Managing Your Finances After Buying Your First Home

If you are young and buying your first home, it can be a very scary time in your life. However, it’s also very exciting to think that you are going to own your property for the first time ever. This is truly the American Dream at work! Chances are, your mortgage payment will be more expensive than whatever rent you were paying before you were a homeowner. You may be worried about how to budget after you close on the house, but you will catch on quicker than you think. If you couldn’t afford the house, the bank wouldn’t have given you the loan, so get ready to crunch some numbers and enjoy the first year living in your new abode.

Pay Attention to Your Lending Officer

Before your loan is even approved, your lending officer should sit down with you at the bank and give you a quick run down of the numbers. If they don’t, you should ask them to do so, or find a lending officer that will; it’s totally OK to shop around for lenders, especially in this economy. When you meet with your lending officer, don’t be afraid to ask questions and/or take notes. When you lock in your interest rate, they will tell you exactly what your mortgage payment will be, and if you choose to keep your taxes and homeowner’s insurance in escrow, they will calculate that in, as well. Pay attention to that monthly number, and use that to set your new budget.

Set a New Budget

Hopefully, if you’ve bought a house, you have already set some sort of budget for your living expenses pre-homeownership. If you have, it should be relatively easy to set a new budget that accounts for your increased living expenses. Just plug-in the number

How to Deal with Losing Your Wallet

Your wallet contains a plethora of information about you, from your cards and license, to your cash. Losing it means losing all that it contained, and that puts you in grave danger, because you run the risk of identity theft. You need to be aware what needs to be done in such a case to protect yourself from things like credit car fraud, identity theft, etc. Once you get over the initial shock of losing a wallet, it’s time to think clearly. Do not panic (easier said than done, I agree). Think of ways to amend the situation. Here’s how.

Dealing with the Loss of Your Wallet

– Once you are sure the wallet is not on you, hunt for it. Try to remember where you last used it, where you were when you last used it, what did you use it for, etc. Rake your brains and see if you recall where you put it back once you finished using it. Then look for it again in those places.
– If you are sure you have lost it, call the place you last visited with your wallet. Most public places like shopping malls have a lost-and-found center, so chances are if they have come across the wallet, it might have been deposited at some such center. You will need to identify yourself on the phone with some sort of ID.
– If you own a debit card, call your bank and report the loss immediately. A debit card in the hands of strangers is an extremely risky proposition. You must report the loss within two business days, this ensures that you will not be charged anything more than $50 for unauthorized use. If you delay it further, the liability goes up to $500. Contact the

How Long Should You Keep Receipts and Bills

Receipts and bills are commonly issued by service and utility providers as an acknowledgement towards payment of dues and charges by you. Some recurring bills and receipts go on piling up in heaps every month. Many people are actually confused with how long they need to keep these bills and receipts and so, they go on retaining them for years together. Suddenly they realize that, the receipt pile is occupying a major part of their drawer or filing cabinet. This space could have otherwise been used for storing other documents. Well, my article will help you deal with this very problem. Read on…

Valid Duration of Receipts and Bills

Gas and Electricity Bills
These documents make for a good proof of payment as well as proof of address. If there are any kinds of disputes pertaining to these bills, they ideally get solved in less than a year’s time. However, I suggest that these bills should be retained by you for not more than 2 years at a time.

Credit Card Bills
Credit card payment bills and receipts can usually be disposed off within a period of 50 days to 3 years time. These bills are important if you can expect a rebate on the bills from your organization in the next few years. Make sure to keep a copy of the payment check along with the receipt.

Bills for Purchases
There are numerous number of purchases that you make throughout the year. E.g. jewelry, home appliances, cars, etc. As far as vehicles are concerned, these receipts clearly state the purchase value and therefore can be of use at the time of depreciating the asset. For items like jewelry, such bills are crucially important in case your jewelry gets stolen. They are essential for submitting jewelry valuation report

How to Keep Track of Your Money

Before we take a look at few ways to keep track of your money, here is a simple test. Ask yourself these questions, and answer with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’.

– Do I owe anyone money?
– Do I borrow money too often?
– Am I usually late to pay my bills?
– Have I put off doing something that I actually need to get done but can’t because I can’t afford it?
– Do I run out of money before my next paycheck arrives?

If you answered most of the above questions with a ‘Yes’, there is no other way to break it to you but to say – you need help, friend! It is not everybody’s cup of tea to manage their personal finances. However, the good news is, you can learn to do it pretty soon and quite effectively too. The following tips on how to keep track of your money are going to help you save money. It is never a good idea to live paycheck to paycheck; so if you don’t want to do that, follow the tips given below and start keeping a tab on your money!

Ways to Keep Track of Your Money

Wallet
Know the exact contents of your wallet. That does not mean you should keep track of every single penny that you put in or remove from your wallet. But it always helps to know how much money you have in your wallet. It even saves you from embarrassment – what if you were to have coffee with a nice girl in a nice cafe and you discovered you had no money left in your wallet? I wouldn’t want to be the girl with you! (Just kidding… I hope that never happens to you.)

Tip: Check in the

Managing Your Joint Finances

People are getting married later in life now. More and more couples are waiting until after certain milestones are achieved, such as graduating from school or attaining job security. This means that more and more people are independently financially stable before merging their lives – and money – with someone else. That can spell trouble for a new couple; when two people who are used to spending freely without consulting someone else are all of a sudden asked to share financial responsibilities. As a newly married woman, I have first hand experience with how difficult it can be to merge finances with the love of your life. We were both employed long before we met, and financially stable as independent people. Rationally, one might think that would mean we would be financially stable as a couple, but creating one budget from two independent ones is sometimes more difficult than it looks. No one can say what will definitely work for you, but here are a few tips to keep your heads above water.

Where Did the Money Go?

Even if you and your partner keep your finances mostly separate, you are still jointly responsible for rent or mortgage payments, food, and other shared expenses. When each of you are spending money from your joint accounts outside those shared responsibilities, you might find that your money is disappearing faster than anticipated. A good way to keep track of joint cash flow is to keep a budget somewhere you both can see and update it every time one of you spends any money. We keep a dry-erase board on our refrigerator with categories like Food, Entertainment, Gifts, etc. and monthly denominations written under them. For example, we like to spend under $500 per month on food, so the

Personal Finance Budgeting

Your money is the lifeline of your home. The standard of living that you have is because you can afford it. Your money basically, is the heartbeat of your lifestyle. To continue living the same lifestyle and to reach higher standards, personal finance budgeting is very essential. Spending is inevitable, if you have money. However, money, or your resource is always limited and your needs are unlimited. Reconciling the two by prioritizing your demands will help in managing your personal finance budget. This practice of budgeting will help you save your money on inconsequential items and teach you the importance of prioritizing.

Need for Financial Budgeting
The need for budgeting arises because of the fact that you are responsible towards yourself. Responsibility towards oneself means, a constant struggle for the better. Thus, the need for personal financial planning is to fulfill the self-actualization need for improvement.

Monthly Financial Budgeting
Make a chart of income and expenditure, which you make all through the month. Based on this you will be able to make successive budgets. Here’s a chart that you can follow.

– Net Income
– Expenses At Home
– Rent/Mortgage
– Insurance
– Home Repairs
– Home Improvements
– Electricity
– Water
– Natural Gas and Oil
– Fuel
– Telephone
– Groceries
– Child Support
– Health and Fitness
– Other Loans
– Entertainment
– Contingency Fund
– Balancing Figure (Difference of income and expenditure)

Once you fill in the details for this chart, you will get a complete picture of what you are earning and how much of it you are spending. Based on this chart, you can make the estimated budget and the actual details will follow as the month progresses.

Yearly Budgets
Now that you have the monthly assessment, of income and expenditure, multiply it

Personal Finance Planning for the Layman

The Need

Modern science has increased the life expectancy of humans by decades. At the same time, it has also ushered in a plethora of temptations garbed as necessities – needless to say, these temptations do not come cheap. The ever-increasing avenues of spending give today’s man a wholly different perspective on wealth, as compared to even those of just a century ago. While earlier wealth referred to tangible objects such as land and jewelry, today a wide range of tangibles and intangibles have crept into the picture – while owning a Monet is wealth, so is owning a yacht. And the means to achieve either are the greenbacks. However, while money remains a constant to define wealth, destiny is forever fluctuating – what appears as an immense pool of money today may just dry up tomorrow. In such a situation, one needs to plan years ahead to hedge the uncertainty of the future.

The most common situations, which call for financial planning for the average middle class person, are:

Retirement
For any salaried individual, retirement is an eventuality. While many countries provide social security to retired people, the real income that one earns from such schemes may be severely hit by inflationary trends.

For example, over a ten year period considering an average inflation rate of 4%, $1225 would fetch the same value as $1000, provided the growth in prices of all commodities remain fixed at 4%. Thus, a person who subsists on an amount of $10000 today would need to earn at least $12254 to maintain his current living standard ten years hence. In other words, if a person retires with a capital of say $100000 and earns 10% on this capital through investment in bonds, etc, he/she would require a capital of $122540 to earn

Easy Ways To Save Money

There is no denying the fact that saving money is easier said than done. But as the saying goes ‘Nothing is impossible’, you’ll realize after reading this article that saving money is also not impossible! It does not have to involve making life-changing sacrifices, all it requires is to take some wise decisions and make a few minor alterations to our lifestyle.

Here are some easy ways to save money, by bringing in minor changes to what we consider to be a desiderata in our daily lives:

On Groceries:

– Make a budget. It is the first and foremost thing which should not be ignored.
– Make a list before walking into the store.
– Before leaving, check the pantry, fridge, and cupboard to ensure that you don’t buy what you already have at home.
– Inquire about the sale period in your store.
– Avoid buying prepared food, instead cook yourself double the usual portion and freeze it for later.
– Be open to buy in-store brands, as the quality is the same as the regular brands and anyway, the brand name mustn’t matter when saving.
– There is nothing wrong with using coupons, they are as good as cash. Look for them in the Sunday newspaper.
– Look for your store’s weekly advertisement fliers on any offers or discounts.

On Holidays and Christmas:

– Plan a holiday during the off-peak season.
– Go to an offbeat vacation spot.
– Conduct a thorough research on the offers available with different travel agents.
– Opt for a family package, instead of individual deals, while holidaying.
– If you are the adventurous kind, then plan a vacation yourself, instead of having it done from an agent. Choose the destination, mode of travel, and plan out the expenses accordingly.
– Book

Money Saving Tips for College Students

Are you familiar with these woes? College goers, if money is worrying you, then this article on money saving tips for college students will give some solace to you

College life is full of fun, but in this fun-filled life we forget to manage our expenditures according to our needs. Sometimes we invest on things which are not into our priority list. This is called careless investment. While at other times we spend extravagantly on our friends just for the sake of fun and enjoyment. Away from home, we are sometimes tempted to do things which were restricted by our parents. The ultimate outcome is, we run short of money. So, money saving policy is very important not only for the college students but for every person. I shall definitely help to get few good money saving ideas for college students.

Tips for Saving Money

There are many ways by which you can easily save your money and invest it in the right direction. The following money saving tips will guide you.

Managing the Account Balance: First keep a track of the money in your account, then decide your monthly investment and expenditure according to the amount available.

Your Cost of Living: It is very important to know your cost of living no matter you have an extravagant or a mediocre lifestyle. Know in which direction you are spending your money and then start saving.

Jot Down the Expenses: This is a very useful money saving tip for college students. Build a habit to write down your daily expenditures. This will help to know your exact investment everyday and you can curtail down if you are spending more than you need to.

Savings Policy: When you have learned the money management policy, you can start saving a certain amount every month

Tips on How to Save Money on Bills

When you go through a financial crunch, it is very important that you focus on how to save money. During such a time, every penny you spend holds more value than it once did. Keep a record of all your expenses on a weekly or monthly basis as per your convenience, and then carefully analyze these expenses and prioritize them based on the most important, to the least. You will find that some expenses are unavoidable and therefore cannot be compromised on. However, there are other expenses like electricity, grocery, and phone bills, that can be considerably reduced with wise planning and budgeting.

Electricity Bills

Because we are highly dependent on various electrical appliances in our homes, our electricity bills are constantly high. Make it a habit to turn off the lights whenever you exit a room, even if you are leaving it for just a few minutes. You can save a lot of money if you keep certain appliances that are not in use, either switched off from the main power source or unplugged. This is because some of the appliances still use small amounts of electrical currents, even when they are not in use. This constant flow of electricity adds up a little a day, thus resulting in a heavy monthly bill. Let’s take a look at how you can save money on other expenses.

Grocery Bills

Saving money on your grocery bills, does not mean that you have to compromise on the quality of the food you buy. Prepare a list of items that are essential, and stick to buying them. In the absence of such a list, we end up buying a lot of things on a whim, especially things we don’t need. Avail of grocery coupons that come with the morning newspaper or

Money Management Tips for Teenagers

When you are a teenager, you often have a limited amount of money at your disposal. So, it is very important that you spend that money judiciously. It is likely that, you are unable to figure out as to where all your money has gone. It is an indication that, it is high time you develop the habit to monitor your expenses and spend more carefully. Some of the tips given below can help you in this task.

Start Budgeting

The money that you get every week or month is fixed. So plan your expenses in advance. Make a list of those expenses that are essential and allot a certain amount to each of them. It should include major expenses like cell phone plans, restaurant bills, gas for car, etc. Additionally, a small amount has to be kept aside for some minor unplanned expenses, which are bound to happen.

Monitor your Purchases

Planning your budget is not very tough. But sticking to the budget is a difficult task. Keep a close watch on your expenditure. It can happen that you make several small unnecessary purchases in a day, and that may sum up to a really big figure. In order to avoid this, pen down the things you bought and their price everyday. On weekends, find out if your expenses matched up with the estimation in your budget of the week. If not, then make sure you cut back on a few spending in the following weeks to fit your expenses. When you succeed to restrain your expenditure, compliment yourself.

Save for Expensive Purchases

When you come across an expensive item like a cell phone, that you wish to buy but do not have the money, you feel disappointed. You feel that luxury items like these are not meant for

Easiest Ways to Save Money in a Tight Economy

We all know we need to cut back on spending these days. But, we, Americans, loathe to make big changes in our lifestyles. We like what we like and we don’t want to have to give it up.

But, there are so many easy ways to make small changes that add up to more savings annually; in fact, if you do all of them, you’ll save hundreds or even thousands every year.

Much of it has to do with planning and prioritizing. With a little pre-planning, you will be surprised at how easy it is to save money, and by prioritizing what is important to your lifestyle, it will be relatively painless to cut out what you don’t need.

The most obvious issues faced by most families these days are the costs of food and gasoline.

Here are the best simple tricks and tips that you can use to save money on groceries and filling up the gas tank:

Nothing is more basic than food, and with food costs rising along with everything else, this is where a lot of your family budget is probably going. A few simple changes can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year:

Studies have shown that people who only shop once per week spend far less money than those who go several times per week. In fact, shoppers who make that quick trip to the store for one item will spend as much as 54% more than they had planned. In addition, buying in bulk less frequently is less expensive (and easier on the environment) than purchasing individually packaged items. So, plan out your list and try to only go to the grocery store once per week.

Leave your children at home, if at all possible. You can focus better without

Buying Secondhand Saves Money, but Can Cost You Dearly

It used to be that there were three basic ways to find used items to buy―yard sales, thrift stores, and the classified section of newspapers. But nowadays, with the Internet bringing the world into your living room, people have access to a multitude of online yard sales and auctions. It’s hard to resist the lure of getting something used for pennies on the dollar compared to buying it new. In some cases, you can find a great bargain and get just what you were looking for while saving a little money. But there are some things you should always buy in person or brand new, instead of buying them unseen.

Computers
Yes, you can get what sounds like a screaming used system on eBay and other online sites, and you can save a lot of money by buying factory refurbished models from dealers and online computer stores. But many new computers nowadays are so affordable that there’s no real reason to buy a used system. With a used system you can’t get it customized to provide exactly what you need, and the technology will always be at least a little outdated. Because of the speed at which technology changes nowadays, it never pays to buy an old or used computer, especially if you plan to use it for work or anything important. Many mass-market manufacturers, including Dell and Compaq, offer entire computer systems for less than $500. They may not be the best built computers in the world, but at least everything is brand new and you’ll have a manufacturer’s warranty to back them up.

Appliances
One of the most risky large items to buy online can be appliances. Washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, gas ranges―you can find just about any used appliance out there for sale.

Long-term Financial Planning for Businesses

A probably angry Lee Iacocca was indicating that finance is something that has to be preplanned, planned, re-planned and even post-planned. Financial planning in itself does not involve just setting budgets, wage rates, or deadlines. It is all about getting to know realistic work schedule, the manner in which they can be executed, back up plans that can be used, and the least cost with the help of which the entire project can be executed. So in general, these aspects and growth forecasting, both involve the answers to the four important questions: why, when, where, and how (answers have to be cost oriented).

Steps in Long-term Financial Planning

Step 1: Let us take the example of a coffee shop, where a financial planner has to find legitimate answers to 4 questions, namely:

1. Why should we produce a specific item on the menu card? (consider cost of production and sales price)
2. When should we produce such an item and for what time duration? (bear in mind, seasonal costs, inflation of raw material prices)
3. Where should we produce the item: right in the shop or some production center? (consider transport cost, nature of goods, and selling cost)
4. How should one produce the item, manually or mechanically? (consider equipment and personnel cost)

Step 2: The second step is to assess your business environment. In this step, surveying the competitors’ performance, pricing, and distribution is an absolute necessity. In such a scenario, you may also prepare a cost sheet of the financial features of production, namely the money that you would have to invest as a manufacturing cost, its sales cost, and the profit that it would yield. Logically, the sale price should be more than the cost price, and the return-over-asset ratio/return-over-investment ratio should be healthy. While

Basic Money Management Skills

Money. That which makes the world go round. It all boils down to the money that we have at the end of the day. Money determines the way we live, what we do, and basically every other decision of our lives. Without money, we are basically nothing. And that, I know, is something that no one will want to go through. So it becomes imperative that we earn well. But earning well is not the end all of everything. It actually begins from there. Money which is earned, needs to be managed well, so that we continue to benefit from it for a long time. And therein comes the part where we need to learn some basic money management skills. Because without these, we will not be able to develop effective methods of money management.

Most of us do not have the knowledge of what some of the most simple and effective money management skills are. So to help you out, this article shall provide you with just that.

Money management skills are not difficult to learn once you get the hang of how to go about it. Given below is a step by step plan that you can follow in order to nurture some of these skills.

Take Stock
The first thing you need to do is calculate how much you are earning. Add in all the resources. Once you have this figure, calculate how much money you need to spend every month. To learn how much you spend every month, the best method is to write down each and everything that you spend for a couple of days. The amount will most generally exceed the amount that you had in mind―that’s because we don’t realize how much we end up spending on small things. Keep