Your Personal Finance Pro http://yourpfpro.com Personal Finance for Young Professionals Tue, 16 Oct 2018 23:22:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 31591919 9 Ways a Smaller Home Can Benefit Your Budget http://yourpfpro.com/9-ways-a-smaller-home-can-benefit-your-budget/ http://yourpfpro.com/9-ways-a-smaller-home-can-benefit-your-budget/#comments Mon, 24 Sep 2018 11:00:04 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=8238 When my husband and I first got married we wanted what many other couples dream of – to own our own home. But we were still in college at the time, and money was tight. Down the road a few years we were able to realize our dream and buy our first home. Jump ahead […]

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If buying a home is in your future plans, consider the facts before you sign any contracts. There are lots of ways a smaller home can benefit your budget.When my husband and I first got married we wanted what many other couples dream of – to own our own home. But we were still in college at the time, and money was tight.

Down the road a few years we were able to realize our dream and buy our first home. Jump ahead a couple of more years and we sold that home to buy one that was considerably larger.

Of course, having a larger home meant we had higher bills to pay. Looking back I think we might have saved some money by buying a house that was a little smaller.

If buying a home is in your future plans, carefully consider all of the facts before you sign any contracts.  Sure, there are lots of advantages of having more space. However, there are also lots of ways a smaller home can benefit your budget.

1. Smaller Monthly House Payment

Obviously one of the ways a smaller home can help you is with a smaller monthly house payment. It’s true that not everyone who owns a home will have to get a mortgage. But many people can’t pay cash for a house and need to get a loan of some kind.

Therefore, it makes sense to get the smallest house possible to meet your needs and your budget. Then you’ll be able to pay it off faster and have smaller house payments.

2. Less Overall Debt

Less overall debt is another good thing about purchasing a smaller home. With lower payments to make each month you can use your money in other ways.

For example, you could apply more money to credit card debt, car payments, and other debt you owe. Or, you could use the money for travel or for education.

No matter how you use your money, less overall debt means less stress on both you and your finances.

3. More Wiggle Room in Your Budget

There’s more wiggle room in your budget when you buy a smaller home. With lower payments, or no payments, you can not only pay down debt, but save money too.

Some of the ways you can benefit from this is by building up your emergency funds. Then you won’t run into financial trouble if unexpected expenses come up in the future.

4. Lower Utility Bills

One side benefit of a smaller home is lower utility bills. The more area you have, the more it costs to heat and cool it.

But you won’t spend as much on water either. You’ll most likely have a smaller yard to keep up as well as less to clean inside. So, in addition to having lower mortgage payments you’ll enjoy lower utility bills as well.

5. Less Maintenance

Owning a smaller home gives you less house to maintain. This is another benefit to your budget. You’ll spend less on cleaning supplies, carpet, paint, and etc. to keep your home in tip-top shape.

6. Reduced Taxes

Do you need another reason to consider living in a tiny house? The smaller your home, the lower your taxes will be on that home. That means more money in your pocket for other things you and your family need.

7. Fewer Pieces of Furniture

Having a smaller home means you don’t have to spend as much to fill it up. You’ll have less stuff and more money for other needs and wants.

8. Extra Money to Invest

If you aren’t making huge house payments each month you can use the extra money to invest. Take some of that money and invest it for your future retirement or travel. Set aside some for your children’s college education.

9. Less Interest

When you buy a house by getting a mortgage you’ll end up paying interest on your loan. The smaller your house is, the lower the amount of the loan you’ll need. With a lower loan you’ll pay less interest to your lender and keep more money for yourself.

Clearly there are lots of ways a smaller home can benefit your budget. If a new home is in your future, before you buy, make sure it fits your budget.

Have you considered buying a smaller home or downsizing your existing one to save money?

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How to Give Your Budget a Break without Killing it http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-give-your-budget-a-break-without-killing-it/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-give-your-budget-a-break-without-killing-it/#comments Mon, 17 Sep 2018 11:00:25 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=8230 Whenever you’re trying to rid yourself of debt, and stick to a strict budget, denying yourself can get old. In fact, if you don’t treat yourself once in a while you’re probably going to blow it big time. The problem with blowing it is that you could sabotage everything you’ve been working so hard for. […]

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Sticking to a strict budget and denying yourself can get old. But there are some ways to give your budget a break without killing it.Whenever you’re trying to rid yourself of debt, and stick to a strict budget, denying yourself can get old. In fact, if you don’t treat yourself once in a while you’re probably going to blow it big time.

The problem with blowing it is that you could sabotage everything you’ve been working so hard for. You certainly don’t want to end up deeper in debt from a one-time splurge. You also don’t want to get into bad spending habits, such as blowing a cash windfall.

But there are some ways to give your budget a break without killing it. Here are a few to try.

Budget for a Monthly Splurge

If you’ve been doing really great with your budgeting, why not add a monthly splurge to it? Having a monthly splurge allows you to give your budget a small break.

To do it without killing it, though, you’ll want to keep the emphasis on the word, “small”. In other words, make it a $20 or less splurge. Don’t know of anything you could splurge on for that amount? Try the ideas below:

  • Stop by your favorite coffee shop and grab a flavored cup of joe.
  • Eat lunch out instead of brown bagging it.
  • Get your nails polished in a salon.
  • Buy and burn a candle in a scent you love.
  • Download a few new songs you can only get from iTunes.

Add a Day Off to Your Budget

Another way to take a budget break is to add a day off into your budget occasionally. If you can, try doing it once every six months.

Use the day to read a book, catch up on errands, or grab an afternoon matinee. If you really must, spend the day cleaning or organizing in your house.

Whatever you choose to do with your time, make it something enjoyable or that makes you feel better afterward. Just don’t forget to put a cap on the spending so you aren’t killing your budget.

When you add a day off to your budget you’re allowing yourself to have a day for anything you want to do. Call it a “mental health break” from work and your regular routine.

Put Date Night in Your Budget

Having a date night with your sweetheart is something far too few of us do. We go about our daily routines and forget to stop and spend time with those we care the most about.

There are lots of ways to have date night and give your budget a break without killing it. Try one of these options:

  • Go to a movie but skip the restaurant meal beforehand and eat at home.
  • Walk on the beach or lay out on a blanket under the stars.
  • Enjoy a few hours at a club but eat a meal and have one drink before you go. Then put a reasonable cap on your drink tab.
  • Take a blanket and food to the park for a picnic.
  • Have a ball by bowling – even if you’re like me and not good at it you can still have fun.

If you need a few more options for a budget friendly date, think about what your significant other likes to do. Or, try brainstorming with a friend to get some fresh ideas.

Get Something New

Just because you decided to buy a new clothing item or accessory it doesn’t mean you have to overspend. You can get something new, give your budget a break, and keep from killing it at the same time.

To accomplish this, put a limit on the amount you’ll spend and don’t go over. I once had to give my budget a break and clothes shop for a new job. I tried on a dress that was too cute to pass up but I had nearly spent what I could afford.

There was no price on the dress tag so I had no idea how much it would cost. To keep my spending down I made a deal with myself: if it was $25 or less I would buy it. When I took it to the register, the clerk checked and it was exactly $25. Needless to say, the dress came home with me.

Shopping with a limit allowed me to get something I loved without going overboard. I was able to give my budget a break and still stay on track financially.

It isn’t always easy to give your budget a break without killing it. But even if you’re like me and have a fluctuating income it can be done.

What ways would you give your budget a break without killing it?

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4 Ways Competing with the Joneses Harms Your Budget http://yourpfpro.com/4-ways-competing-with-the-joneses-harms-your-budget/ http://yourpfpro.com/4-ways-competing-with-the-joneses-harms-your-budget/#comments Mon, 13 Aug 2018 11:00:39 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=8151 Last week I went to visit my daughter who recently moved. It was quite a drive, so I’ve stayed several days and plan to drive back home tomorrow. In the meantime, we’ve been cleaning, painting, and decorating her new place. Of course, that has meant a few trips to Home Depot, Walmart, and a couple […]

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Some spending can't be helped. But competing with the Joneses harms your budget even if you think a few dollars here or there won’t matter.Last week I went to visit my daughter who recently moved. It was quite a drive, so I’ve stayed several days and plan to drive back home tomorrow. In the meantime, we’ve been cleaning, painting, and decorating her new place.

Of course, that has meant a few trips to Home Depot, Walmart, and a couple of other stores for supplies. Unfortunately, it’s also meant fighting crowds because we forgot there’d be masses of other people shopping too.

Schools are gearing up for the return of their students which means parents are frantically buying supplies and clothes. Stores are getting busier and checkout lines, longer.

But although part of that spending can’t be helped, some people seem to compete with everyone else with their shopping. These folks think they have to have better backpacks, trendier clothes, and more stylish sneakers for their kids. Otherwise, their kids won’t be the coolest ones when school resumes.

The problem is that when you shop this way it isn’t free or cheap. Competing with the Joneses harms your budget even if you think a few dollars here or there won’t matter.

1. Disregards Frugality

All of these extra’s that you buy for your kids do add up. In fact, they can put you over your normal monthly budget if you didn’t plan ahead for them. What’s more, they totally disregard the concept of frugality.

A better option would be to save ahead, buy on sale, and ignore the Joneses (and anyone else who looks down their nose at your family). Then, use any extra money to pay down debt or invest. You’ll get a much better return on your money.

Furthermore, the “cool” factor of trendy clothes lasts only a short time. When it comes to personal purchases, the same applies. Using your money wisely, on the other hand, has much longer impacts.

2. Causes Overspending

Like I mentioned already, competing with the Joneses causes overspending. If your money’s gone before the month is out, you can’t eat stylish pants or a cute shirt.

Where will you get the money for your bills? You may have to borrow from friends or family. Or, scrimping on groceries might be your choice to adjust your budget. No matter how you handle it, not having enough money is not a fun prospect.

3. Ignores Quality

If you try competing with the Joneses you certainly aren’t paying attention to quality in your purchases. All you’re doing is buying based on current trends in the market.

But the market is usually against you. Stores put the newest movie characters on the cheapest shoes, backpacks, notebooks, and other items on purpose. Then they up the price to make the most money from you.

When it comes to clothing and personal items for adults it’s nearly as bad. College students and adults alike are lured by the popular name brands or what their friends are wearing.

Don’t fall for those retailer’s tricks. Rather than buying what’s trendy, watch for quality. Also, whenever possible, hand down clothes from one child to another. For your own needs, swap clothes with friends and buy only what you need, not what’s cool at the time.

4. Builds Debt

Shopping based on style, rather than need, harms your budget and builds debt. Sure, you and your kids could look like mini celebrities when school starts. But at what price?

Think about what you are giving up with each purchase. Could you have spent less and paid down debt? What about taking a vacation?

Every unnecessary purchase you make takes money from another place you could be using it. Put your money to work for you instead of being a slave to it.

The Bottom Line

The next time you shop, think before you pay. Ask yourself if you’re buying just so you can continue competing with the Joneses. If the answer is yes, rethink that purchase. After all, who cares what the Joneses think anyway?

Have you been competing with the Joneses and harming your budget without realizing it?

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4 Reasons Not to Give Up on Financial Goals in Summer http://yourpfpro.com/4-reasons-not-to-give-up-on-financial-goals-in-summer/ http://yourpfpro.com/4-reasons-not-to-give-up-on-financial-goals-in-summer/#respond Mon, 11 Jun 2018 11:00:18 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7989 I must confess I am not sure just where the time has gone this year. It seems like the last I knew it was January and then all of a sudden it’s June. Where did February, March, April, and May go? For me it was spent working and doing various other chores and family activities. […]

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Although the year is nearly half way over, your financial goals shouldn’t be. There are plenty of reasons not to give up on financial goals in summer.

I must confess I am not sure just where the time has gone this year. It seems like the last I knew it was January and then all of a sudden it’s June.

Where did February, March, April, and May go? For me it was spent working and doing various other chores and family activities.

But regardless of the fact that the year is nearly half way over, your financial goals shouldn’t be. If you made financial resolutions this year that haven’t been met yet you’re probably not alone.

Besides, there are plenty of reasons not to give up on financial goals in summer.

1. You Can Still Have Summer Fun Cheaply

Rather than give up on financial goals in summer, consider ways to have summer fun cheaply. Here are a few to try:

Cool off at the Beach

If you live anywhere near the water, take a daycation and go to the beach for the day. Gather your friends or family, pack some snacks and grab the sunscreen for a cheap day of fun.

Run Through the Sprinklers

I don’t live anywhere near a beach. If you don’t either, try running through the sprinklers a couple of times to stay cool while watering your lawn. You’ll have summer fun and keep your yard green at the same time.

Go on a Scavenger Hunt

Another inexpensive fun summer activity to try is a scavenger hunt. If you need some ideas of things to scavenge for, try the ideas found at Coolest Parties.

2. The Year Isn’t Over Yet

Yes, it’s June and at the end of the month the year will officially be half over. But that doesn’t mean the second half can’t be an improvement over the first half.

When it comes to financial goals, starting late is still better than not starting at all. Even if your goal was to save a certain amount by December 31rst you can still save some money.

Start by looking for ways to save such as hanging clothes on the line instead of drying them. Make sure electric appliances and lights are off or unplugged when not in use. Open the curtains for light instead of flipping the switch on the wall.

There are tons of ways you can save money if you want to badly enough. Don’t wait. Get started now.

3. Budgets Can Be Started (and Restarted) at Any Time

As far as I know there is no rule that says all budgets must be started in January. Budgets can be started or restarted at any time.

Besides, since it’s your budget you can start it whenever you want. This is another reason not to give up on financial goals this summer.

If you need help budgeting or your income is not regular, ask a friend, family member, or financial advisor. There’s no shame in not knowing how, only in not doing it at all.

4. Money Goals Help You Make Financial Progress

It’s time to realize you may not reach your financial goals this year. But another reason not to give up is that goals help you make financial progress. Even if those goals aren’t reached, forward progress is still progress.

So pull out the goals you have written down and go over them. Revise your budget if it is needed. Check your credit report and reset your money goals for the remaining part of the year. Doing these things will help you to make financial progress.

Sometimes life happens and time passes quickly. But just because you get off track it doesn’t mean you should give up on financial goals in summer. Instead, use these tips to help you make financial progress and stay on track the rest of the year.

Have you ever gotten off track with your financial goals? What did you do about it?

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8 Reasons Graduates Need to Watch Their Budgets http://yourpfpro.com/8-reasons-graduates-need-to-watch-their-budgets/ http://yourpfpro.com/8-reasons-graduates-need-to-watch-their-budgets/#comments Mon, 21 May 2018 11:00:16 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7932 Once you graduate from college you may feel a sense of relief. No doubt part of that relief is due to the idea that your studying days are over. But you may also feel a sense of relief financially. With college costs higher than ever before it’s no wonder you might feel this way. Still, […]

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If you’re a recent college grad you shouldn’t let down your guard. In fact, there are reasons graduates need to watch their budgets now more than ever.Once you graduate from college you may feel a sense of relief. No doubt part of that relief is due to the idea that your studying days are over.

But you may also feel a sense of relief financially. With college costs higher than ever before it’s no wonder you might feel this way.

Still, if you’re a recent college grad you shouldn’t let down your guard. In fact, there are reasons graduates need to watch their budgets now more than ever.

1. Graduate School

If you’ve just graduated from college don’t let that fact allow you to relax a frugal budget. Especially if you plan to attend graduate school.

According to U.S. News & World Report, a graduate degree can cost from $20K to $80K or more. So, even if you have your bachelor’s degree already you’ll need to watch expenses. Otherwise your dreams of an even higher education could end before they start.

2. Moving Expenses

Presumably, no matter where a college graduate is living they will soon move elsewhere to start new employment. After all, education for employment is one of the reasons to go to college in the first place.

However, as a college graduate you need be mindful of just how much money it costs to move. Obviously it differs based on many things.  Distance to new location, amount of stuff to be moved, and who is doing the moving are just a few.

Coming up with the money to move isn’t easy if you didn’t plan ahead for it. That’s one reason graduates need to watch their budgets.

3. Low Income

Not all college graduates enter the workforce with jobs that pay six figure salaries. Some have to make ends meet with jobs in the fast food industry, retail, or other lower paid services. For that reason it’s wise for grads to watch budgets.

Even with a degree it sometimes takes a while to build up your income to the level that you desire. If you’re not budgeting you could find your expenses outweigh your income.

4. Delayed Employment

Even worse that taking a job with low pay is not being able to get a job at all. That’s what some graduates deal with after graduation and it could happen to you too.

If you spend extravagantly upon graduation, it will be harder to regain control of your spending. When paired with delayed employment it could end up sinking you financially.

5. Avoiding Debt

Do you need another reason for graduates to watch their budgets? Avoiding debt is one of them. By spending carefully instead of wildly you can avoid adding more debt to your budget.

The faster you pay off your debt the more financially secure you will be. Budgeting carefully will help you gain that security you are looking for.

6. Student Loans Come Due

There is some debt you may not be able to avoid. For example, that of student loan debt you already incurred. But that is another argument for why graduates need to watch their budgets.

When student loan payments come due you need to be able to pay them. Not doing so could cause a poor credit history, among other things.

7. Money for Emergencies

If you keep careful tabs on your budget after graduating college you’ll be able to start saving for emergencies. Although your budget may still be tight, the sooner you do this the more piece of mind you’ll have.

8. Investment Opportunities

Graduates who don’t watch their budgets may not have the investment opportunities everyone else does. If your money is tight you may not have enough to invest. This means you are robbing your future self.

Conversely, watching your budget will allow you to invest even if only in small ways at first.

It’s true that without studying requirements you should feel a sense of relief when you graduate college. But you still need to watch your budget so you can take care of everything that matters most.

Are you watching your budget now that you’ve graduated?

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Budgeting When Your Income Fluctuates http://yourpfpro.com/budgeting-when-your-income-fluctuates/ http://yourpfpro.com/budgeting-when-your-income-fluctuates/#respond Mon, 07 May 2018 11:00:14 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7888 Having a monthly budget to follow can really help if you struggle with your finances. It keeps you accountable for your spending by reminding you of all your monthly monetary obligations. But imagine if your budget were to get blown out of the water because your paycheck got skipped. How would you keep your bills […]

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your income fluctuatesHaving a monthly budget to follow can really help if you struggle with your finances. It keeps you accountable for your spending by reminding you of all your monthly monetary obligations.

But imagine if your budget were to get blown out of the water because your paycheck got skipped. How would you keep your bills paid?

Yet, that is exactly what could happen each month to me and others who are self-employed. There are no guarantees of a paycheck which makes budgeting when your income fluctuates nearly impossible.

Luckily, there are ways of budgeting when your income fluctuates.

1. Break Down Your Budget

When you’re self-employed with a fluctuating income it makes budgeting a little bit tricky. One of the first things to do in overcoming the problem is to break down your budget.

Go through your bills and expenses with a fine toothed comb. Include an average of those that fluctuate in amount. Don’t forget the bills that don’t come monthly, such as doctor bills. Without exception eliminate every expense that isn’t absolutely necessary.

That can be the hard part for some people. It means ruthlessly crossing off some items on your list that may be really enjoyable. It also means you should look closely at expensive bad habits and eliminate them as well.

Remember that you can call creditors and try to negotiate down some of your expenses too. Additionally, when comparing income to expenses, use your average monthly income figured over a year.

This process gives you a starting point for budgeting when your income fluctuates. When you have months where money is tight, these are the bills that must be paid no matter what.

2. Make a Second Budget

Now that you have a basic budget you can make a second budget that allows more wiggle room. This one should include debt repayment and investments.

Clothing allowances, occasional salon visits, and other expenses would also go on this list. So would other expenses that are sometimes forgotten about.

During months when your income is higher you can spend money on these other items. Using caution you should be able to provide for your basic needs and at least some wants.

3. Start an Emergency Savings Account

The next step to budgeting when your income fluctuates is to start an emergency savings account. This will help you make it through unexpected financial crises that could happen during months of lower income.

Set aside money each month into this account until you have enough to cover three or more months of expenses. Try not to dip into this money unless you have no other choice.

4. Allow Room for Errors

Don’t expect your budgeting to be perfect the first time. You may have to make corrections and adjustments as time goes on. This is normal so don’t give up!

Life circumstances change which can have an effect on your budget. Income and expenses also change as time goes on. To help with those issues, be prepared to continually update and change your budget.

5. Set Money Goals

Something else that can help when your income fluctuates is to set financial goals. Having a clear picture of what you are working toward makes it easier to stay on track.

For example, without goals it’s easier to spend on frivolous things you want now instead of saving for the future.

Let’s face it; budgeting isn’t easy when you have to estimate your expenses. But estimating income can be just as hard. Budgeting when your income fluctuates can be easier using these tips.

Does your income fluctuate from month to month?

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Don’t Count on Luck to Improve Your Finances http://yourpfpro.com/dont-count-on-luck-to-improve-your-finances/ http://yourpfpro.com/dont-count-on-luck-to-improve-your-finances/#comments Mon, 12 Mar 2018 11:00:00 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7759 It’s probably not a stretch of the truth to assume that many people have financial difficulties occasionally. Of course, for some people it happens more often than others. But one thing that doesn’t help is counting on luck to improve your finances. For most of us there is no pot of gold at the end […]

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For most of us there's no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Don't count on luck to improve your finances. Make your own luck instead.It’s probably not a stretch of the truth to assume that many people have financial difficulties occasionally. Of course, for some people it happens more often than others.

But one thing that doesn’t help is counting on luck to improve your finances. For most of us there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. No wee leprechaun with the secrets to fortune.

Rather than playing the lottery or risking money at the blackjack table, maybe you should make your own luck.

Budget

Instead of counting on luck to improve your finances take control of them yourself. Start out by making a budget that works for you.

First, gather together all of your outstanding bills and debts. Use them to create a list or spreadsheet so you know everything you owe money on. Use this data to figure out how much your bills are every month.

Make sure you include things that are not paid monthly. These may include car tags and taxes, property taxes, and doctor bills to name a few.

Next, compare these numbers to your monthly income. Should you have money left at the end of each month yet the reality is that you run out? If so, start tracking the extra things you buy that were not included in your budget.

Once you know where the money is going you can make changes to help improve your finances. For instance, stop buying a coffee every morning before work or eating out for lunch each day. Changing these negative spending behaviors can improve your finances.

Pay Off Debt

Now that you have a handle on where and how you are spending your money you can begin eliminating debt. But don’t rely on cash windfalls, such as tax refunds or work promotions to do it.

Look for alternative ways to cut your expenses and keep more money in your pocket. Still, if you are lucky enough to get extra cash you can use it to make more debt progress. Remember every dime you pay toward debt will improve your finances.

One tip that can help you pay debt faster is to try to negotiate bills that you owe. Some creditors will work with you more readily than others, though. A few bills to try negotiating are cell phone bills, medical bills, and utility bills.

Emergency fund

Another way not to count on luck to improve your finances is to create an emergency fund. Most likely, no one is going to rescue your finances if you get in trouble.

When your car breaks down or your refrigerator quits using a credit card for repair bills is not the answer. This will simply dig you further into debt.

To get ahead of these types of issues before they happen, start an emergency fund. Even if you can only put $5 toward this fund some months you are still making progress.

After you commit to living frugally, paying debt, and saving it gets easier to save even more. Consistence and diligence with your finances creates habits that will make a difference in the long run.

Side hustle

In order not to count on luck to improve your finances you could also pick up a side hustle. It’s a great way to help meet monthly bills, pay off debt, and build your emergency fund faster.

Some examples of easy side hustles are filling out online surveys for cash, babysitting, tutoring, or mowing lawns. But there are plenty of other ways to make extra money too.

Certainly the battle toward financial freedom can be a long one and not won overnight. But it helps if you don’t ignore the problem or worse yet count on luck to improve your finances. Use these tips to help you get out of debt and take control of your finances.

What measures have you taken to improve your finances?

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How to Help Your Budget Using Social Media http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-help-your-budget-using-social-media/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-help-your-budget-using-social-media/#respond Mon, 26 Feb 2018 12:00:43 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7721 Most people use some type of social media app on a daily basis. When you’re on the go you likely see them rapidly pecking away on smart phones or other electronic devices. In fact, you may even be one of them. I must admit that I am. I like to use social media to catch […]

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Social Media has other uses besides just catching up on news from friends or watching crazy animal videos. For example, you can help your budget using social media.Most people use some type of social media app on a daily basis. When you’re on the go you likely see them rapidly pecking away on smart phones or other electronic devices. In fact, you may even be one of them.

I must admit that I am. I like to use social media to catch up on news and photos of my friends or simply watch crazy animal videos for fun.

However, there are other uses for social media as well. For example, you can help your budget using social media.

Facebook Sales Pages

When you are searching for a particular item to buy it doesn’t always have to be brand new. Sometimes you can help your budget using social media to buy things that are gently used instead.

For example, my local community has a sale page where residents can list items they want to sell to others. You can look to see if your city or town has one too.

If they do, take advantages of the good deals there to save money on your purchases. You may be able to sell things you are ready to part with or offer your labor to others there as well.

Facebook Business Pages

You can follow the Facebook pages of your favorite companies by “liking” them. When you do you will see their discount codes, coupons, and sales.

This is a great way to help your budget using social media. Rather than paying full price for things you plan to buy anyway, why not save money?

Pinterest Notifications

Pinterest is another good way to help your budget using social media. Just access Pinterest settings and turn on the option that will notify you of price drops.

That way when items you’ve pinned from retailers go on sale in the future you will know it. Then all you have to do is go to their website and buy the item for less.

Pinterest Printables

There are lots of printables you can get free on Pinterest. You can find organization charts, recipes, patterns, and a host of other helpful things as well. Use these printables to save you money and time each month.

Pinterest Hacks

Hacks on Pinterest can ease the strain of a tight budget. This social media tool has neat ideas that help you DIY nearly anything you can think of.

Most of the pins have instructions and pictures to do household tasks, painting, repair jobs, and more. Use these tools to help you do the work yourself and avoid paying for expensive repair jobs.

Reviews from Friends

An additional way to help your budget using social media is to ask for reviews from your friends. Of course, you can read product review on company websites or Amazon instead. However, how do you know you can trust the opinions of people you don’t even know?

Rather than rely on the word of strangers, use social media to ask your friends.  I have done this more than once and saved myself from making a purchasing mistake that would have wasted my money.

Watch Videos

Once in a while I find that I just can’t figure out how to do a certain thing. For instance, a couple of years ago I needed to know how to cut a mango.

I was trying to save money by cooking at home rather than eating restaurant meals. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anybody around for me to ask and I really wanted to use my mango before it went bad. So, YouTube videos rescued me. This is just a tiny example of how to help your budget using social media.

Hashtag Searches

Hashtag searches can help you save money in your budget too. Use them to find more savings on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest when you are searching for used furniture, coupons, or discounted items to buy. Just type in your search, such as “#coupons”, to help you save money.

Social media isn’t just about watching silly videos or reading anecdotes from your friends. Clearly there are lots of ways to help your budget using social media as well.

Do you use social media to help your budget?

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Negative Impacts Friends and Family Could Have on Your Spending http://yourpfpro.com/negative-impacts-friends-and-family-could-have-on-your-spending/ http://yourpfpro.com/negative-impacts-friends-and-family-could-have-on-your-spending/#respond Mon, 19 Feb 2018 12:00:07 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7709 Peer pressure isn’t something that only affects teenagers. It may be more subtle, but it affects adults too. In fact, if you pay close attention you can feel it in your relationships with friends, coworkers, and family members. If the peer pressure is great enough you may not be able to resist the temptation to […]

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Peer pressure doesn't only affect teenagers. It may be subtle, but it affects adults too and can result in unfavorable financial consequences. Here are some of the negative impacts friends and family could have on your spending.Peer pressure isn’t something that only affects teenagers. It may be more subtle, but it affects adults too. In fact, if you pay close attention you can feel it in your relationships with friends, coworkers, and family members.

If the peer pressure is great enough you may not be able to resist the temptation to give in to it. Sadly, when you succumb it can result in unfavorable financial consequences.

Here are some of the negative impacts friends and family could have on your spending.

Causes Overspending

One of the negative impacts friends and family could have on your spending is overspending. The peer pressure you feel when you are shopping with friends or family can cause you to make purchases you otherwise wouldn’t.

It could be that you give in to prevent others from poking fun at you. Or, you may feel the need to “one up” your friend or family member.

Regardless of the reason, you need to recognize it when it happens and think before you buy. Instead of spending on impulse, stop and think about why you want the item first. If you can come up with an important reason or reasons, go ahead and buy the item.

Increases Debt

Another of the negative impacts friend and family could have on your spending is increasing your debt. Friends and family who persuade you to spend what you shouldn’t may influence you to pull out your plastic.

The truth is that charging spur of the moment purchases on your credit card increases your total debt. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck or have a tight budget already adding debt can be devastating to your finances.

Furthermore, it can put you into a cycle of debt that you might never get out of. Rather than increase it, pay your debt down and manage your finances better.

Damages Credit Scores

Negative impacts friends and family could have on your spending includes damage to your credit score. If you are unable to keep up with your bills due to overspending your credit score can go down.

The next time you need to get a loan for a major purchase you may not get approval if your credit score is too low. Or, if you do get approval, your payments may be too high to afford.

Reduces Retirement

You don’t want to reduce your retirement funds or delay retirement significantly due to negative influences. If you overspend often and have trouble keeping household bills paid you probably aren’t contributing to your retirement funds.

Getting everything you want when you want can prevent you from retiring on time. It may even end your dreams for retirement completely. But you can plan ahead for your retirement.

Ruins Relationships

Ruined relationships are just one more of the negative impacts friends and family could have on your spending. For instance, hard feelings can develop if you are asked for money.

If you give in to the request it’s possible you may not get repayment. You may feel resentful knowing you could have used that money yourself, especially if money gets tight for you later on.

To avoid ruined relationships it’s ok to say “no” when asked for money. Of course, denying the money can also have negative impacts. However, that may be better option for you financially.

Lowers Emergency Funds

Finally, negative impacts friends and family could have on your spending includes lowering your emergency funds. If you are buying what you shouldn’t because it “looks cute” or you “just have to have it” you may have to short your budget elsewhere.

The problem is that you can’t predict when you will need emergency funds. If that is the area of your budget you are dipping into for unplanned purchases you could put yourself in a bind later.

Peer pressure will always be around. Keep in mind there will always be other cute clothes or cool electronics even if you pass up an item or to now. Remember these negative impacts and resist the urge to cause harm to your future finances.

Have you ever had friends or family negatively influence your spending?

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Often Forgotten Items That Should Be in Your Budget http://yourpfpro.com/often-forgotten-items-that-should-be-in-your-budget/ http://yourpfpro.com/often-forgotten-items-that-should-be-in-your-budget/#respond Mon, 29 Jan 2018 12:00:08 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7660 As the first month of the new year draws to a close it is likely many people have already revised their budgets. If you are among them, it’s important to note that making changes to it doesn’t mean your budgeting is complete for the year. In fact, you should review your budget at least every […]

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As the first month of the new year draws to a close it is likely many people have already revised their budgets. If you are among them, it’s important to note that making changes to it doesn’t mean your budgeting is complete for the year.

In fact, you should review your budget at least every couple of months if not each month. In doing so you may find that you have forgotten items that should be in your budget.

Computer

One of the often forgotten items that should be in your budget each month is a computer upgrade. Granted, computer prices generally decrease as technology improves making them more affordable all the time.

However, even replacing a computer every couple of years will still require a chunk of change. Shelling out several hundred dollars all at once may not be an option if your budget is tight.

If your computer dies suddenly, though, you may have to do just that if you’re desperate. But there are better ways to pay for it than to pull out plastic and charge it. Instead, why not make it a line item in your monthly budget?

Take a look at computers online that are similar to what you may want. Then figure an average cost by adding all of their prices together and dividing by how many computers there are.

Next take that figure and divide by how many months you think it will be before you need to replace it. The resulting figure is an estimate of how much you need to set aside each month for your purchase.

Phone

Would you like to get control of your spending and budget accurately? Then you must not only watch for sales that can reduce what you spend but also budget completely. That means adding forgotten items that should be in your budget currently.

Your cell phone may be one of the items you don’t budget for but should. One reason is because prices can range from under a hundred dollars to over one thousand. That’s a pretty large gap.

Regardless, the smart phones of today undergo heavy use requiring you to upgrade every few years. To absorb the costs of upgrades, create a place for them in your budget each month.

Appliances

A couple of weeks ago, my 13 year-old oven decided it was ready for retirement. At the time, I was cooking something in the oven while writing at the kitchen table.

I saw a bright flash out of the corner of my eye and heard a loud “pop” making me pause in my work. Warily, I got up and walked over to check it out. That’s when I found my oven was no more.

So, after a failed attempt by my husband to fix, it a few weeks, and thirtyish dollars later– don’t judge because he is usually quite good at this sort of thing – we ended up buying a new oven.

Luckily, we had enough money set aside to afford spending several hundred dollars on a new appliance. But not everyone is in a good enough financial situation to be able to simply go out and buy another one on the spur of the moment.

If you are one of the unfortunate ones, don’t use your credit card to pay for replacement appliances. There are better ways to handle your debt. As an alternative, estimate what you believe you’d spend and add it to your budget.

Car

Obviously a new car is a major expense for anyone. Therefore, getting a new or nearly new one requires budgeting. Nevertheless, applying some of the same methods as above, you should be able to come up with a budgeting figure.

Don’t forget to include increased costs of insurance, tags, and taxes when you budget.

It’s true that budgets must be reviewed and evaluated fairly often to make them accurate. But they should also be looked over to ensure there are no forgotten items that didn’t get included.

What other forgotten items do you think should be in a budget?

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New Year’s Resolutions You Can and Should Keep http://yourpfpro.com/new-years-resolutions-you-can-and-should-keep/ http://yourpfpro.com/new-years-resolutions-you-can-and-should-keep/#respond Tue, 26 Dec 2017 12:00:30 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7591 With Christmas just a day behind us, the new year is fast approaching. Many people will take the next few days to reflect on all of the changes the past year has brought. But multitudes of people will also begin thinking about their goals and New Year’s resolutions for the year ahead. They’ll try out […]

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New Year's Resolutions You Can and Should KeepWith Christmas just a day behind us, the new year is fast approaching. Many people will take the next few days to reflect on all of the changes the past year has brought.

But multitudes of people will also begin thinking about their goals and New Year’s resolutions for the year ahead. They’ll try out the newest diet fads, relationship advice, and even the trendiest fashion all in the name of improving their lives.

Unfortunately, some of these same people will break their resolutions in the coming days and weeks ahead. So, are there some New Year’s resolutions you can and should keep more than others?

Examine Your Financial Goals

Important New Year’s resolutions you can and should keep ought to include examining your financial goals. In fact, it should be one of the first resolutions you make and fulfill.

Review any money goals you had for last year to see whether or not you made progress or met them. If you did not, give honest effort into finding out why.

Could it be those goals were too lofty? Did something unforeseen happen that prevented you from hitting the mark? What could you have done differently to help you attain your financial goals?

Asking yourself these questions can help you not only understand why those goals went unmet but also how to set realistic ones for the year about to start.

However, another reason to examine your financial goals is because they may need to be different for the new year. It’s possible you reached one or more of your goals this past year resulting in the need to set new ones.

Use Windfalls in Smart Ways

There are times throughout the year when you could end up with a cash windfall or extra money in your budget. There are lots of different sources for this extra money, such as tax refunds, Christmas money from gifts, year-end bonuses, and more.

This extra money is most commonly spent by the receiver on high dollar electronic equipment, vacations, or other frivolous, high dollar items. What is sad is that these same people could have used the money differently to make a greater impact in their lives.

To use windfalls in smart ways you should invest at least part of it. Additionally, you could choose to pay off debt or grow your emergency funds.

Review Your Budget

If you are wondering what other financial New Year’s resolutions you can and should keep, reviewing your budget is one of them. Take a look at your monthly budget from last year to see what adjustments need to be made for this year.

Add any new bills to your budget that have come up and remove those that are paid off. Don’t forget to account for those bills that do not get billed monthly.

Eliminate Expensive Habits

While reviewing your budget you may also notice things you used to spend money on that you no longer need. Or, you may see expenses and habits you could cut from your monthly bills.

Similar to diets and other New Year’s resolutions that do not last, this is another that could cause some people to falter. But taking a hard, honest look at some of your money wasters is important in order to get your finances on track.

Consider alternatives such as making meals at home instead of eating out and shopping only for what is a necessity. Go take a walk instead of paying for a gym membership. Making different choices can help you eliminate expensive habits, save money in your budget, and put that money toward better uses.

Check Your Credit Report

Checking your credit report is a good way to see how you are doing financially. It is also one of the New Year’s resolutions you can and should keep.

Have you looked at yours recently? Doing so can alert you if there are errors on your report. It will also let you know if there are any unauthorized purchases under your name.

Lots of people will make New Year’s resolutions in the next few days or weeks. Instead of creating the usual ones that everyone else makes and breaks, set some New Year’s resolutions you can and should keep for the year.

What New Year’s resolutions will you be making this year?

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What You Should Teach Your Kids About Money http://yourpfpro.com/what-you-should-teach-your-kids-about-money/ http://yourpfpro.com/what-you-should-teach-your-kids-about-money/#respond Mon, 02 Oct 2017 11:00:13 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7388 It’s a sad truth that many young people today have not been taught how to handle money. Quite a few of them, in fact, are unable to count back change when they need to, such as at a job. But why are our youth not learning these fundamental life skills? For one thing, schools may […]

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Teach Your Kids About MoneyIt’s a sad truth that many young people today have not been taught how to handle money. Quite a few of them, in fact, are unable to count back change when they need to, such as at a job.

But why are our youth not learning these fundamental life skills? For one thing, schools may be relying on parents to teach money management skills while the parents rely on the schools to do it.

Neither one is making sure the children learn what they need to survive once they head out into the world on their own. Therefore, our young people can’t manage the simple tasks of balancing their checkbooks, budgeting their money, our counting back change when they need to.

Clearly change is needed. But if you intent to fill that gap in your own family, what should you teach your kids about money?

1. The Way Money is Earned

One of the first things you should teach your kids about money is how it is earned. From a young age your children need to learn what it is you do to pay the household bills.

Tell them about your job and what you do each day to earn a paycheck. Keep it brief and general for very young children. If your kids are older, however, you may be able to provide a little more information.

For example if you are a nurse, you might tell young kids that you help sick people to get well again at your job each day. When your kids get older you can tell them a little bit about taking blood pressures, giving medications, administering shots, and various other duties.

It’s important that children know how money is earned so they can better understand how job skills and education impact jobs and income. They must also understand the value of money, which is another reason they need to know how you earn your income.

2. Practice Makes Perfect

When my kids where somewhere around middle school to high school age, I bought one of those paper money and plastic coin sets. Next, I set up different scenarios where they had to “buy” something from me using the fake money.

Sometimes they didn’t have the exact amount, so I gave them change. It was up to them to tell if I gave them the correct change or not. Of course, at times I had them act as cashier too, making them count back change.

As teenagers sometimes do, they rolled their eyes and got a bit impatient with me. But when my high school age daughter was the only person at her fast food job who could count back change correctly I knew I was onto something.

3. How to Budget

Something else you should teach your kids about money is how to budget it. Again, you could set up different practice situations, or just show them how you budget instead.

Start out by letting them help you stuff envelopes and put on the stamps when they are young. As the mature into middle school and high school they will be ready to see how you budget, pay bills, and file paperwork.

4. Why Saving is Important

Show your kids how much you put away in savings each month. They don’t need to know the total amount you have in savings if you don’t wish to share that information with them. Nevertheless, instill in them the importance of saving a portion of what you make each month.

Let them know why you save, such as for an emergency fund, vacation, or college education for their future. When they know why it is important to save they will be more likely to save also once they are out on their own.

Take it a step further by allowing them to save toward a goal they have, such as paying for a new toy or game they want. Give them chores to do around the house and pay them for those they do well. Then, once they reach their goal, take them shopping for the item they saved up for.

5. Reasons to Invest

Another thing some parents forget to teach their kids about money is why investing is essential. If you have any investments, even if it is just a 401K, you should let your children know about them.

Talk to your children not only about how to invest but why you invest. When they know the reasons why you invest for the future they will have a better grasp on how it impacts them.

Instilling financial literacy in our children is vital to their future. Don’t wait on someone else to teach them about money. Teach your kids about money at home and ensure they have the skills they need once they are no longer under your roof.

What additional concepts should you teach your kids about money?

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