Top 10 Effective Personal Finance Habits

3 branded blog image 5-4

Do you know the 10 most highly effective personal finance habits? Read on to find out!

A big income and fancy degree do not guarantee financial abundance. Effective money habits are an important part of achieving financial independence. Over time, your habits will ultimately determine your outcomes. Choose your habits wisely and watch your bank account grow. A few new, simple habits can create positive change.

Add these money habits to your financial life:

  1. Automatically transfer money to your savings or brokerage account. If left to our own devices, few of us would consistently put money into our savings account each month. Remove the temptation and responsibility. Save a portion of each paycheck without having to think about it.

     

  2. Review your financial goals each day. One of the most effective ways to save and invest effectively is to review your financial goals and keep them fresh in your mind. Don’t have any goals? Make a few.

     

  3. Only use a credit card in an emergency. Sure, there are cards that allow you to earn points toward good and services. But is the risk of running up your debt worth it? Pull out the debit card and save the credit card for emergencies.

     

  4. Pay your bills weekly. Set up a day and time each week to pay your bills. Try to pay all bills at least 10 days before they’re due. Holidays and weekends can prolong the amount of time it takes for online payments to post or for the mail to reach its final destination. Avoid waiting until the last minute, and late fees will be a thing of the past.

     

  5. Learn a little more each week. You might have had a single class on personal finance in high school. Any additional education on the topic will be your responsibility. Spend 30 minutes each week on a topic that will enhance your understanding of personal finance. A few ideas:
  • Managing debt
  • Investing
  • Retirement planning
  • Taxes
  • Diversification
  1. Check your bank accounts each day. Take a minute and review your account balances. Everyone has unexpectedly run out of money at one time or another. Never be surprised again.

     

  2. Live below your means. This single habit makes it easier to pay bills, save money, and avoid debt. Adopt a lifestyle that will allow you to save at least 15% of your paycheck and still avoid going into debt.

This where a budget really comes into play. With a household budget, you’ll be able to see how well you’re doing each month.

  1. Max out employer retirement accounts. If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, be sure to contribute enough to receive the maximum match amount.

     

  2. Eat at home. Every meal out costs a significant amount more than the same meal would cost at home. Plan your meals in advance and save money.

     

  3. Comparison shop. Comparison-shopping can save money and prevent wasteful purchases in the first place. By taking your time, you’ll have a better chance of finding the best price. You might also find that the urge to splurge has passed by the time you find the best deal. Shopping around can be half the fun.

How many of these habits do you currently have? Consider the idea that every money habit you have is either taking you closer to or further from your financial goals. Are your current habits enhancing your finances or harming them? Evaluate your habits and rate their effectiveness with a long-term perspective. Decide to adopt one new habit today.

********

All content on this ​website was created and/or compiled by ​Natural Stress Relief Women. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (including text and images) without express and written permission from this ​site’s author/owner is strictly prohibited.

4 Financial Habits Of The Wealthy That Can Help You Beat Money Stress

Are you struggling with money? These financial habits of the wealthy can help you get on track.

nsrw (9) 4-6

If you want to really change your life, you are going to need to learn to prioritize.

We all have limited resources, whether those resources are time, money, or energy.  We are all limited by time and energy in a 24 hour day, and that’s why it makes sense to focus our limited resources on creating those financial habits that will have the biggest impact on our financial health and wellbeing.

Here is what we recommend to focus on when building new financial habits:

  1. Identify where are you experiencing the most stress with your finances. What causes you sleepless nights? Is it the lack of savings? A non-existent emergency fund? Living paycheck to paycheck with too little income to pay your bills each month? A bleak retirement future? A tsunami of medical bills?  For me it was figuring out how to become less dependent on a job that was becoming less and less stable and more and more toxic.  I worried about getting downsized and all the consequences that would follow while at the same time drowning in work-related stress, over-achiever stress, relationship stress and burn-out. When I finally lost my job, I worried about depleting all the funds in my emergency savings account. That’s when I decided that finding other sources of income is important and came up with solutions for my most stressing problems. You can do it too! Focusing on the most stressful financial challenge in your life can be an effective place to start.
  1. Evaluate which new financial habit would have the biggest impact on your money. Take a moment to think about the impact each potential new financial habit would bring to your life in helping you tread the path to financial freedom.
  • Write down as many potential financial habits of the wealthy as you can that are related to your target financial challenge.
  • Prioritize your list based on the likely outcome from incorporating that habit into your life. Eliminate the bottom 80%.
  • Reexamine the 20% that remain. Visualize the impact each of the remaining possibilities will have down the road 1 month, 6 months, 12 months, and 5 years down the road. How will the habit impact your life 25 years from now?
  • Select the habit that makes the most sense after carefully considering the future. If you’re torn between 2 or more habits, consider which would be the easiest to implement. Never underestimate the power of momentum. You can swing back around and pick up the other habits in the near future. In fact, when you start seeing success and positive results from your initial efforts, you will be highly motivated to continue working on other financial habits to continually improve your financial health and wellbeing. Before you know it a positive domino effect will start as you build momentum towards financial freedom.
  1. Focus on being average at first.  Rome was not built in one day, so don’t try to master everything at once. Try to bring all the parts of your personal finances up to an average level FIRST and then strive to become a high achiever. Identify the areas which are the worst aspects of your financial life because that is where the greatest source of your financial discomfort is coming from. For me, I started with paying of all credit card bills and NOT purchasing items on credit that I could not pay off in full by the end of the month.  I focused on that for about 2 years.
  • What does this mean for you?  It means that you have to work on eliminating consumer debt, building an emergency fund, trying to save at least 10% of your income every month, get adequate insurance, and be consistently saving for retirement.  Make a budget and figure out which “hidden” expenses must be included in your budget for proper planning.  You need to be doing all those things BEFORE worrying thinking about “luxury items” such as buying  a vacation home or getting  a swimming pool.
  • Monitor your progress on a 1 to 10 scale,  and try bringing each part of your finances up to a “5” before attempting anything on a grander scale.
  1. Consider whether you have what you need to put the new financial habit into place. If you don’t have what you need to get started, ask yourself : can I get what I need or start small enough that the habit is viable? If you’re 75lbs overweight and spend every evening on the couch, you’d have to start small if your desired habit was to run 10 miles each day. You’d need running shoes, too. The same principle applies when forming hew financial habits. Perhaps you need practical and simple money management advice and helpful tools and resources to help you build new financial habits.

We only have 24 hours in each day so make sure that you are using your time wisely and effectively to build new financial habits that will benefit you in the long run.  It’s a fact that the most important habits are usually the ones that are the least appealing. if you want to change your life and reduce stress when it comes to money, start by working on developing some financial habits of the wealthy to enhance your finances.

Please Share Your Thoughts 

In the comments below, share with us:

1. What habits have you adopted to help manage and improve your finances?
2. Which one of the financial habits mentioned above will you try and why?

 

*************

All content on this ​website was created and/or compiled by ​Natural Stress Relief Women. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (including text and images) without express and written permission from this ​site’s author/owner is strictly prohibited.

6 Expenses Every Woman Should Include in Her Budget (but most miss)

Corbis-42-62990007

If you thought that you included all your expenses in your budget, check again! You may have missed these six.

Do you have a household budget? Congratulations, you’re already way ahead of the crowd when it comes to money management tips! But you need to ask yourself how thorough your budget actually is.  Even when you think you’ve got everything covered, it often turns out that you missed a few items. It’s the little surprises that can ruin well-laid plans. This is especially true with personal financial matters.

Check your house hold budget again to make sure you have included these six items:

  1.  Expenses for your four-legged friends. If you have a pet, you’ll need to budget all pet-related expenses, such as food, boarding, health care, toys, grooming fees, bedding, and any other supplies you feel your pet needs to be happy and comfortable. Don’t overlook pet-related expenses.  They really add up quickly.
  2. Major purchases.  If you have plans to purchase any big ticket items, you need to make plan for that in your budget.  Are you planning to buy a new car, or new washing machine, in the near future.  Do you have vacation plans? If you’re like me, these big ticket items may slip your mind when you are making your financial plans. It’s essential that you  include these major expenses in your money management strategies and budget projections so that you don’t come up short, or totally ruin your budget.
  1. Non-monthly bills. Since most bills are paid monthly, budgets are set up on the same schedule. However, some bills aren’t paid twelve times a year. Depending on where you live, the water and trash bills might be quarterly. My insurance bills ( car insurance, house insurance, death insurance) are all paid annually.  So I break it down into monthly “savings” in my budget, so that when the time rolls around I can cover that annual expense.  Oh yeah…where I live, we need to plan for hurricane insurance too!  Which is also a HUGE annual expense.
  • Car registration and road taxes are also annual bills where I live.  It may be a small small amount in many states, but it can be a very large bill in others. The best thing to do is to set aside a little each month if the annual amount is high. 
  • Another annual bill where I live is property taxes.  In some places property taxes can be built into your monthly mortgage payment, but this isn’t always the case ( it’s not the case where I live). If you’re no longer carrying a mortgage, it certainly isn’t the case. So plan ahead and make allowances in your budget for this important annual expense.  Don’t be caught off guard.
  • As I mentioned before , many insurance premiums are often paid annually or quarterly. Remember to budget for these.  The last thing you need is for your insurance to expire and not have the finds immediately available to renew your policies.
  • Don’t overlook subscriptions and memberships.  These can also fall under the category of non-monthly bills.  These can include gym memberships, magazine or newspaper subscriptions, and warehouse club membership fees.
  • Home and car maintenance and repair costs can vary from year to year.  This is a BIG one for me, cause maintenance and repair costs can be so different from year to year.  But the key is to do regular maintenance on your home and car to avoid having to do MAJOR maintenance which is more costly.  In my case, I plan and budget for car oil changes every four months.  I don’t wait until the car starts running poorly to do that.  I do maintenance on my house roof every year too, rather than wait for the roof to spring a leak or be ripped off in a hurricane because of loose screws.  Perhaps in your case, it’s easy enough to change furnace filters. But how is your roof looking? What about the tires on your car? These possible expenses can ( and should ) also be budgeted for, so do not overlook them.
  • Eye examinations, dental checkups, and annual trips to the doctor are other expenses that many of us forget when creating a budget. Fortunately, we have a very good national health insurance plan where I live, so trips to the doctor are usually covered.  But eye examinations and dental checkups are not.  If you need a new pair of orthotics each year, include them, too. Consider your regular medical expenses and accommodate for them within your budget, especially for things that are not covered by a health insurance plan.
  1. Think about your clothing costs over the course of a year and include a line item in your budget. Do you have any special occasions this year? Perhaps a wedding or other formal event will require special financial consideration. Everyone needs to buy clothes on occasion.  I am not a huge clothes shopper, but I do tend to make room in my budget for a few nice outfits every year, since there are a few annual gala events that I enjoy attending.  It’s better to plan for these expenses than to ruin my budget with last minute items that were overlooked.
  2. Holidays and special occasions have a way of sneaking up on us. It might be a good idea to start saving, and maybe even shopping, in January. The end of year holidays can be a major expense for many women, depending on your traditions and the size of your family.
  1. School-related expenses. School supplies, field trip fees, school lunches, physicals for sports, and numerous other expenses can add up over the school year.

It’s important to account for everything in your budget and avoid the number one cause of stress among women! A household budget isn’t very effective if many of your expenses are excluded. There are many financial expenditures that are routinely forgotten when a budget is constructed. Go over your bills from last year and ensure you’re including everything relevant.

Please Share Your Thoughts 

In the comments below, share with us:

1. Did you overlook any of these expenses in your budget?
2. If so, which ones?

 

How To Confidently Survive Divorce With Your Finances Intact

Corbis-42-21272389

Going through a divorce is an overwhelming time, but it does not have to be this way!  It can be a lot easier to come out financially stable after a divorce if you follow these 7 tips  for protecting finances before divorce.

I’ve lived through a divorce and lived to tell the story.  And I can tell you that divorce stress can be devastating, both emotionally and financially. It’s a delicate time that can easily result in making poor decisions.   For me, it felt like my whole world was being turned upside down, and in a way, I guess it was. 

Nothing seemed to make sense at a time when you have to make some really important decisions. The decisions you make before, during, and after divorce  can have an impact on your post-divorce finances for a long period of time. To survive divorce financially, you have to making wise decisions.  Making wise decisions can shorten the time it takes to recover financially.

Thankfully, there are quite a few things you can do to survive divorce financially which don’t require a lot of thought, time, energy or money. Some choices are easy to make and easy to implement. 

Speed Up Your POST-Divorce Financial stability with these strategies :

  1. Close joint account and open your own bank account a.s.a.p. If you’ve taken the final decision to get divorced,  you don’t want to be stuck with any financial liabilities your soon-to-be ex creates.  This doesn’t just include bank accounts. Any credit cards are also potential nightmares. Contact your bank and credit card companies and explain the situation.  Act NOW, to get your finances in order so that you experience minimal financial woes after the divorce.

         Open new accounts in just your name. This might be easier to do before closing the joint accounts.

          Ensure that you’ll have access to money throughout the divorce process.

  1. Think about your housing situation.  if you have children, get ready for a complicated situation. Your kids need a place to live, so selling the house, or moving out may not be an option.  When children are part of the picture, it’s often best to consult with an attorney to examine your options. If you do not have kids, it’s often easier to sell the home and move on.  You may also decide to buy out your soon-to-be-ex, and assume full responsibility for the house post divorce.  That’s what I did, and when my divorce was final I rented out the house and moved into a more affordable apartment.  The rental income covers the mortgage payments, and at least I now have an asset that will continue to appreciate in value.
  2. Take stock of all your assets. Do you know the full extent of your financial holdings during your marriage? In many cases, one spouse handles the financial matters, and the other is happy to stay out of it. Now is the time to dig in and develop an accurate picture of what you have. You might be surprised by what you discover.

         Now you have to collectively decide how to handle the assets. Do you split them?

         Sell them and split the   proceeds? Or hire a lawyer and battle it out?   

  1. Take a look at all your insurance needs. You might need to get on your own medical insurance plan. What items do you still own that need to be insured? Your insurance costs might be much less now. There’s no reason to carry more insurance than you need.  Streamlining your financial obligations and implying there possible should be the order of the day.  Keeping things simple will allow you to heal financially and emotionally and end up standing even stronger on your own two feet.
  2. Design a new budget.  After divorce, your  income and expenses will change, so it only makes sense that your budget should  change too. If you’ve gone from a two-income household to a single income, there’s likely less margin for error. Develop a budget that makes sense for your new post-divorce circumstances and be determined to stick to it.  In my case, I got rid of some monthly payments, buy selling a truck I would no longer need, and I made room in my budget  to invest in essential personal development courses,  and aromatherapy, both of which I needed to get through this emotional devastating time.
  3. Swap beneficiaries on your life insurance and retirement accounts.  It’s quite possible that your beneficiary was your spouse. With a divorce around the corner, you’ll probably want to list new beneficiaries. For most accounts, this is easily accomplished by filling out a simple form. This step is often overlooked, but it’s REALLY important.  You need to make sure that in the event of your death, your assets go to those whom you want to have them.
  4. Secure a copy of your credit report.  You’re about to embark on a new life and a new reality, so it’s important to know where you stand financially. It’s just as important to be aware of all of your accounts. Your spouse may have opened a joint account or credit card without your knowledge. The better your credit, the easier it is to move through the world.  Conversely, the worse your credit, the greater the financial obstacles and challenges that lie ahead.

I can tell you from personal experience that divorce is a difficult time for all. But a divorce can be ten times more  difficult if financial matters are not handled intelligently. Focusing your attention on housing, debt, income, and good money management strategies, will make the transition easier. Doing this NOW is important to survive divorce financially.  It could mean all the difference between financial peace of mind after the divorce or extreme financial stress post divorce.

These tips  are intended to just highlight the basics. In many instances, an attorney and/or an accountant will be required. But understanding the basic issues will make it easier to make wise decisions. Apply these strategies to your circumstances and get the professional guidance you require.  These tips are in no way meant to replace professional advice so make sure to consult with a lawyer and any other relevant professional.  Your future financial health depends on it!  Act NOW, to ensure financial peace of mind long after the divorce is final.

Please Share Your Thoughts 

In the comments below, share with us:

1. Have you implemented any of these pre-divorce strategies?
2. If not, do you feel ready to take these steps for your post-divorce financial stability?

 

Master This One Shopping Habit To Avoid Financial Stress Later

Corbis-42-53305140

Do you know how to enjoy higher quality products on a budget?  It’s easier than you think! All it takes is a little insight into where to look, what items are worth the extra cost and when to incorporate them.

If you are looking for ways to avoid financial stress and  manage your money effectively, you may be convinced that shopping at dollar stores and browsing the discount rack at “regular” stores are your only option.  Nothing could be farther from the truth. Actually, buying fewer and better items may be a superior financial strategy. You can be frugal and still enjoy higher end products and services that enhance your health and well-being.

Benefits of Buyer Higher Quality Products

  1. Minimize and reduce stress. The material things you love can create headaches and frustration when they break down and need repairs. A brand name tablet may function better and last longer than the obscure model that’s on sale.  That means LESS stress, irritation and frustration for you! 
  2. Helps you save time. Think about it for a moment. When you have fewer belongings, you will spend less time cleaning, maintaining, and fixing them. You can even vacuum and dust your house faster because the clutter is gone.  That alone is a HUGE benefit for me!  :-) 
  3. Results in LESS waste.  I don’t know about you, but for me I take comfort and pride in knowing that what I do as a consumer has a positive impact on “mother earth”. Goods that are manufactured to stricter standards often use materials and processes that are eco-friendly. You’ll also be dumping less stuff into landfills, and making this planet a better place for us and generations to come.  That ranks high on my list too!
  4. Makes you feel more confident. I never follow trends. For me, its more important to develop my own personal style instead of blindly following the latest trends. And it saves me a LOT of money too! I choose items that suit my lifestyle and sense of taste.  If you want to manage our money properly and avoid unecessary financial stress, you need to learn to do the same. You’ll be content with your ballerina flats until they wear out, even if celebrities ( or your colleagues, neighbor, or best -friend) are wearing stiletto heels this season.

Check out these places to find Higher Quality

  1.  Invest in yourself. The money you spend investing in yourself through education, training and coaching could be your wisest investment. I consider myself a life student, always interested in learning, and investing in improving myself and my skills. A practical stress management course and personal coaching may pay for itself many times over if it helps you live the stress-resilient, happy life you deserve and avoid further financial, physical and emotional challenges.
  2. Improve the beauty of your home. This may seem like an odd piece of advice, but its best to shop for used furniture and accessories. I have discovered that used furniture is often better made than contemporary pieces, and cost far less.  They just don’t make things like they used to anymore, so I stretch my dollars by shopping for used furniture whenever I can.  That does not mean you should buy stuff that is no loner any good.  LOTS of used furniture is still in TOP condition because the previous owner bought high quality stuff and took very good care of it.  Those are the types of used furniture you need to keep you eye out for.
  3. Take good care of your car.  After my house, my car is my biggest expense. Here too, I choose to be a good used car. But depending on your situation, a reliable vehicle with good gas mileage may be a better bargain than sinking more money into your old car that’s constantly breaking down. In some parts of the world, employer subsidies might make public transportation cheaper than driving.  If that applies to you, GREAT!  In my neck of the woods, a car is essential.  So I buy a good used car and take extra good care of it by getting an oil change and tune-up every 4 months.  
  4. Schedule a medical check-up regularly. It’s common for women to cut back on medical care when money is tight, but that can backfire. Managing chronic conditions and treating new symptoms promptly could help you avoid a more costly hospital stay or other major procedure.  I schedule bi-annual check-ups with my natural health doctor, since I am very much in to natural and alternative remedies.  That help me stay on track health wise and nip a problem in the bud before it gets out of hand, if anything is detected.  My grandmother always used to say: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  That 100% true when it comes to your health.
  5. Buy, prepare and eat nutritious food. You’ve probably heard about corn subsidies that enable low prices on junk food. Healthier food is worth the higher prices to lower your medical expenses and keep you and your family healthy.  One of the best ways to build a stress-resilient body is to eat nutritious food! 
  6. Gift your wardrobe a facelift. Do you have a closet full of dresses and suits that you regret buying? You can give them a facelift or a new breath of life by combining them with something new.  Try putting together a new wardrobe with a limited number of versatile garments you love. Calculate the best buys by thinking in terms of cost per wearing.  If you mix and match in a creative way, you’ll be surprised at how gorgeous you look in your “new creations”. 
  7. Make time to enjoy your leisure.  if money is tight and oyu cannot afford the sky high prices for sporting events and amusement parks, I have GOOD news!  There are many enriching free or low-cost activities. Visit the library to read a classic novel or play each week. Sign up for modern dance classes or gourmet cooking lessons. Try photography classes, or backyard camping. Even backyard bird watching can turn out to be a really pleasurable, relaxing and enjoyable way to spend your leisure time without breaking your budget.
  8. Treat Yourself To A Vacation.  Weekend getaways are awesome! Smaller and more frequent getaways always give me more pleasure than taking one grand vacation that leaves me feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.  of course, if you have kids and they have to be in school, then this might be more difficult for you. Research destinations that you can visit for a day trip or long weekend.  Then treat yourself to a weekend vacation regularly. 
  9. Prove Your Generate By Giving to Charity. Consider providing support the way major foundations and philanthropists do it. Give larger amounts of money to fewer causes to have a greater impact.

Pay more attention to value rather than price tags. Owning fewer items of better quality can make you healthier, happier, and more productive.  And isn’t that what we all want?

Please Share Your Thoughts 

In the comments below, share with us:

1. What higher-end item would you consider buying instead of its cheaper version?
2. Have you found a way to purchase higher end at a terrific price? Tell us!