By financen | January 15, 2018 - 5:08 pm - Posted in Budget, Money and Banking

Eric Roberge is a financial planner at Beyond Your Hammock. He gives a valuable budgeting advice:

“The key is to take action and use a system to help you stay consistent in managing your money every month, and making sure you’re covering your expenses, being responsible by saving for tomorrow, and giving yourself some room to enjoy life today.”

Budgeting has become a necessity since the commercialization of products, and traveling culture is being excessively promoted.

2018 is already here! Household Budget spreadsheets are good to start your new year with; that involves all your important financial goals, income and expenses, and savings and investments.

Here’s a guide to planning your yearly budget and the reasons why you should think about budgeting your finances.

50-20-30 Rule

The famous budgeting rule has helped millions of people to manage their finances without getting into a loss. It involves three categories of expenses:

50% of Income: It should be spent on necessities and living expenses. It involves billings, rents, groceries, and transportation.

20% of Income: It requires fulfillment of financial goals that include investments, debts, and saving.

30% of Income: It’s the best part of spending which you can invest in your wants and wishes. It’s the flexible spending part of the income.

Reasons Why Budgeting Is Important?

Your neighbor may be able to afford $5000 per month but not necessarily you. Everyone’s income and expenses are unique. So, we all have to budget our salaries to understand the limits of expenses in the three spending areas of 50-20-30 rule.

  1. To set priorities:

Budgeting helps us in setting the priorities based on necessities, flexible spending, and financial goals. What debts have to be paid urgently? What needs have to be fulfilled first and foremost? What are the wants and desires that come at the top of the list?

When we are clear about our priorities, we are easily able to skip the excesses. No matter how much the sales with a 50% off tag are attractive, we have a vivid vision of our goals.

If getting out of debt is among your priorities, it’s essential to manage your limited funds and cut back on excessive expenses.

  1. To achieve the annual financial goals:

Achievement of financial goals begins with understanding the structure of your earnings, spending, savings, and investments of the previous years. Many banks provide you with a record of all your bills and payments throughout the year. Collect the credit card, bank and income statement records to get an overview of your spending.

Set the financial goals in terms of debts, investments, and savings for achieving the flexible goals. Once you budget your money perfectly, you can even achieve more than the estimated financial goals.

  1. To save and cut off excesses:

Money management begins with budgeting. Once your yearly spreadsheet has been made, you can save more than required.

When we are clear about our needs and wants, we can cut off the wants and save the money. It appears difficult at first but then becomes a habit.

A simple life of a minimalist is free from a lot of clutter. It can allow you to plan your travel ventures around the globe. After all, who doesn’t want to explore the world? Who doesn’t want to experience the change?

  1. To plan the retirement:

Having a foresight for future is of imperative importance. Always plan out well your retirement beforehand!

Retirement should be included in the budgeting process. From your overall savings of the year, set aside a percentage of earnings for after-retirement years.  For considering to invest in bitcoins and to put them into your retirement account, you can get more information here.

  1. To fulfill the desires:

If you had a dream to travel the world but could never achieve it, budgeting is a good solution for you. Budgeting your money can save you a lot. Statistics reveal how much we spend on our wants rather than on our needs.

Being aware of your spending is the key here. I guarantee that you can fulfill all your dreams.

A lot of people ignore the significance of budgeting and run into debts. Money management is an additional skill that you can learn to make your life easier and happier.

Author Bio:

Sarah Smith has been a personal finance author for the last five years. She is also an independent and a very passionate finance and investment advisor. She regularly posts at

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By financen | December 21, 2017 - 4:30 pm - Posted in Budget, Personal Finance
  1. Make socks your friend: Even with the room heater on, the floor can get really cold during the night, and especially in winter. Having socks on when walking around the house, instead of turning the heat all the way up can save lots of energy in the long run.
  1. Tap on the available heat: Simple household activities such as cooking, taking a shower, or even ironing the clothes generate reasonable amounts of heat. You could tap on these to keep the house warm during winter. One way to do this is leaving the bathroom door open when taking a shower, and not turning the ventilation fan on. This should allow heat from the bathroom disperse to other rooms.
  1. Turn down the heat by 5 or 10 percent: Turning the heat down by a few degrees can save you lots of energy (up to 10% of heating bills) in the long run. Your body won’t notice the difference, but will instead re-adjust to the temperatures. Consider turning down the heater when leaving the house for a few hours.
  1. Lower water heater temperatures too: Turning down the water heater thermostat by 20 degrees say from 140 to 120 degrees can contribute to lower heating bills as well.
  1. Upgrade to a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat works a lot better than the old ones. The thermostat makes it possible to adjust heat levels at predetermined times, as well as turn off the heater completely when no one is in the house. Although you may have to part with $80 for one, you’ll most likely save so much more in a year and more to come once it is installed. If you want more tips on cheaper heating, consult this blog at Ethanol Fireplace Pros.
  1. Seal the house to prevent unnecessary heat loss: Doors, windows, and air vents can let warm air escape leaving the heater to work harder to maintain a constant temperature. Ensuring these are correctly shut, and the vents well sealed however creates an envelope of warm air, thus minimizing heat loss. This also means the heater won’t have to work as hard to keep the room/house warm.
  1. Call for regular service and maintenance: Both oil and electric heaters should be serviced by an experienced technician at least once a year. It’s by having the unit serviced that it can run more efficiently with little to no breakdowns. You also ought to ensure the air filters are clean and clear to facilitate proper air movement.
  1. Ensure windows are covered at night: Having curtains over your windows at night not only improves privacy in the house, but also reduces heat loss. This is particularly crucial for older homes with old windows. You however should draw the curtains to let daylight in during the day. Daylight brings warmth – allowing sunrays into the house helps heat the house.
  1. Ensure the outdoor unit is well-taken care of: Most people tend to overlook the outdoor unit forgetting it is equally important as the indoor unit is. Checking the unit for condensate, blocked pan, or overgrowth on the same, and ensuring everything is clear will enable it to continue functioning optimally throughout the cold season. Be sure to get rid of twigs, grass, leaves, and overhanging branches around the same.
  1. Look out for air leaks: Air leaks in the house can be the biggest cause spikes in your home energy bill. Inspect the house for air leaks using a candle. Hold a candle flame next to windows, air vents, the door, and anywhere you suspect there’s a leak. If the candle flame is blown to one direction, then that’s a clear sign of a leak. Inspecting the area farther should help you determine the exact spot, then use weather-stripping or caulk to seal it off. Adding some insulation may help too.
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By financen | August 23, 2016 - 4:37 pm - Posted in Budget, Family Budget

One of the best moments in a couple’s life is when they start a family. It adds more pleasure and happiness when you have a baby and you will hold it in your arms. Before you plan for a baby, it is important that you know about all the costs and if you will be able to afford it. After you have a baby, your expenses will go up for the long term. So you must check your income before finalizing this decision.

It starts from regular appointments with the doctors, then going for medical checkups and routine investigations, and then you make the final bookings for the day of delivery. It can be quite heavy on your wallet. And these expenses will keep on increasing even after the delivery, because you now have three heads to look after. You have to buy all the necessary things for the baby. Starting from diapers to pieces of cloth to pram, the number is uncountable.

financial plan for childWhen the time comes and you know that you are going to become a parent, you feel very excited and many parents waste a lot of money in this excitement. They start buying all sorts of toys and clothes when they don’t even know when the baby is going to come. Hence it is important to keep your emotions intact and not waste money like this. You should save this money for prenatal care. It can be used for all the doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds and regular health checkups. It can cost up to $2000 on an average.

When you are approaching the delivery date, you have to make bookings in the hospital. A normal delivery can cost up to $15000 and a cesarean operation can cost up to $20000. It is important to have an insurance cover before you start your family as these expenses can be included in it. Once you have the baby, then it is time to buy clothes, diapers, feeders, milk, sleeping bed, pram and toys. It should not cost you more than $5000 on an average.

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By financen | February 1, 2016 - 6:01 pm - Posted in Budget, Investment, Savings

Life is just not just about big dreams, high end luxuries and expensive comforts. Amidst your hectic schedule and working hard to make your both ends meet, you may often forget to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. These pleasures, though may seem trivial or frivolous in nature, can bring immense satisfaction to you. They are called the finer joys of life.

Ever wondered about the finer joys of your life?  Well, here is a small list:

  • Looking at the joy on your child’s face when you take them for their dance class
  • Dropping your wife for Zumba classesen route to your office.
  • Pursuing that long-cherished hobby of learning to play the guitar.
  • Watching your favourite singer performing live in a concert.

This list can be endless. You have an earnest desire to live these finer joys, but then there is the other side of the coin which calls for being practical to make them come true. You need to make time to do these little things you want to do as well as manage your finances to spend about the same.

Managing your time is relatively easier. You could start waking 15 minutes earlier every morning. Or you could limit your screen or digital media hours. You can even set aside a dedicated hour of the day for ‘me time’ and ‘family time’.

But, what about the money part? This requires a conscious and systematic planning at your end. Here is what you could do to achieve the finer joys in your life without worrying much about the finances.

  1. Make a Budget

Write down income and expenses (better, if maintained in an excel sheet). Review once in a fortnight or a month. Analyze the reasons if you have exceeded the budget on some counts. Try and live within the budget.

  1. Save Smartly

You should aim to save at least 15 – 30% of your income to meet the key milestones of your life – child’s education & marriage, own home, retirement, etc. Keep a long term perspective and allocate your savings to a diversified portfolio comprising fixed income securities, equity funds and insurance plans (life, health and non – life) for a better risk-return trade-off. Also, keep an emergency fund, equivalent to your 3 – 6 months, aside to meet unforeseen expenses. Similarly, you should allocate a part of your income towards the expenses that you will need to incur on the finer joys of life. This way, you and your family can enjoy the small pleasures of life without creating an additional burden on your budget.

  1. Invest in a Money-back Policy

The finer joys can occur at different stages of your life. To be able to enjoy them as and when the time comes, you need money at periodic intervals. Rather than juggling your finances impulsively in future for such things, it is better to plan for regular payouts ahead of time. A money-back planis quite suitable with this regards. It gives a guaranteed income flow at fixed stages during the policy term, so that you have the money when you need it the most. You could plan the payouts as and when you desire to fund the finer joys of your life. With a money-back plan in your investment kitty, you have an additional source of income in hand and you can glide through your recurring financial commitments smoothly.

If you plan your time and finances well, you need not forget, sacrifice or postpone those finer dreams in your life. Start planning today, your little joys are waiting to unfold!

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By financen | December 4, 2008 - 6:27 pm - Posted in Budget

Due to the recent downsized economy, most of the families are cutting back on their spending habits. A lot of hard work is required when you are trying to make a living within a restricted budget. One has to work overtime if it is offered, or work a second job. Expenses are also minimized by cutting back on travel, groceries, dining out, movies etc. Due to this, many people start comprising with their happiness in life and don’t have fun. There are ways to enjoy and have fun within a fixed budget.

Clip and use coupons from the newspaper or the internet or both. Beware of the sites that ask for a membership fee. Keep on purchasing the items that you do regularly and never know, you will get some good offers and save more money.

Shop online when it makes sense. Sometimes, you will get a better deal on an item on the internet but make sure that you are aware of the shipping costs. If the same item is available in the store in your area and will cost less, then it does not make sense to purchase that item on the internet and pay the shipping costs.

Eat out sparingly. Eating out in restaurants and other places is always going to cost more and then you will have to think about your health also. You can do a lot of savings by eating regularly at home. Occasionally, when you go out, try to avoid the expensive buffets. There are some low costs buffets serving quality food.

Watching movies in a budget theater. Many cities have discounted movie theater that shows movies after they have been shown at the main stream theaters. Another option is to attend a matinee show or the morning show where the ticket prices are lower from the evening shows.

Zoos, mini-golf, water parks, skating rinks, etc. almost always have a time when admission is discounted or downright free. Take advantage of these days when they come up. When practical, take a picnic lunch and extra bottles of water. Again, avoiding concessions as much as possible will save you money.

There are some great ways to have fun on a budget, and these are just a few. You will find more ways to enjoy in your life and stay happy.

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We all have certain days of celebration in our life. One of your son’s birthday is coming soon and you want to throw the best party that he has ever had in the past. Following the next month is your marriage anniversary and you want to gift something valuable to your life partner and make it more special. Your daughter is finally trying the knot and wants to go out for a honeymoon to the Caribbean islands. These are some special moments in life and they happen to be very costly expenditure and you really don’t have any ways to avoid. They all mean a monetary sacrifice and it will definitely put a financial strain on your total income.

When you find yourself in such circumstances, don’t take drastic measures to obtain the amount of money that needs to be spent here. You have ways to cover these expenses and you won’t have to make extreme sacrifices. Your family will be in a healthy household economy if you can make use of the following ideas.

  • Planning Ahead Your Financial Situation

Don’t wait till the last minute to start planning for the upcoming party and its cost. The key is “time management”. If you start making at the very last minute, not only you will miss a lot of opportunities to make it a better party and save money but you will also be making rash decisions that will make you more stressful. If possible, get together with your family members and start planning before a couple of months before the celebration date. You will have things better organized. Make a list of everything that you intend to buy and compare prices in different stores. Go for the lowest cost and quality products and try not to add new things to the list already prepared. You don’t want your budget to exceed at the last minute.

  • Saving Part of Your Income

When you are trying to save money, it should not be thought as a sacrifice or a loss of a percentage of your monthly income. You have to keep a positive attitude for the upcoming event and save more money from your income otherwise you won’t succeed in your plans. Putting apart only 10% of your monthly income for a couple of months will be enough to make the party a big memorable event. Besides, if you are making the right plans and saving money, you will see extra money in your kitty before the final celebration day.

  • Borrowing Money from Friends and Family

If you have your close family members or friends who are willing to contribute towards the upcoming event, don’t hesitate to take their help. You can work out arrangements with them to pay back within a considerable period of time. It will be good to keep everything in writing so that you both know what to expect when you are paying them back. It’s very reassuring to see someone who is close to you and offering a helping hand during your time of need. Make sure that you don’t do anything bad that can break their trust on you.

  • If All Else Fails…

If none of the above options worked for you, there is one last alternative that you might want to give a chance. Take a short term personal loan from a good reputed financial institution. Do the research and compare the prices to see that you get the lowest interest rate. Don’t fall into any kind of scams because it’s not your money and you will have to pay it back. This option can also work for you if you have a large portion and need a little to cover the rest. You finally have ways to celebrate the big upcoming moment and you will feel the happiness in your family members’ eyes.

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By financen | December 22, 2007 - 9:52 am - Posted in Budget

Start devising your Christmas budget during this holiday season. It’s so easy to be tempted seeing the Christmas gifts and spend more than what you have actually planned your finance. Take the following advice and you won’t get in over your head when you go for shopping.

First find out how many people are there in your family for whom you want to buy gifts and be realistic on how much money you can spend for gifts this year. This will help you to be in control of your finance and pick presents for family and friends on your list.

I have seen many people going through a lot of headaches after the New Year. Many people promise to be in control after going through the hard experiences from the previous year. The truth of the life often gets in the way, so don’t be disheartened. Budget properly. Divide the money for Christmas gifts under each recipient in your list. Maybe, you won’t give equal shares to everyone. For example, you won’t spend that much for your boss that you will want to spend for your spouse, but make sure you have distributed funds for everyone in your list and that the total amount of all allocations does not exceed the total amount you can afford to spend.

Visit the department stores that are offering free gifts and discounts for applying for a credit card. Charge one gift and immediately write a check for the amount. When the bills come, rip out the check and mail it.

If you haven’t purchased Christmas wrapper papers and craft supplies, but it the day after Christmas. The prices will be down to earth. People for whom you need to purchase gifts in the next year, keep an eye out for out of season sales. January is a very good time for buying sweaters, coats, mittens and other winter gifts.

The first thing that you need to remember is your attitude. Focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Keep yourself positive. If you are a competitive type of person, look at the season as a competition and see how much you can save? Then you can use this saving for some other important things like paying off an old bill.

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By financen | October 20, 2007 - 2:59 am - Posted in Budget, Payday Loan

Whether you have a budget formally laid out or not, everybody budgets their monthly finances in one way or another. This system can work for you for quite some time, but if you have a financial emergency that can spell disaster for your budget. However, there are tools that you can utilize in a responsible manner and still make your monthly budget work such as payday loans or a cash advance.

When it comes to needing money on demand to supplement their monthly budget, consumers typically have two options. One is to get a traditional loan via a bank or credit union and the other is to get a cash advance or payday loans. What consumers should keep in mind is that if you need a long term loan, a traditional loan is more your speed. If you need a smaller amount of money quickly payday loans are a good alternative.

One important step to making sure that a short term loan works for you and doesn’t become another expensive burden of debt is to ensure that they pay the loan off within the specified amount of time. Payday loans are designed for short term use and the interest you are charged simply becomes too high when you begin to roll these loans over and extend them. The more you extend the loan the more expensive it will become. These loans are intended to help you get out of a financial bind, but just like any other loan, they can quickly add to your debt.

While debt can be a hard obstacle to avoid, doing little things each day can make a big difference. Try to consolidate all your debts, if possible, to once source and make one payment at the lowest interest rate. You can also downsize on everyday services such as cell phone plans, land lines to your home, cable or internet bundling, or simply having coffee at home or at the office instead of picking it up at your local coffee store. It may not seem like much at first, but over time it will add up and can get or keep you in debt.

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