Top 10 Effective Personal Finance Habits

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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.

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

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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?

 

The Number One Cause of Stress Among Women…

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Today I want to talk to you about the number one cause of stress among women – money.

The demands of our jobs and family life sometimes cause excess levels of stress, but the leading cause of stress is money. When we feel that we are not managing our money properly, stress levels tend to rise astronomically. Here are a few tips about stress-free money management.

Keep Regular

First, it is important to deal with money on a regular basis. Many people avoid thinking about their financial difficulties, and this can lead to even higher stress levels. By accepting the fact that you have to deal with money issues, it may be possible to begin lifting the burden of stress.

Set a Goal

Next, make a goal about your money. If you have debt that you would like to pay off, make it a goal to put a dent in your debt through the year. If you would like to save up for a down payment for a new home, you may wish to make that a goal. Motivation is a powerful tool that can help us gain the courage necessary to deal with our monetary issues.

Be Realistic

Once you feel comfortable making decisions about your financial situation, it is important to sit down and be realistic about what you can do. Having goals is a wonderful step, but these goals must be attainable for them to be effective at reducing stress. If you do not have enough money coming in to meet your goals, you may need to reevaluate them.

You may also need to make some tough decisions about how you spend your money. While many of us enjoy going to the local coffee shop, we may not be able to afford spending five dollars every day on chilled coffee. Small changes add up over time, and making a few difficult decisions to cut back on spending may be enough to significantly reduce money stress levels.

Fortunately, reducing our stress in relation to financial issues often helps us spend less money. By being proactive and reducing how stressed money makes us feel, it’s definitely possible to spend less while reaping the benefits of a stress-resilient life.

Money Management For Stress ReliefCheck Price

In addition, stress may lead to more appointments with the doctor, which further increases stress and can cost a considerable amount of money. Since stress is at the basis of many medical problems, and medical problems cost money, it’s important to get a grip on your money management so that you can reduce the amount of stress that surrounds the subject of money. Whatever your financial state is, take solace in the fact that there are solutions available to help you get out of debt and to ensure that your debt level does not continue to rise.

Since money mismanagement is one the leading causes of stress, and finances are the topic that most women get stressed about on a frequent basis, you can bet that I’ve written a book about it and how you can reduce your stress by managing your money effectively.

THIS BOOK is proactive in the sense that it really gets to the bottom of why finances can make us so stressed, it sooths your stress around the idea of money and it also offers practical tips to help you start managing your money effectively.

Be sure to check it out if you often find yourself stressed about money, finances, and money management! You’re going to love it:

MONEY MANAGEMENT FOR STRESS RELIEF

 

To your stress relief success!

How To Save Money Fast: 5 Recession Proof Tips That Work

In these tough economic times you may need to figure out how to save money fast.

Everyone is looking for ways to cut expenses and increase income. We can all agree that having a savings account is important, but knowing how to save money quickly could present a challenge.

It may seem difficult or even impossible to save money when you are living “paycheck to paycheck”. And for many people, that is the bleak reality.

If you need to learn how to save money fast to cover a future expense then try the 5 tips below to beef up your savings quickly.

 

Tip #1. Cut Down On Everyday Expenses

Make an evaluation of your monthly expenses such as internet, phone, electricity, and grocery bills, and look for ways to reduce them.

Perhaps you can switch to a lower cost phone plan. You can start clipping coupons at the grocery store or even cut out the “luxury” brands and grocery items that are more of a “want” and not really a basic “need”.

Figuring out how to save money fast can be as simple as finding an extra $50 in your budget to put aside every month.

Tip #2. Make Short-term Sacrifices in Entertainment

If you want to save money fast, you have to be willing to make some sacrifices. A good place to start is with leisure and entertainment.

Instead of going out with the girls for dinner or a movie, you may have to organize pot luck lunch or some other get together at home.

Tell your friends that you are trying to save money fast and that your recreation and entertainment budget will have to be slashed. In fact, invite them to join the challenge and see who can save the most money within the next 6 months.

As alternative entertainment, you can each take turns “hosting” a social event at home. You’ll still enjoy the company of your friends without the high costs.

Still need more ideas on how to save money fast?

Tip #3. Share Food Expenses

Buying in bulk can lead to HUGE savings and is also a good strategy for saving money fast.

Your friends and neighbors needs to buy food too, so joining forces to buy in bulk can actually be a win-win situation.

Make a list of the items you both use often and can buy in bulk. You may be surprised how many items end up on your “joint shopping list”. Then split the costs and share the savings.

 

Tip #4. Start Carpooling To Save Money Fast

Gas expenses is a big expense on most family budgets.

Brainstorming with neighbors and friends can help you see how to save money fast by car pooling.

Perhaps your car can be assigned to “kids duties” for the group and the neighbor’s car can be assigned to “getting the adults” to their respective jobs are other daily obligations.

The point is that by pooling resources and making good agreements and schedules,everyone can save. And the savings can add up quickly.

Tip #5. Turn Idle Time Into Productive Fun

Is there a fun activity or hobby that you and your family enjoy doing together? Can you turn it into cash for your savings plan?

For instance, if you enjoying cooking and baking, can you turn it into a fun and profitable activity for the whole family!

You do the baking, the kids take it to the neighbors to sell, and hubby does the clean up!!

Turning idle time into productive fun can bring your family closer together, but it also gives everyone an opportunity to contribute to the family savings plan.

Another way to turn idle time into productive fun is to use the internet to research different ideas on how to save money fast.

Instead of just surfing the internet aimlessly you can turn it into a goldmine for ideas you can use to fatten your savings account in record time.

DIY Financial Resources To Help You Save Money Fast!

The 5 ideas mentioned above should give you a good start for saving money fast. But there are many other possibilities.

Now is the time to take a pro-active approach to your finances and learn to master the art of money management so that you can save money fast.

The DIY financial resources below are excellent reference sources for everyday life and for becoming financially fit. I highly recommend them.

Click on the Amazon images below and get your copy now!

 How To Save Money Even If You’re Broke: Financial Common SenseCheck Price Enjoy Your Money!: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give ItCheck Price Clark Howard’s Living Large in Lean Times: 250+ Ways to Buy Smarter, Spend Smarter, and Save MoneyCheck Price

Good Money Management Advice For Financially Strapped Women

Does money control you, or do you control your money?

Good money management advice is essential in these tough times. If you do not manage money properly, you could be flushing your hard-earned money down the toilet!!

Money can be a major source of tension for many women and money problems are often one of the main causes of tension among couples.

Financial problems can cause divorce, depression, and continual anxiety. The best anti-dote for financial stress and money woes is to find and follow sound money management advice.

Do You Need MORE Money?

 

How many times have you said to yourself “If only I had more money.” I know I have said that quite a few times.

But research shows it’s not the amount of money you have, but the way you manage it that causes strain and anxiety.

The key to sound money management is to learn to live within your means instead of scraping and counting pennies every month when it time to pay the bills.

We live in a credit based world where its so easy ( and tempting) to swipe a piece of plastic (aka a credit card) and get whatever we want, whenever we want it. 

This may seem like a convenient and efficient way to live, but in fact its the quickest way to a life of indebtedness and possibly bankruptcy.

We May All Need Plastic Surgery

 

One friend told me recently that she is going in for “plastic surgery”. 

I shockingly asked her what was wrong and why she would need “plastic surgery”. She said she was going to cut up all her credit cards and learn to live within her means.

If you think about it, this may be one form of “plastic surgery” we should all undergo. It may be the best money management advice for our times. 

  • Evaluate your situation and find out where you stand.
  • How much credit card debt do you have? What are your interest rates?
  • How much money are you throwing away on items you don’t really need and can’t really afford to buy? You may be surprised at what you discover.

It may be hard to submit yourself to mandatory “plastic surgery”. It may be uncomfortable to examine your spending habits and total debt situation down to the last penny. But it’s essential if you want to get out of debt and be free of financial stress.

Money Management Tips For Non-Financial Women

 

Getting sound money management advice can help you resolve any financial crisis you are currently facing and prevent future financial problems before they occur. You need to learn to manage money skillfully.

Fortunately, you do not need to be an accountant or get an M.B.A. degree to manage your money widely. Good money management can involved these 5 simple steps:

  1. Make a budget
  2. Compare prices before you buy
  3. Control your spending
  4. Avoid unnecessary debt
  5. Develop discipline and self control to live within your means.

That’s it!

If you diligently stick to the 5 steps, your financial situation will improve gradually. Making and managing money is an important part of life.

It does not have to be a source of strain and anxiety if you start living a different lifestyle that is limited to the things you need and can afford.

Start A Small Emergency Fund!

 

Another good piece of money management advice is to start a savings account for you to fall back on.

Unforeseen expenses can come up at any time and can cause stress. You may feel overwhelmed if an emergency arises and you have no reserve money stashed away to tap into.

A savings account can give you peace of mind knowing that you have some resources to fall back on. You will then be able to move forward in life with less anxiety about the future.

If you’re currently burdened with debt and overwhelmed by financial problems, don’t loose hope.

Take the money management advice here to heart and apply the tips that can help you get out of debt and stay out of debt permanently.

You can learn to manage your money skillfully and effectively. You can start TODAY!

DIY Financial Resources To Master Money Management

 

No one wants their car to break down. No one welcomes family emergencies. No one looks forward to the rainy days that are sure to come and mess up whatever budget you have set up. But the fact is, all these things happen whether we want it or not, and they can cause financial ruin.

Now is the time to take a pro-active approach to your finances and learn to master the art of money management to prepare for when “life” happens.

The DIY financial resources below are excellent reference sources for everyday life and for becoming financially fit. I highly recommend them.

Click on the Amazon images below and get your copy now!

 The Money Saving Wealth Building Guide for the New EconomyCheck Price The Budget Kit: The Common Cents Money Management WorkbookCheck Price Money Management For Stress Relief (Self-Help Stress Solutions)Check Price

How To Face and Conquer Your Midlife Financial Crisis & Fears

In this post written in September of 2012, we took a close look at five tips regarding stress that comes from financial worries. Paraphrased, they were:

1.  Don’t fall prey to spending money thinking it will relieve your stress.

2.  Face your situation head on so you can see it clearly and begin to fix your issues.

3.  Don’t take investment risks – that’s a surefire way to crank up financial stress.

4.  Be open about money issues and problems with your entire family.

5.  Make lists, keep a calendar, get (and stay) organized.

Today in 2014, I think we all hoped and expected that things would improve faster. Instead, globally, countries faced even greater challenges as the world seemingly slid toward the abyss.

Listening and reading the news was not helpful (and in many ways still isn’t) if you’re striving toward peace of mind.

Stress management for midlife women, while always there, has reached an apex of sorts. We face not only the tasks repeated over and over, but often the burden of dealing with midlife financial crisis, debt problems, and planning for retirement. All too often handling estates of passed loved ones also falls on our shoulders.

I know your pain and stress. I’m living it every day, too.

So based on all the above, I feel it’s time to revisit ways to keep your sanity and handle any stress money may be causing you.

First acknowledge that we all face stressful challenges daily.

The day-to-day dealings of life are a source of all sorts of stressors, but one in particular usually overshadows the others. This primary stress varies from person to person.

For some, a packed schedule leaves no room to breathe. For others, troubling family issues or health concerns may be of more pressing importance.

But for those living in the lurking shadows of debt, money is first and foremost in their minds.

Do your thoughts tend to wander in that direction from time to time?

It’s no surprise that financial stress is one of the most influential stressors out there. Money makes the world go ’round, and not having it can make yours come to a screeching halt.

Food becomes scarcely bought and rationed, clothes become well-worn, and the promise of a roof over your head is brought into question.

Dealing with these perilous issues on a daily basis can have adverse effects on both your mental and physical health alike. Prolonged worry doesn’t stay within the confines of the mind. It spreads out to other regions of the body, resulting in stress-induced symptoms such as high blood pressure and chest pains.

Fortunately, there are ways for midlife women to rid themselves of financial stress.

But fully escaping these worries takes time to accomplish, and proactive planning is of paramount importance. Turning a blind eye to the issues at hand won’t make them any better.

Don’t live in the dark about where you really stand financially. Fearing the unknown can be more stressful than coming to grips with your true financial status.

The only way to overcome your fears is to face them head-on, and that also applies to matters of money. Once the big picture becomes clearer, it’s far easier to get rid of the nagging stresses attached to it.

Be proactive in your research. What the younger generation faces is much different than reaching midlife as a woman.

Here are just a few suggestions on how to start to get your fears under control:

o  Download your own free copy of Self-Help Stress Solutions For Women

o  Visit your local library and scout around online for resources linked to money management advice.

o  Check your local community center for workshops related for financial help focusing in on your current status – midlife.

o  Seek out expert opinion wherever you can find it, whether it’s in-person at seminars, or through trusted sources on the Internet.

It can take some serious work to get your finances under control. But the resulting relief from not having to worry about the murkier aspects of money is more than worth the effort.

 

Money Management Advice: 5 Tips For Financial Stress Relief

If you find yourself dealing with financial stress, it can be an exceptionally difficult time.  Fortunately there is money management advice available.  You mustn’t let the stress take over your life. If the bills are piling up, there are steps you can take to reduce your stress and your debts.

The most important thing to keep in mind when you’re faced with financial troubles is to make a plan and stick to it. If you need help with this plan, it would be in your best interest to seek out a financial planner.

Here are a few money management tips that can help you on your way:

1.    Don’t spend money to relieve your stress. It’s often tempting to reduce stress by going out for meals, entertainment, and other activities. This is clearly counterproductive. Instead, use some free stress relievers such as a warm bath, a good book, or a social event with friends at home.

2.    Accept your situation. Being unwilling to accept that you’re dealing with a hard situation can increase your stress. In many financial scenarios, you’re unable to control the situation. However, once you surrender control and accept it, you’ll feel better knowing that you can only do what you can to improve your financial outlook. It may take time, and that’s okay!

3.    Don’t be risky. If you have investments that may be on the risky side, it may be time to switch them to more of a sure bet. This security alone may ease your financial stress.

4.    Discuss your money problems with family. If you have a spouse, make sure you keep the lines of communication open. Many marriages suffer during times of financial stress, but with honest communication and careful planning, you can keep your marriage and family happy.

5.    Stay Organized. Make lists and keep a calendar. It’s important to schedule time for relaxation, too. You’ll need some time where you can enjoy yourself without worrying about anything – especially your financial troubles.

Have a Plan

Simply having a plan to improve your financial problems can reduce your stress level. Plans and goals will help you keep things in perspective and show you that you’re making progress towards a better life.

You don’t need to do this alone. There are many professionals available to help you create a successful financial plan, even in your current situation.

Here are some items you may want to review before forming your plan:

•    If you find that you’re spending more than you’re making, find ways to cut expenses.
•    See if you can pick up a part-time job or implement other ways to add to your income.
•    Look into refinancing options for your current loans.
•    Start using your debit card instead of a credit card.

Maintaining Your Health

People often forget how important it is to maintain your health. When your body is dealing with any kind of stress, it can take a toll if you don’t take steps to relieve it.

Next time you feel exceptionally stressed out, become aware of the state of your body. You’ll likely notice that all of your muscles are tense. Take a few moments to relax your muscles and take a few deep breaths.

While you may not have control of your financial situation, you do have control over how you feel about it. Focus on taking action to do what you can to improve your situation!

Start by following sound money management advice. If you apply what you learn you can be certain that better days are ahead.