How to Save When Owning a Home

Money is the root of many people’s stress and anxiety and it’s also the cause of many fights. But it doesn’t have to be for you. You may own a home now, but it doesn’t mean you should stop saving or that saving has to be a difficult undertaking.

Ideally you already have a robust emergency fund—this type of account is suggested by financial experts to have even before paying down ‘good’ debt such as student loans. This account is extremely important as you never know when or if that “rainy day” will come. The suggested amount to have in an emergency fund is six to nine months’ worth of income—and to be on the higher end if you own a home and have children. For instance, if you take home $3,000 a month, you should have $18,000 to $27,000 in your emergency fund. You should also consider whether it’s best to keep these funds in a regular savings account or a money market account.

Now that we’ve covered the importance of an emergency fund,let’s discuss how to keep saving—whether you are saving just to save or saving for a vacation, new car, or that fancy grill you’ve been eyeing.

Automatic deposit from primary income: If you aren’t doing this already then you should be. Automatic deposit is the easiest way to save money. Many places of employment offer this option, and if not your financial institution will. Automatically depositing money into a savings account (separate of the rest of your income) will force you to save. And if your place of employment offers this option then that money will never enter your checking account—out of sight, out of mind. If you must use your financial institution then have the automatic transfer occur on the day you are paid so the money is almost like it was never there for spending. Of course, this will be an adjustment if you are used to living off that money, especially if you just purchased a home. However, you can start small and work your way to a larger amount such as when you receive a raise or have other forms of incoming income.

Automatic transfer from checking to savings: Many financial institutions offer the ability to automatically transfer funds between your checking account and savings account each time you use your debit card. If your bank does not offer this opportunity there are apps for your phone that can easily connect to your online bank accounts and do the work for you. It’s a great way to save a small amount of money each time you swipe your card. And depending on how often you use your debit card, those savings could add up quickly. For example, you spend $25.33 at the grocery store and use your debit card to pay. Your bank (or app) will round that number up to $26.00 and transfer .67 into your account of choice. It’s too easy not to participate!

There are many other ways to be a better saver, but it’s best to start simple and small. Overwhelming yourself with how much you need/want to save and with many ways of saving, might cause the opposite to happen. Remember, you have a house to pay for and all the other expenses that come with it. Be conscious of your financial situation and be diligent with your savings strategy and you’ll be on the road to being a savings master.

How to Find Great Furniture Bargains

It’s amazing how one piece of carefully chosen, strategically placed furniture can drastically improve the look and feel of your kitchen, living room, or any other space in your home.

While it is very satisfying to pick out furniture that delights you every time you look at it, furnishing and decorating your home can take a big bite out of your budget. What many homeowners don’t stop to consider, however, is that it is possible to get good deals on nice furniture without depleting your bank account.

Here are a few strategies for accomplishing that.

  • Take advantage of sales, discount coupons, and closeouts. When a furniture outlet advertises that they “will not be undersold,” it’s often worth your while to stop over and take them up on that offer. First, however, it’s necessary to know what the competition is charging for the same or very similar furniture. Once you’re armed with that information, you’re in a good position to pay the lowest possible price. Like any type of shopping, comparing prices will save you money.
  • Dispense with your aversion to negotiating. Have you every heard people say “I hate negotiating” or “Negotiating makes me feel uncomfortable?” Are you one of those people? For whatever reason, it’s a mind set many people have. The disadvantage of thinking this way, however, is that you may be missing out on chances to save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year. When you add up the savings and realize all the worthwhile ways you can use that saved money, you may reconsider your position on practicing the art of negotiating!
  • Estate sales can potentially be a great source of good quality, reasonably priced furniture, and sometimes you can stumble upon incredible bargains. For obvious reasons, your ability to negotiate the best possible deal increases as the end of the sale approaches. When you play the “waiting game” or tell them you’ll come back later or tomorrow, you do run the risk of someone else snatching up that great dresser, coffee table, or antique lamp you had your eye on. Waiting can be a gamble which sometimes (but not always) pays off. There’s also an art and science to getting the best deals at antique shows, but effective bargaining requires the right mindset, a little knowledge, and plenty of practice.
  • Attending garage sales can also yield great bargains and unique finds. Homeowners holding garage sales are often motivated to liquidate their old furniture –especially if it’s a moving sale. If you’ve ever held a yard sale, yourself, you know that the last thing you want to do at the end of the day is to haul unsold furniture back to the house when the sale is over.

With a little research, friendly negotiating, and patience, finding great furniture for the right price is an attainable goal.
 

Money Saving Basics

It is the desire of most people to become rich in life and live comfortably in retirement. The problem is that most people are not ready to pay the price required to achieve this long term goal. No one living their dream life today arrived there by chance. They all made a concerted effort to ensure their plans became a reality. The first step is saving, some people have problems saving money hence only having enough to meet their present needs. Never bothering to set some money aside for the future can leave an individual in a real financial bind.

This article will provide you with some practical steps on how to save money. The first step is determining how much you will save, how long you will save it, and how to keep you from spending it.

Take Care of Your Debts

Before you start saving, you need to clear your debts so you can start with a clean slate. Calculate how much you earn in a year and how much you are in debt. Calculate how much you want to use towards repaying the depth on a monthly basis and stick to it. The larger the portion, the faster you get out of debt. It may be a bit of a strain on your budget, but the sooner your debt is eliminated the better off you will be.

Set Your Goals

You need to set goals that provide a clear picture of what you are working towards. Maybe you want to have $5000.00 in savings by the end of the year, have this written on a piece of paper and placed where it is visible to you at all times.  This message will act as a continuous reminder of the goal you are aiming to achieve.

Establish A Time Frame

What good is a goal without a time frame? There has to be a precise and definite time frame, this makes your goals realistic. For example, “In 6 months, I want to have $30,000 in my account by saving $5,000 every month”. That is a long term goal that has been broken into short term goals with a precise payment amount and time frame.

Keeping A Record

It is very important to keep a record of every expense you make and every bit of income you receive. Keep a small note book in check always to determine precisely how much you spend.  Include your utilities, rent, insurance, car payments, fuel, food and other living expenses.  You will be surprised how much you spend when you start writing it down.

Cut Down On Your Expenses

This is where you need to take decisive actions. Cut down on your expenditure so you have more money for your savings account. For example: instead of paying for the internet, a land line and mobile phone, why not make most calls on Skype as calls on that platform are free. Do away with the land line, your mobile phone and Skype should take care of all your calling needs. Can you do away with cable television? If so, why not, that could prove to be a substantial savings at the end of the year.

Assess Your Self

You will need  to assess your position from time to time and determine if you are on course with respect to meeting your goal. Take a look at your progressive income and expenditure. The expenditure should reduce subsequently allowing an increase in savings.

When it comes to money, savings should be your first priority. This is a form of paying yourself first. Even small deposits will add up at the end of the year.  Discipline and consistency are key when building that proverbial nest egg.

Cutting Costs for Seniors

Retirement can be expensive. Transitioning from a steady income to living on a fixed one can be difficult. If you are nearing or currently in retirement there are some ways to stay within budget and reduce your spending.  Here are some tips to help reduce your retirement expenses:

Have a Budget

The most important and crucial first step is to create and stay within a budget. Over the course of a few months track and review all of your spending habits. Track things like food, housing, utilities, entertainment, etc. and create categories of spending. Analyze how you are spending money and if needed make adjustments to stay within budget.

Manage Your Costs

If you need to reduce your spending there are some easy ways to accomplish that. Try using coupons, shopping for store brands and even buying in bulk. If you have too much of a bulk item try splitting with a friend. Look for free entertainment in your area  at the local library or senior center. Take advantage of shopping senior discounts. Many stores have certain days or hours when seniors receive a special shopping discount.

It may also be possible to lower household costs such as electricity, and water by negotiating with your utility company. They may even offer a senior citizens or income discount. Talk to family members about family cell phone plan to help reduce costs too.

Manage Your Medication

Health care costs are a big concern for seniors.  Talk with your health care provider about any generic medications available. Generic medications are often much less expensive. Don’t be afraid to shop around, prescription and medicine prices are not the same at every store.

Most of all continuously review your budget and spending to make sure you are staying on track.