that new bike for your son or designer outfit for your daughter, can be emotional sparks. It is important not to allow those sparks to set light to your well drafted budget.

Be Open

If you have a family, the household budget affects those closest to you. The budget is a family affair, and it does help to talk openly about it with your spouse and children who are old enough to understand. Children may not like sacrifices, but they will understand eventually. It can be an important part of their education if you involve them. If you can give them some incentive, too, such as building their own savings scheme into the budget, then they may even start to enjoy it and truly see the benefits.

Ignore Peer Pressures

Your personal budget is simply that, personal. It is therefore something you should see in the context of your own circumstances, not somebody else's.

To budget your money effectively you really need to be able to ignore peer pressures that may force you into unnecessary or unwise spending. Just because your neighbour or best friend is having two foreign holidays this year does not mean you need to also. Just because your brother or other relative has a new home cinema system does not mean it is essential for you too.

If you can let peer pressure run off you, like water off a duck's back, then you have made a big breakthrough in learning how to budget money.

Those are just a few of the other factors that come into play in learning how to budget at home, but they are all worth considering as you focus on your incomings and outgoings while home budgeting.
»»  read more


Understanding Finance

What Is Finance?

Finance can be defined in many ways. Broadly, however, finance pertains to money and to the many ways it can be managed and controlled. This is the necessary money to support an endeavor or to further pursue a profitable venture.

Thus, taking on this definition, finance is a concern for everybody. It is not about big businesses only.

Why Is Finance Important?

Finance is crucial in any household and to any individual that has a future to look forward to. Here are the many ways by which finance will be significant:

Security is important. This will ensure that no matter what happens, there is some ground to depend on still.

Proper financing can make the household secure from any undesirable possibilities. Like when somebody loses a job, proper allocation of the money beforehand should ensure enough cash to get by while the times are rough.

Finance also plays a big role in the advancement of any endeavor. For example, a small business can grow larger if the owner knows how to control the money that comes in for a bigger enterprise.

It is not enough to settle with just getting by in everyday. There must be some growth in the pool of wealth and resources that the household depends on. With this, success is a big possibility.

Good management of the monetary resources should also include the protection. This is a big necessity, especially for those who managed to propagate their resources.

Good financing also helps in giving the individual or the household a stable future. This means that it a happy retirement can be expected.

There are no debts or obligations to worry over. There are no suits or liabilities to watch out for. The future promises just the plain enjoyment of the fruits of your labor.

Proper Financing

There are many ways to implement a successful financing scheme. It, however, depends on the circumstances of the person and of the situation.

Here is a list of some general guidelines to take care of the finances:

1. Live within the means of the household. Do not spend too much on the unnecessary. Bank on a future first before indulging.

2. Save money. Always keep a portion of the resources for savings purposes. In the long run, this will provide a bigger pool of wealth for the household.

3. Avoid loans or credit cards as much as possible. There are some schemes that promise good offers on loans. However, if not entirely needed, stay away from this. This may only turn into a liability later on.

4. Always think of improving the current situation. This is a must to move up the ladder to success.

5. Study carefully the options. You may have the right vision, but you have to take the right steps towards that. This is also a good way to avoid wasting money and effort on fruitless agenda.

»»  read more


10 Easy Tips To Save Money On Your Home Heating Bills

Here are the 10 tips that I have personally used to save on my home heating costs:

1. Head down to the basement and reduce the setting on your hot water thermostat by about 10 degrees. I wouldn’t go below 120-115 degrees. The adjustment dial is typically a red knob towards the bottom of the water tank.

2. While you are downstairs, make sure you have clean filters for your central air-heating unit. A dirty and clogged filter will force your unit to work much harder and stay on longer as it struggles to fresh air through the clogged filter to heat the rest of your house.

3. Check your air ducts for gaps, leaks or disconnects. If you have any disconnects or leaks in your ductwork, your heating bills could be 25% higher than they need to be if these gaps were sealed. If you can’t do this on your own, hire a professional. This expert can also clean your ducts for added efficiency.

4. Adjust your thermostat a few degrees lower. Believe me, this really adds up. It may not seem like much of a difference to you, but you will notice the difference when you get a lower bill each month!

5. While we are on the subject of thermostats, consider replacing yours if it is not programmable. The reason is, you can set the thermostat so the temperature setting in your house is lower at night than during the day, when you are awake. Also, if you are away at work during the day, you can set it for a lower temperature and have it programmed to start heating the house a little bit before you come home. These aren’t too expensive and are easy to install and configure yourself.

6. Insulate your attic. Heat rises, right? If your attic isn’t properly insulated, all of the heat in your house (and your money) goes right through the roof. Literally! This does require some effort on your part, but following through on this tip will save you a ton of money over the years. Measure the square footage of your attic and buy rolls of insulation, greater than R-13 but no higher than R-30. Wear a mask and gloves when working with insulation because it irritates the skin.

7. Find those leaks and cracks! If you were to add up all of the small cracks and holes in your house, they would probably add up to a small window, wide open, letting cold air in and hot air out. Take the time to find gaps in windows, doors, pipes, electrical and phone lines, your dryer duct and much more. Put weather-strips around your doors and windows. You can buy insulation foam that comes in a can with a straw at the top that allows you to fill in tight spaces. It expands to fill even the smallest cracks. Of all of the tasks, this was the most fun finding and filling these gaps all around the house.

8. Close the vents in rooms that you do not use. I have one room in my house that is not currently in use. I shut the hot air ducts and made sure the windows and doors were properly sealed to limit energy leakage. Why waste your money heating up extra square footage of your house that you don’t even use?

9. Open drapes and shades for all of your windows during the day to let the sun heat your home. In the evening, pull them back down for added insulation. It is amazing how much direct sunlight streaming into your home helps to heat things up.

10. Your fireplace can help and hurt your heating costs. If you are not using your fireplace, make sure the damper is closed. When it is closed, inspect the damper and feel if cold air is still leaking in. If you are using your fireplace, make sure the heating in the rest of your house is reduced or turned off.

»»  read more


10 Tips To Make Sure Your Financial Budget Will Succeed

1. Create a budget with realistic targets – Let’s say one of your budget goals is to not eat out for lunch or dinner on a regular basis. If you are honest with yourself you may find this to be an unrealistic goal. Sometimes it’s a nice break to eat out and have a relaxing rewarding evening. In other words, don’t set the bar too high. Drastic and unrealistic goals are one of the surefire ways your budget will not succeed.

2. Budget for expenses that don’t occur on a routine basis – Make sure you give consideration to expenses that occur once a year, such as holiday presents, birthdays, vacations, weddings, car maintenance costs, etc. These expenses don’t occur every month and they will bust your budget plans wide open. Make a list of these events on a calendar and put a dollar figure to them. Place them in the month they are expected to occur so you can plan in advance how you will pay for them. The regular routine expenses are not the reason your budget will fail. It is these “gotchas” that will wreck havoc on your budget if you don’t plan for them.

3. Put your budget in writing – Take the time to write down your budget plans. Making a mental note of your budget goals is a recipe for failure. Don’t assume that your financial future will take care of itself by making a simple mental note to yourself. If you have your budget goals detailed in writing you can review and remind yourself weekly and monthly of your financial goals.

4. If you have a bad month or week, don’t give up! – Let’s say you have been reaching your budget goals for three months. In the fourth month, for whatever reason, you didn’t reach your budget goals. Maybe you even stopped trying to stick to your budget! If this happens, don’t just throw your hands up in the air and admit to failure. Everyone falls off the wagon sometimes. Your budget is a journey. There will be bumps in the road, so the key is to realize that everyone makes mistakes. This relates to a story I like about a great old time golfer named Walter Hagen. Before each round of golf, he told himself that he would have 4 or 5 bad shots. During the golf round, if he hit his ball into a bunker, he would tell himself, “There is one of my bad shots that I was expecting”, hit the ball out of the bunker and move on. It didn’t phase him one bit because he had knew there would be some bad shots in his round.

5. Adjust your budget over time – This one is a biggie! It can take months or even years to fine tune a personal budget. When you initially made your budget plans, you probably had to guess at some of your figures. They might not have been in touch with the realities of every day life. For example, you may have underestimated your monthly grocery or utility bills. If this happens, analyze all of the underlying money that was spend in this category to see if your initial estimate was unrealistic. If it was, try to come up with a more accurate number and then to stick to that new figure. It is this type of adjustment that is one of the keys to making sure you can stick to your budget.

6. Review your budget every month – This is where you will make any adjustments that are needed. Set aside the first day of each new month to review your income and expenditures and match them to your budget goals. By actively reviewing your finances and comparing it to your budget, you can adjust your spending habits. This gives you a chance to analyze areas that exceeded your budget expectations and make the adjustments in your spending habits or your budget. The goal here is to not forget about your budget. One tip that has worked for me is to put a printout of my basic budget goals on the refrigerator. That way every day, several times a day, I would notice my budget goals sheet. I may not read it every time, but I notice it and it reminds me that I need to stick to my budget. That is why tip number 3 is so important.

7. Set specific short-term goals – Let’s say one of your budget goals is to have all of your credit card bills paid off in two years. If your credit card balances total $20,000 that would be $10,000 a year. Divide that number further into quarterly reductions in your credit card bills, in this case $2,500 every 3 months. Now, this is a more tangible budget goal to shoot for isn’t it? I find that when I divide intermediate and long term goals into short-term tangible stepping stones, I am able to feel a greater sense of accomplishment and am more likely to succeed. This brings us to number eight…

8. Reward yourself – That’s right! Treat yourself when you reach your some of your short-term goals. Since your financial budget is really a journey, take some time to smell the roses on your way. Sticking to your budget should not be a restrictive, unpleasant experience. Not only should you take the time to enjoy your financial accomplishments along the way, but use part of your budget for fun things that you enjoy. Just make sure your rewards don’t end up breaking your budget!

9. Pay yourself first – I’m sure that one of your budget goals is to save and invest a portion of your income. One of the keys to make sure you succeed at this is to do what the IRS does with your paycheck, take it out of your discretionary income immediately. This way, the money is saved away right off the bat. Move the money immediately into a savings or mutual fund account. Many mutual fund companies can setup automatic deductions from your paycheck. Despite your best intentions to save, the hectic, daily demands of life can reduce the amount you are able to save.

10. Attitude is everything – When most people think of a budget, they picture restrictions and pain. Almost like a diet. You know what happens with most diets? They don’t seem work for long! First, if your budget is too strict, too restrictive on your spending, it won’t work either. However, you will need to limit your spending in some areas and this will take some adjustment in your attitude. I found that when I am feeling limited and sorry for myself when I can’t purchase something that I want, I remember my financial goals I set with my budget. I think about the satisfaction I feel when I reach those goals. Over time, you find that you don’t want to disappoint yourself by breaking your spending goals on a spur of the moment purchase. Now, I actually get more pleasure knowing that I am reaching my budget goals when the thought of an impulse purchase crosses my mind.

»»  read more