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Style Budgeting – A Foolproof Budget in 15 Minutes

If you’re anything like me, making a budget is something that can be fun and miserable at the same time. It feels great to get organized and make a plan, but when it’s time to figure out how to stick to it things quickly get less exciting. Take the pain and guesswork out of your budget by using this quick and simple method to create a short-term and long-term budget you can stick to.

SPENDING RECON

Before we can figure out how and where to spend our hard-earned money, we have to get an idea of what we’re doing with it now. If you use a credit or debit card for most of your spending, this part will be quick and painless. First, get a copy of your statement showing your monthly charges from the prior 1-3 months. Now, group all of your charges into “buckets” by spending type, such as:

– Groceries
– Gas
– Utilities/TV/Phone
– Dining
– You get the idea…

Now that you’ve created spending buckets, it will be much easier to see where you may be overspending and make adjustments.

GET YOUR ORDERS

Okay, now we have an idea of where we typically spend (and overspend), so let’s figure out what you have coming up in the future that needs attention. In this step, identify all of the upcoming items that you need to have money prepared for. This can include things like:

– Vacation fund
– Emergency fund
– Vehicle maintenance – tires, brakes, etc
– Paying off debt
– Christmas present fund

These are the things that come up in everyone’s life, but most of us aren’t financially prepared and resort to credit card debt to get through. Instead, let’s plan for it so when the time comes it feels like we aren’t really losing that big chunk of cash.

PLANNING IN REVERSE

This method should be nothing new to veterans or the active-duty crowd. Everything we do is planned in reverse order so we can make some sort of deadline – this is the same thing. Take all of those items that you know you’ll need money for in the future, and divide it by the number of months or weeks between now and then. This converts that $600 worth of Christmas presents into 12 easy monthly savings plans of $50! Not as painful as seeing that credit card bill show up in January, huh?

PUTTING OUR PLAN INTO ACTION

Just like any other budget, putting this to work is the most important part. Here are a couple helpful hints on ways to MAKE yourself stick to it:

1. Setup automatic distributions into separate accounts for things like vacation or Christmas funds. Most banks will now let you have multiple accounts tied to your main account for no charge. Use this feature to put your money somewhere before you have the chance to spend it.

2. Pull the cash out and put it somewhere out of sight. It’s much more difficult to spend your new tire money if it’s sitting at home in an envelope in the closet.

Now you have taken the budgeting process out of your own hands for the future, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you forget the money is being pulled out.

Need To Save Money Personal Finance Tips Are The Way To Go!

One of the benefits of online banking is that your bank can send you online alerts to help you manage your money. Many banks will send you email or text message updates in the event of changes to your account. Banks will send out warnings for a low account balance or an unusual transaction, for instance. Alerts help prevent fraud.

After paying your bills, you may notice that the majority of your paycheck is gone. It is important to take the time to figure out where you could be saving money. Cutting out restaurant dinners entirely is not a good idea, but cutting back on them will allow you to still indulge once in a while. It will probably be more effective in the long run if you cut the number of times that you dine out per month in half. In that way, you can reduce your expenses and still have the satisfaction of eating at your favorite restaurant on occasion.

Put aside money from every paycheck as soon as you get it. If your intention is to just tuck away whatever dollars you still have at the back end of your pay period, your saving will never get going. Once you put the money aside, your brain tends to see it as unavailable.

Use compact florescent bulbs in place of incandescent bulbs where you can. By replacing your bulbs, you will pay less on your electricity bills and be less of a burden to the environment. CFL blubs were specially made to last a much longer period of time than a normal bulb would. You will purchase fewer bulbs, so you will not spend as much money.

You need to balance your checkbook. If you cannot find the time to balance it on paper, then an online service may be a better option. There are websites out there that have software programs that you can use to categorize expenses, track cash flows, and calculate interest. All of which you can use to create a reasonable budget for yourself.

The issue of personal finance might seem daunting at first, but you can improve your money situation with a little time and effort. Talking to financial advisers and carefully studying financial techniques is all it takes. Use the above tips to help get your finances on the right track.

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The Difference Between a Cashier’s Check and a Money Order

Though cashier’s checks and money orders share many similarities, they do have distinct differences. With that, here are some characteristics of each form of payment that separate them from each other.

A cashier’s check is sometimes called a certified check as it is certified by a bank. A money order is always called a money order. However, in this article, we will also call it a letter of credit.

Pricing

When compared in pricing, a cashier’s check cost more to attain. Some banks may charge up to $10. Also, this payment form can only be purchased from a bank.

A money order can cost you less than a dollar to be issued at many different places. It can be purchased at a bank, but may be cheaper to purchase at a convenience store or gas station. It can also be purchased at U.S. Postal Service offices, money transfer or check cashing services, and grocery stores.

Guarantor

A cashier’s check is guaranteed by a bank. The funds come from the bank, and the banker will sign the check and address it to the chosen party.

A letter of credit is guaranteed by the cash you give to have it formulated. It is addressed by you and includes your return address and name.

Stop Payment

A stop payment cannot be placed on a bank certified check. This is a good reason why many exceptional money situations will require you to bring in a certified check versus other payment forms.

Cash Total

Cashier’s checks can be purchased at high dollar amounts. Money orders can only be purchased at $1,000 or lower, but you can always buy more than one if needed.

Personal Finance Software Options For Your Mac Computer

So you just got a new Mac huh? And now you’re trying to figure out how to make the transition from life as a Windows user to a new operating system. Finding the right personal finance software can be a challenge. If you were using Quicken on your old Windows computer, you’ve probably heard that there is a version of Quicken just for the Macintosh computer. Unfortunately, many of the features found in Windows Quicken. Also, using an emulator (letting you run Windows applications on a Mac) can get complicated and is prone to its own set of problems. So now what to do?
I suggest looking into Liquid Ledger. This personal finance software solution comes with a robust set of features which can help you track your money down to the last cent. The goal of any good money application is to let you see what you’re spending and what you’re bringing in. Once you determine this, you can make wiser choices about how to budget your money. Here are some features that Liquid Ledger offers:
* The program saves you time and energy by allowing you to automatically schedule regularly occurring payments. The software will alert you when the payment is due, keeping you from having to remember all those bills. You also have the peace of mind that forgetting a payment is a thing of the past.
* Create a budget, then compare how much you planned to spend against how much you actually spent. This lets you see your situation all during the month and find out why the money always seems to disappear.
* Liquid Ledger lets you create powerful reports that let you determine your net worth.
* If you’re a programmer (or even if you’re not), you can use AppleScript to automatically perform repetitive tasks within the program, saving you even more time!
* Travel a lot? Need an application that lets you go back and forth between different currencies? No problem! Liquid Ledger seamlessly transfers funds from one account to another in any number of currencies.
* Liquid Ledger uses bank jargon you’re already familiar with as a customer. This means you won’t be left scratching your head wondering what this or that means.
* You can print your own checks…how cool is that! As long as you have either a laser-jet printer or inkjet printer, you can use the drag-and-drop GUI to create custom templates.
* No need to enter data over again from your old OS-you can import (and export) account information in QIF, CSV, and OFX formats.
Using Liquid Ledger, you can track transactions, keep up with investments, and balance your checkbook, all inside a straightforward user interface that’s a snap to learn. So if you’re making the switch from Windows to Mac, you owe it to yourself to take a look at Liquid Ledger for your personal finance software needs.

Vehicle Finance Drive Home A New Car With Affordable Finance

The perception of vehicle differs from person to person. Someone would prefer to have a high end car adoring their garages, while others may opt for an economical car, which consumes less gas and is easy on the pocket. It is true that every individual feels the need of a vehicle but the only stumbling block is the price factor. With global warming, car makers have to follow strict emission norms while manufacturing a car along with the safety issue. These factors make the car a highly expensive option. But then there are ways through which a person can purchase a car. In this regard, vehicle finance turns out to be of great assistance.

Vehicle finance, as the name refers can be used to purchase vehicle of any make or model, provided it is available with the lenders. The loans basically provided the monetary assistance, which then enables the applicant to purchase a car of his /her choice. Applicant can also utilize the finances to procure a second hand car, however it should not be older than 5- 6 years.

Through the finance, a borrower can derive 80-100% of the total amount required. But, prior to the availing of the finance, borrower should determine the model of the car. A brief visit of the various car dealers would assist the borrower to assess the price of the vehicle. This way, borrower will be able to borrow the exact amount required to purchase the car.

The finance is further classified in to secured and unsecured form. Secured form of the finance offers a bigger amount, but to avail it borrower has to pledge the car intended to purchase. Moreover, placing collateral eventually enables the borrower to derive the loans at comparatively low rates. Unsecured form of the finance is bereft of collateral pledging. A limited amount is approved on the basis of borrowers income and repaying capability. These loans usually have short repayment tenure. Usually, it spans over a period of 5- 7 years.

Vehicle finance can be sourced from lenders present in both the traditional as well as online market. However to save time and grab the best loan deal, it is preferable to apply online.