5 Questions to ask yourself to know whether or not you are living within your means
Do you know whether or not you are living within your means so that you are on the right track of building a good financial future? Here are a set of 5 questions which will help you determine whether you are living within your means or you are way beyond.
- Are you able to save more than 10% of your monthly income?Ask yourself, whether or not you're able to save at least 10% of your monthly income. If not, then you're not a responsible person. You should plan a budget and try to save at least 10% of your income right from the next month. It will help you overcome financial emergencies and take care of the rainy days.
- Have you been able to reduce your credit card balance?Each one of us experiences a high credit card balance at some point or another. But the question is, are you able to reduce it over the next few months? For example, are you carrying the same credit card balance for about one year of time? If yes, then choose a debt relief option and try to make more than minimum payments on the card(s) with high balance.
- Do you use one credit card to repay the bill of another?If you do not use one credit card to repay the bill on another card, then you're on the right track. However, if you have this practice, it's high time you change it. Try to repay the outstanding balance so that you don't have to opt for balance transfer again. If required, take out a zero or low interest card and repay the balance within the expiry of the due date.
- Is less than one week's salary sufficient to make your mortgage payment?You should analyze this before taking out a mortgage loan. Do not opt for a mortgage loan, where you need to make a monthly payment which is more than your one week's salary. If you've making more than one week's payment on your mortgage, then curtail your other expenses or if possible, opt for loan modification so that you can stay current on your home loan without any difficulty.
- Do you have at least six months' salary saved for the rainy days?Everyone should save for the rainy days and saving at least six months' salary is an excellent move towards having a good financial life. If you have at least 3 months' salary, then it can be considered to be reasonable; however, try to have at least six months' salary as your cash reserve.
Last but not the least, ask yourself whether or not you ask yourself 2 times before buying an item, especially a high-priced one. If â€˜Yes', then you're on the right track; but if you answer â€˜No', then be careful, otherwise you may soon land into big trouble. Always ask yourself whether or not you really need the item and whether it makes sense to buy it at that time. And, before buying an expensive item, it would be great to save money and then purchase that item. If you still feel the urge to buy that item even after a few months, then you can consider purchasing it. Just following these rules will help you enjoy life without having to worry about the future of your financial life.
5 Time-saving habits that are costing you more money
In this fast-paced time, most of the people prefer for convenience to save their time.
For example, they prefer to grab a quick bite from a convenience store instead of having a homemade meal.
Here are 5 time-saving habits that are costing you more money:
1 Keeping the credit card details on file
Most of the people are now making online purchases. It is convenient and saves time as you don't have to visit the store to buy the items.
Often people save their credit card or debit card details on file to save their purchasing time.
“Just one click and you buy the item”, this is actually a very dangerous habit. It will not let you think twice about the purchase.
Thus, we may judge whether or not it is worth. So, avoid the one-click order habit to save your hard-earned money.
2 Considering Uber to reach the destination
These days, many cab booking apps are available. You just need to book your car using your smartphone.
A car of your choice will reach your doorstep to pick you up.
This option is great when you are actually in a hurry and trying to reach your destination fast .
3 Hiring a personal gym trainer
We all know that gym membership is costly. If you take full advantage of it, you have to visit the gym for the workout.
But, some people prefer to hire a personal gym or yoga trainer to save their time.
They prefer to work out at their home with the help of their trainer. This is actually costing them more money.
Gym membership is expensive; hiring a gym expert can be more expensive.
By doing so, you can save quite a significant amount.
4 Buying breakfast and lunch from outside
Most of the people are now a late riser; they get out of bed late and run to the washroom for a bath and get dressed up for their work.
They don't have time for having their breakfast or pack the lunch for the day.
They know they can get their favorite cup of coffee and a delicious sandwich from the Starbucks on the way to the office.
They prefer to have their lunch with the colleague at the restaurant. Don't you think the whole process is costing you more money?
I will finish the article with one more example,
5 Buying bottled water
is a costly habit that saves time but burns your pocket. How?
If you buy a 20-ounce bottle from the convenient store, you need to pay about $1.50. So, just think how much money you are spending in a month on bottled water.
So, carry your own bottle of water to the office or gym or wherever you travel and save money.
Above all, you should maintain a positive attitude as long as money matter is concerned. Though a positive attitude is important in every walk of life; however, it is really important in the financial life. It is quite natural that there would be ups and downs monetarily but you need to maintain a positive attitude towards building a better financial future.
Money habits that make you lose your wealth
When we are talking about personal finances, it is certain that we all have few money habits that can damage our wealth in future. If you observe your money habits closely, you’ll realise that you’re doing such practices that’ll harm your future financial life and make you poor. So, now it is the time to recognize those habits and remove them from you.
Here are five money habits to break:
1. Haunting for alternate financial services
If you don’t use finances from an insured bank, then you might spend money from alternative financial resources like payday loans or check-cashing stores. As per the “Millennials”, study hosted by Microsoft’, 22% millennials never try to open their own bank accounts. They explained the reason is nothing but just simply disliking and distrust. They also didn’t like the unpredictable fees charged by insured banks.
But practically, many millennials don’t realise that alternative resources like payday loans and prepaid debit cards may cost you way more than a traditional bank if you choose a low-cost option.
Remedy: You won’t believe, but actually conventional banks provide better security for your funds and have lower costs than any alternative financial resources. If you really find any traditional banks costly, then you can opt for online banks or credit unions.
2. Asking for monetary help from relatives and friends
At the time of an emergency, you sometimes ask monetary help from your relatives and friends. In your case, if it is nothing but a shortage of cash just a few days before the payday, and you have already emptied your savings, then it’s clearly a bad money habit.
Regularly borrowing money and not paying them back to your family, relatives or friends are not cool at all. It portrays you as an irresponsible and careless regarding your money. Everyone needs financial help sometimes, but if you make that thing your habit, that makes you cheaper and poor.
Remedy: Learn how to create a budget for yourself and use saved money. If you find your income is not sufficient, you may look for a higher salaried job.
Read more: Steps to change bad money habits
3. Spending the money equals to your tax refund amount
Every year as you pay your taxes, the same way you’ll also be entitled to tax refunds. Many taxpayers will be expecting the tax returns of 2015 when they reach the tax season of 2016. People often spend the equal amount of tax refund way before they get the refunded money in their hands. Practically, it’s a bad financial habit. You’re actually increasing your credit card balance through overspending, or you may misuse a refund anticipation loan (RAL).
The RAL is a short-term loan facility which you can access by using your anticipated tax refund amount. You have to pay high interest and fees to avail this loan. So, if you have that much patience to wait a few weeks and plan your spendings accordingly, you can save yourself from an additional debt burden.
Remedy: If you're determined to grab a tax refund in this coming tax season, don’t start overspending and increase your savings. Rather than making a buying list, deposit the money into your savings account. As soon as you receive your tax refund in your account, transfer the money also into your savings account. This way, instead of growing debt and paying more, you can save double.
4. Using your credit card instead of cash
Using your credit cards too often may have a bad impact on your finances. If you choose to pay your everyday needs like foods, clothes, dining, and other requirements through cards, it can only increase your debts unless you pay off the balance in full at the end of the month.
Suppose you’re going to a dinner with your friends, and paying your part of the bill part by credit card. But your friends are paying through cash. Don’t hesitate, just take the total money from them and pay off the entire bill by your credit card.
Remedy: Try to limit your credit card usage. The more you use your cards, the more balances will generate. You’ll fall into debt very soon. As you lower your credit card usage, your balances will also be lower, and so as the interest on credit balances.
Don’t miss: Beware of your shopping addicted friend
5. Having cash savings
Some people still save hard money as cash savings at their homes and prefer to use credit cards outdoors. Keeping a large amount of cash at your home is a bad financial habit. Basically, it is not safe. You might be a victim of burglary because of keeping such big amount of cash at your home. Most importantly, the money in a form of hard cash is not helping you to get any interest.
Remedy: Keep that money in a bank, where it will be safe and you‘ll get an interest as a return. There are several investment options out there, try any of them that’ll give you better returns.
5 Steps to change your not so good monetary habits
- Identify what your bad habits are - In order to change some of your existing monetary habits, at first, you need to figure out what your bad financial habits are. To do so, analyze your finances and figure out the actual problem.Is it that you are buried in debt or you are not able to save enough? It may also happen that you're not making the required monthly payments on time.
- Ask yourself what is the real cause - Once you have got an idea what needs to be solved, next is the time to ask yourself what is holding you back. If you think, you might find that you face difficulty in making the monthly payments on time, simply because you forget the due dates of payments. Similarly, the reason for not having to save the required amount might be that you don't have a budget and every month you end up spending more, since you do not control your expenses right from the 1st day of the month. Therefore, sit down with a pen and paper and note down the probable reasons for not meeting your goals.
- Figure out how you can solve the problems - Once you have jot down the real reasons what are holding you back, it is the time to figure out remedies to the problems. For making the payments on time, stick a paper, on your refrigerator, with the due dates of payments, so that you'll surely look at it every day and next time, you won't miss out the due dates of payments. If you have multiple credit card payments to make, you can also consolidate your multiple payments into a single one, so that it is easier for you to repay all your debrs with ease.
- Try to rectify one habit at a time - It is advisable you try to tackle one habit at a time and not try to change all your habits overnight. If you do not have time in the morning to pack your lunch, then make it the night before and store in the refrigerator. In this way, you can save a lot of money which otherwise, you have to spend on dining out. Moreever, it is also a healthier alternative to eat your home food. On the other hand, if you are not able to save enough, plan a monthly budget and allocate definite amount to each item and do not spend more on each item. It will help you succeed in your budget if you plan a weekly budget along with a monthly one, so that you can measure your success in the weekend and make changes to it in order to save the required amount at the end of the month.
- Take out time and make conscious efforts - Often people unconsciously adopt not so good financial habits since they think they lack time. However, to succeed in your efforts, you need to take out time. For example, you can set a definite time every Sunday to make your entire week's grocery list; doing so, you'll be able to stick to your list and not buy anything extra. Planning your meals for the week will also help you list the exact items, you need, in your grocery list and you'll also consume the foods before they perish. Likewise, allot a definite time during the weekend to review your weekly and monthly budget. At the end of every month, you should review your previous month's budget and plan a suitable one for the next month.
8 Ways to prepare yourself for a financial crisis from beforehand
Is the thought of a financial crisis makes you awake all night? Sometimes, you hardly can do anything to stop the event from occurring. Even if you are a dedicated employee, you may have to experience a job loss in times of economic recession. However, you can always prepare yourself to fight it financially. All you have to do is arrange your finances in such a way that you can overcome an unforeseen financial crisis, be it a job loss or a medical emergency.
Here are 8 ways which you can follow to prepare yourself both mentally and financially to overcome a monetary crisis.
1. Plan a suitable budget to know where you stand - If you think that budgeting is required only when you want to solve a financial crisis, then you're wrong. You need to plan a realistic budget even when you want to attain your financial goal or prepare yourself for a monetary crisis. Budgeting will give you a clear idea regarding how much money you're earning and what amount you're spending each month. This will help you decide how much you require for your emergency fund. Plan a budget to live within your means and assess on what items you can reduce cost, if required.
2. Assess and increase your liquid savings - When you want to prepare yourself for a financial crisis, you should assess what savings you can liquidate when you're urgently in need of cash. So, take an account of all your savings, along with CDs (Certificate of Deposits) and other investments whose values don't fluctuate with market conditions. It is not advisable to bank upon investments such as, stocks, ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds), etc. as their values usually fluctuate with market conditions. You should take into account such savings which you can liquidate any moment without having to worry about financial loss.
3. Pay your monthly bills on time - You should never miss out the dates of your monthly bill payments as otherwise, you'll have to pay late fees unnecessarily. So, get organized from now on as this habit will help you in times of a financial crisis such as, job loss. Moreover, you can save the amount that you otherwise have to pay as late fees. Do you know one late credit card payment every month can make you loose about $250-300 a year?
4. Try to repay your outstanding credit card bills - Have you ever thought how much money is going towards paying the interest on your credit card bills? If you can repay the debts, then you'll save a significant amount along with reducing your financial obligations, too.
5. Be mentally prepared to reduce monthly bills - It is quite impossible to welcome a change in your life without a mental preparation. So, be mentally prepared to reduce your monthly bills when required. Well, you can even start adapting yourself to this habit from now on. Check whether you're spending on something which you may not require for the time being. You may make yourself understand to buy it later instead of purchasing it right now only because your financial condition permits you to do so. In addition to this, develop the habit of switching off the lights when not in use. It will reduce the cost of your monthly bills. Developing such habits will also help you overcome your financial crisis (if any) without much worry.
6. Maintain your assets and try to remain healthy - Remaining healthy can help you reduce your expenditure to some extent. This is because by remaining healthy, you can reduce your medical bills. You should also try to maintain your assets such as, your home. For example, it will cost you much less to replace a couple of woods than getting your house tented for termites later on.
7. Check the type and amount of your insurance coverage - Buying insurance policies help you save a considerable amount of money. However, you shouldn't buy coverage more than what you require. In addition to this, shop around to check whether or not some other insurance provider is offering similar coverage at a much reduced price. It goes without saying that if you find one, change your insurer to save money on premium cost.
8. Check what discounts you are eligible for - When you're preparing yourself for the rainy day, you should check which discounts you're eligible for, which you can take help of, if required. For example, check whether you have any gift card which you can put toward entertainment or sell it in exchange for cash. Do not forget to check the expiry date, if any, on that card. Make sure you use it before the validity expires.
Apart from above, search for suitable opportunities to earn extra cash. You may get help of this opportunity, if required, in future. So, choose something which you'll enjoy to do and gather necessary information about it. You can even use your hobby to earn an additional amount each month. Though the amount may seem insignificant to you right now, it may help you solve a financial crisis, if required in future.
With proper help you can
- Lower your monthly payments
- Reduce credit card interest rates
- Waive late fees
- Reduce collection calls
- Avoid bankruptcy
- Have only one monthly payment