canstockphoto24746428It is quite expensive to feed a family nowadays! The price of food is a large portion of most budgets, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. There are several alarming statistics concerning the food prices in the U.S. The cost of feeding a family of four in July 2014 are ranging from $568-$1,293.20 per month according to Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Data from the Consumer Price index shows that food prices have increased an average of 2.8% per year since 1990 and will most likely continue on an upward spiral.

Fortunately, there are a few strategies that can help you save big at the supermarket. Use these techniques to substantially lower your grocery bill:

 

1. Avoid paying for pre-cut and cooked food. To get the biggest savings at the checkout, stop shopping for convenience. You should avoid pre-cooked, pre-washed and pre-chopped food at all costs. Look for whole food that you can prepare instead of buying highly processed food. This is a lot cheaper and also gives you more control over how much salt, sugar and fat are added to your meals.

Another way to further your savings is by eating home-cooked meals rather than dining out. If you don’t know how to cook very well, consider asking your friends and family members to share some of their recipes. You can also do a Google search and watch Youtube videos for step-by-step instructions on how to prepare specific dishes.

 

 

2. Plan your menu around weekly sales. Prepare dishes with items that’s on sale or marked down for the week. Many grocery stores offer weekly specials on items, especially in the meat and produce department while others offer significant savings on products that are nearing the expiration date.

Purchasing items when it’s offered at rock bottom prices will dramatically increase your savings. Most meat and produce can be stored in your freezer until you’re ready to cook them. If you come across good deals, stock up on these items and plan your meals accordingly. On the other hand, if you let it go to waste you’ll be wasting money!

 

 

3. Compare prices at different stores. Avoid shopping exclusively at one retailer for groceries and other household products. There is a good chance that you’ll end up paying more when shopping at one particular supermarket. Search for specials and reward programs at all of the grocery stores in your area. You should include smaller community grocers as well as farmer’s markets on your list of places to do your shopping.

 

4. Take advantage of coupons and rewards clubs. Many stores offer deep discounts to members of their shopping clubs. It’s usually free to sign up and always remember to take your membership card whenever you go shopping.

You can save even more by using coupons that you find online. There are several websites that offer coupons for food, baby items and a long list of household products that allows consumers to download on their computer and smartphones. Using your smartphone is better since it will save time printing and clipping coupons.

Keep in mind that using coupons on an items that’s on sale will give you extra savings. Always buy food that you’re going to use. If you purchase items that you don’t use, you’re throwing food and money down the drain.

Rising food prices are making it difficult for many families to enjoy nutritious meals. Use these tricks to make it easy for you to cut your grocery bill in half without skimping on your favorites. Watch you savings grow while you’re getting more bang for your buck at the cash register!

canstockphoto13779951Many people nearing retirement don’t have any idea how their expenses will be affected. They are looking forward to sleeping late since they will no longer have to get up early in the morning for work. Have you really thought about the expenses you’re likely going to face in your golden years?

Whether your idea of retirement includes taking a trip to the Caribbean or spending time with your grandchildren, there  are going to be expenses that you underestimated or haven’t thought about. It’s very important for you to take the time to accurately estimate your expenses if you want to enjoy a comfortable retirement. Here are a few examples:

1. Entertainment. One mistake many retirees are making is assuming their recreational expenses will remain the same. There will be some drastic changes. You should consider that while you’re working on a regular job, it takes up much of you day. There is a great chance that you’re away from home for around 10 hours a day if you include driving back and forth to work.

You will probably spend much of the day doing something other than sleeping late and watching television. Dining out, traveling, playing golf and shopping is a lot more expensive than going to work. Consider that you’re replacing a full time income with activities that will potentially cost money.

2. Household expenses. Once you retire, there’s a list of household expenses that you’ll have to pay. Hopefully, you are close to paying off your mortgage. Just because your home is paid for, you will still be responsible for the property taxes. Other monthly bills to consider are the utility bills, cable service, internet and other basic expenses.

Your utility bills are certainly going to increase in the future. It’s important to take this into consideration when you’re planning for your retirement. Remember the cost of food, gas and insurance is also on the rise.

3. Medical expenses. Ultimately, health care expenses are usually the biggest expense for many retirees. The average costs of medical expenses are currently over $220,000. Seventy percent of seniors over the age of 65 will require long-term  care in their lifetime. Keep in mind assisted living average $3,500 per month, private nursing home is approximately $8,000 per month and in home care from a home health aide cost around $50 per hour.

Depending on the option that you choose, it can get very expensive.

4. Unexpected expenses. There’s a great chance that you will have to pay for the upkeep of your home and you’ll need to get car repairs. Building an emergency fund is a great way to prepare for expenses that will pop up instead of using your credit cards.

Planning for retirement can be a challenge, especially when your income and expenses are changing. While it’s impossible to predict how much all of your expenses are going to be, you should still make preparations. You may want to spend that time with interesting and fun activities. Start planning for your retirement today. Consider the lifestyle that you would like to live and the expenses required to maintain it.

5. Miscellaneous expenses. You’ll never know what new hobbies and interests you might develop over time. Maybe golf never sounded interesting before, but you may develop friendships with those that love to play. Perhaps you will develop a love of art and would like to start collecting or visiting art galleries. Assume you will find new activities to participate on a daily or weekly basis and plan accordingly.

These are just a few things that you need to prepare for when you retire. Start making plans today to enjoy a comfortable bt-free retirement.

canstockphoto28074279Divorce is challenging for a number of reasons. The legal part of the divorce can be stressful since it concentrate mainly on how the assets and debts will be split up. Divorce isn’t just emotionally draining. It can also get quite expensive.

 

There are ways you can avoid stress by learning the basics of debt and divorce:

 

1. Get familiar with the laws in your state. Since the rules vary from state to state, find out who will be responsible for paying off the debts. In some states, the name on the debt is the one that’s required for making the payments while both parties are reliable in other places. Regardless of whose name is on the account, you may still be responsible.

Speak with a divorce attorney to learn more about the laws in your state.

 

2. Joint credit cards are equivalent to joint debt. If both of your names are on the credit card, you’re also responsible for paying off the debt. If your spouse charged $10,000 without your knowledge, the credit card company will potentially hold you equally responsible for the debt.

After the separation, all credit card purchases and cash advances are the sole responsibility of the person that made the transactions. The time period of the separation occur depends on the laws in your state.

 

3. Cancel all joint accounts during the divorce proceedings. You don’t want to be held responsible for your soon to be ex spouse taking out a large cash advance or mounting credit card debt. Make sure that you’ll have enough money in your account and check your credit rating before cancelling the credit card account.

 

4. The court ruling may not protect you from creditors. If your name is on the account, the court’s decision doesn’t matter to the creditors. If there’s a credit card, mortgage, car loan or any other debt, you are still liable. This can negatively affect your credit if your ex fail to pay it off.

 

You can also face a lawsuit for the debt. If this describes your situation, you have the option to sue your ex for failing to honor the agreement. This can be very stressful for both parties. If you feel that you’re not responsible for paying the debt, allow the courts make a decision on the matter.

 

5. Pay off outstanding debts. Paying off all of your debts or converting joint accounts to individual accounts will make the divorce process easier and less stressful. If this isn’t possible, keep a close watch on your joint accounts and get a copy of the documentation of your finances.

 

6. Consider the mortgage payments. The banks unlikely will remove either of your names from the mortgage.  The more people that’s responsible for the mortgage payments, the happier it will make the lender. It’s probably best for you to sell the home and split the proceeds. If either one of you decide to keep the home, you have the option to refinance the home to remove the other party from the loan.

This is usually the largest debt that’s created by married couples and is also chaotic during divorce proceedings. The parent with physical custody of the children will typically get possession of the home.

Refinancing is a possible solution if one of you have sufficient income and a good credit rating and there is enough equity in the home.

Selling the property is the best choice to pay off the mortgage in most cases. This will allow both parties to be free of debt and rebuild their life.

 

7. Think twice about signing a quitclaim deed.  It allows one party to give up all claims of the property. Many people make the mistake of thinking they are no longer responsible for making the payments if they sign it. You will lose any equity and use of the property and still be responsible for the mortgage payments.

Divorce can be emotionally and financially draining. The way debts are handled during the divorce process depends on the laws in your state. A good divorce attorney can help you to make sure that your finances are intact and make it easier to transition to the single life without emptying your bank account.

 

Save Big With a Savings Jar

canstockphoto26074840Can a savings jar easily get you in the path of saving a lot of money? Those coins that you find under your sofa can grow significantly over time. The purpose of having a savings jar is for you to stay motivated and stick with your savings plan.

Keeping a savings jar will can help you to set short-term and long-term goals. This is an easy way to put money aside for a family vacation, home renovation projects, or to build your savings.

Here are some methods you can use to reach your financial goals:

 

1. The $5 bill savings plan. This strategy involves saving a $5 bill by placing the money in the jar each time you receive it as change from your purchases. This savings plan can easily be modified to a $10 or $20 bill.

Instead of spending your $5 bill, you should save it and allow it to slowly build up the contents of the savings jar.

If you’re unable to save even a dollar right now, you can always start out by saving your loose change.

 

2. The 52-Week Money Challenge. This method is quite popular among people that are looking for ways to reach their financial goals. This will gradually increase your savings each week of the year. Here’s how to do it:

Get started by putting $1 in your jar the first week of the month. Then add $2 the second week, $3 the third week and so on. Once you add $52 the last week of the year you’ll save $1,378 by using this simple strategy.

Keeping a print or an online calender can help you stay on track of your savings plan. Each week can be labeled at the beginning with the amount of money that you need to add in your savings jar.

 

It may be easy for you to save $1 or $2 at the beginning of the plan, but can be a challenge to save $52 at the end of the year. This savings method will encourage you to think ahead and find ways to save money.

 

3. The traditional change method. Saving your pocket change by automatically placing it in the jar is the most popular strategy among savers. This may seem like it won’t make much of a difference, but this can actually create big results!

Simply add all of your loose change in the savings jar every time you make a purchase.

 

4. The Payday Savings Plan. Consider adding a specific amount of money to your savings jar after cashing your paycheck.

The payday savings plan will also work for couples. You can add a certain amount of money along with your partner each pay period and add it to the savings jar. This always works best if you have a financial goal set in place.

Whether you are trying to save up for a family vacation or a new electronic gadget, figure out how much money you will need to save each month from your paycheck and remember to always pay cash instead of accumulating credit card debt.

 

5. The Inspirational Savings Plan. It works best if you keep a photograph of the item or a specific goal that want to achieve. It can be placed somewhere near the savings jar on the lid so you’ll see it every day. Place the savings jar in the living room or the kitchen counter so it is visible. Including the entire family will produce the best results.

You can add the inspiration photo of a new Smart TV or a romantic cruise to a frame. Simply writing the goal down on a sheet of paper can also be helpful.

 

The photo will serve as a constant reminder of why it’s important for you to stick with your savings plan.

 

6. Start a $20 Weekly Savings Plan. The $20 weekly plan is an excellent alternative to the 52 Week money plan. You can place a $20 bill in the savings jar instead of slowly building your savings throughout the year.

 

Alike the 52 Week Money Challenge, you can track your savings on a calender or chart. This will allow you to save $1,040 at the end of the year.

 

A savings jar is a great way to help you to help you reach your financial goals. Make a commitment today and watch your money grow!

canstockphoto8732083How important is it to save for your retirement? It is essential to save up for your retirement savings as early as  possble. After all, the days of employer funded pensions are long gone and the retirement age is often delayed since Social Security is running out of funds.

Some financial advisors strongly recommend that people save enough money to cover at least 75% of their pre-retirement income to fund their retirement savings.

Many people find it challenging to save money to pay their bills since the cost of food, housing and healthcare is constantly on the rise. No matter your age or how much money you’re currently making, there are easy ways you can boost your retirement savings.

Use these tips to increase your retirement savings and ensure that your financial future is secure:

1. Start saving money right now. If you haven’t already started contributing to your 401(k) or any other retirement plan, start now. If you’re unable to contribute 10% of your income, start small. You should try to save 1 or 2 percent of your gross income. Increase the amount that you contribute, especially if you get a raise or receive bonuses from your employer.

When your employer matches a percentage of your 401(k) contribution, you have a 100 percent instant return on your investment. Contribute at least the minimum to qualify for any match offered by your employer when you enroll in the company’s plan.

Open an IRA or Roth IRA if your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k) plan. IRAs can help you to lower your annual tax bill that can give you hundreds of dollars you can use to increase your nest egg. Don’t make the mistake of spending your savings!

2. Delay your retirement. Working longer and retiring at a later age will boost the amount of money that you will receive for your Social Security benefits. This will also shorten the length of time you’ll need to draw from your retirement savings.

As you’re approaching retirement age, look for ways to make additional income streams that are separate from your salary. You can use your skills to freelance your expertise or start a small business or a home-based business. Increasing your income will allow you to add more to retirement savings.

3. Get out of debt. Before you retire, make sure all of your debts are paid off. Most budgets are comprised of debt payments. Therefore, it will make it nearly impossible to add to your retirement savings. The best solution is to create workable budget that will eliminate outstanding debt over a certain time period.

Plan to get out of debt before you retire so that you’ll need to save less for your retirement. As you’re decreasing your debt, you should remain disciplined rather than falling into the trap of experiencing more financial woes or wasting money that can be saved for your retirement fund on unnecessary purchases.

4. Downsize your lifestyle. When you create your budget, take a good look at how much you are paying on your rent or mortgage. Determine if you should move into a smaller house with lower costs. If it have a negative affect on your budget, consider getting a smaller place with lower costs for the upkeep. In addition to downsizing your home, you can sell items that you won’t use any longer and add the proceeds from the sale to add to your retirement savings.

Finding ways to save up for your golden years can be a difficult and time consuming task if you don’t know what to do. However, if you implement these tips, it will make it easier to boost your savings to enjoy a comfortable retirement.

canstockphoto21350556Credit counseling services are often receiving mixed reviews. There are many reputable services out there. You should take precaution since there are also credit counseling companies with a bad reputation. Credit counseling is now required before filing for bankruptcy If you’re looking for help dealing with your outstanding debt, be aware of the advantages and pitfalls of using a credit counseling company.

Pros of Credit Counseling

1. Credit counseling services make it easier to negotiate with creditors. Some creditors are willing to discuss payment plans with credit counselors. You may get a better deal and more breathing room by using a credit counseling service.

2. Make it possible to consolidate your payments. Many firms will allow you to consolidate your debt into a single payment each month. You will be making a payment to the credit counseling company. Remember, the credit counseling firm must make all of the individual payments on your behalf.

3. It can make it easier to get a new line of credit. One of the benefits to getting credit counseling is new credit will be secured for you. They will actually work to have your credit card applications approved.

4. Put a stop to harassing calls. The bill collectors will leave you alone once you’re on a repayment plan. You can easily do this yourself by making a request in writing.

Finding a reputable and honest credit counseling service can be helpful for getting out of debt. There are many advantages to using a well-qualified credit counselor. But there are also some disadvantages to watch out for.

Cons of Credit Counseling

1. The creditors may not receive your payments. There are numerous complaints filed each year of credit counseling companies failing to send the payments to the creditors.

2. They may not deliver on their promises. Some companies will use tactics to get their hands on your money by false advertisements that’s too good to be true. After the credit counseling company get their portion, your situation may remain the same.

3. It can possibly affect on your credit rating. There is one method that can make your credit worse. The credit counselor may suggest for you to stop making payments on your debt and put the payments into an account instead.

Your counselor would approach by suggesting to pay off the debt at a reduce amount once a large lump sum is accumulated. Your credit will suffer due to nonpayment during this process. Make sure that you choose a reputable credit counseling firm since the money in the account is under their control.

As you can see, the potential drawbacks are serious. It’s very important to do your own research to find a reputable credit counseling service. Many consumers are led to believe that a service with a non-profit status is reputable. You should remember that a non-profit is a company isn’t about earning a profit.

You’ll be able to find a counseling service in your area that you can visit in person. Checking with the Attorney General and Better Business Bureau is an effective way to see if there are any complaints or legal action taken against the company. Doing an online search can also help you find complaints and negative reviews from consumers.

Ask about the fees and the services that they offer. Also find out how many of their employees are paid a salary. Are they compensated for signing their customers up for certain services? Make sure you receive it in writing since verbal promises can be conveniently forgotten and hard to prove.

Credit counseling can be beneficial or challenging to your goal of eliminating debt. Find a reputable credit counseling firm by doing your own research thoroughly. Following these tips will move you in the right direction.

7 Characteristics of Successful Savers

canstockphoto15497150Do you consider yourself to be a good saver? Very few people often save enough money to maintain a reasonable level of financial security .Many seniors are forced to work well into their retirement years. Adopting great saving habits can make building your savings considerably easier. Making a few small changes may be all you need to have a bright financially abundant future.
Saving money will be a slow process at first and may require many years for you to see impressive results. Nevertheless, your habits dramatically influence your results over time.

You will become a successful saver by adopting these habits:
1. Successful savers pay themselves first. It is natural for our instincts to steer us in unproductive directions. Many people feel compelled to pay all of their bills first before saving their money. It would be nice to avoid the mental burden of bills and other financial obligations. However, there’s hardly anything left at the end of the month to put toward your savings. Make a habit of saving a certain percentage of every dollar that you earn or receive each pay period.

Start out with 2% of your income if that’s all you can afford right now. Make an effort to increase the amount over time. Avoid spending this money at all costs!

2. Automatically save their money. It’s much easier and more convenient to simply have the money from your paycheck direct deposited into your bank account before you have the opportunity to spend it. There are many employers that are willing to split your paycheck and send a portion to a separate account on your behalf. This is one of the easiest ways for you to save money.
3. Learn to control their spending habits. The less money that you spend, the easier it will be for you to save. Review your spending pattern over the last month and determine if all of your money was well spent. Don’t be down on yourself if it wasn’t. Start monitoring your spending each month. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be amazed about how much money you have accumulated.
It is reasonable for you to expect an annual return of 10% on your long-term investments. For every $100 that you spend today would be worth nearly $750 in 20 years only if it had been invested. Spending $100 when you’re at the age of 20 can cost you nearly $8,850 once you reach 65 years of age.
You should always shop with a grocery list. We’ve all gone to the store for a couple of items and came home with far more than expected. Before you leave home write out a list of what you need and stick to it.

4. Avoid getting into debt. Trying to save while in debt is similar to climbing a mountain and never reaching the top. Consumer debt is an obstacle that will make it difficult to achieve any financial goal. Anytime you’re unable to pay cash for any purchase, you simply can’t afford it.

Avoid accumulating any unnecessary debt unless it’s for an emergency or something that’s very important that needs to be paid for immediately.

5 .Set goals. Saving money is a lot easier if you have a clear picture of the reason. In other words “What is your why?” For example, saving enough money to enjoy a comfortable retirement or sending your child to college can help maintain your focus.

6. Stay on top of their finances. Most savers are aware of how much money is in their accounts and the amount of money they’ve saved and spent each month. They also keep a close watch on all of their income and expenses.

7.Take responsibility for their finances. They always pay their bills on time, stay out of debt and have an emergency fund for the future. They also take responsibility for all aspects of their financial life instead of blaming others.

As you can see, it’s possible to save enough money to secure your future. Creating good saving habits will enhance your results. By making a few minor adjustments, you can watch your savings grow a lot sooner than you’ve imagined. Start creating a budget and savings plan today!

canstockphoto8857234Are you thinking of taking your relationship with your partner to the next level by Moving In Together?  This is indeed a big step to take in your relationship. It is also a big step in regards to sharing your finances.  Moving in together will most likely ease the burden on both of your wallets since the household expenses will be shared by both of you. When you plan in advance on how you will split the costs, things will go smoothly.

 

Running a household can get quite expensive. There are many factors that you should take into consideration.

 

Household Bills

 

Before you move in together, the first thing you need to do is to figure out whose name is going to be on the utility bills. This includes the lights, telephone, cable service, water and gas. If you decide that only one of you is going to be on the lease, then your name or your partner’s is going to be on the utility bills. On the other hand, the utility bills can be in either name if both of your names are on the lease.

Splitting the household costs in half is the usual way for married and unmarried couples alike to handle their finances. When the bills are due each month, you will both share all of the expenses or one of you will pay all of the bills while the other is responsible for the groceries and rental insurance (or homeowners insurance).  Make sure to keep the bills where both of you can gain access so that you can review them in order to keep track of your monthly expenses. Writing  this information on a sheet of paper, using a budgeting software program or app are other great options.

 

Bank Account

 

Some partners choose to open up a joint checking account for the main purpose of paying the bills. If you decide to set up a joint checking account, it is always best to have both of you to check with one another when it comes to handling the finances to prevent overspending. However, opening a joint bank account isn’t for everyone. If you are uncomfortable with this idea, then you should discuss alternative payment plans with your partner. You can always ask your partner for his or her share of the bills whenever the payment is due.

 

The only drawback to this is that the funds may not be readily available. If you don’t have the money on hand to cover your partner’s share, you will run the risk of paying late fees or worse, getting evicted. Another problem you can run into is having someone who has a bad habit not paying his or her portion of the expenses. This is why it’s important for both of you to have a clear understanding beforehand on how the bills will be paid to prevent these things from happening.

 

Allowing Others to Move In

There may be a time when friends and family members may fall on hard times and will ask to live with you for awhile. Before giving someone permission to move into your home, always ask your partner first, even if you think he or she will allow it. Remember this can also put a strain on a relationship.

Before moving into your home, let your new roommate know what expenses that she will be responsible for.  It is always best to have this in writing with both of your signatures.

 

Moving in together is a big step and requires planning when it comes to your finances.  Although, it is not required for you to combine your income with your partner, an adequate payment plan is needed to cover the mortgage/rent and other household expenses. If both of you work together on your finances, this will ensure that you’ll have a healthy and financial free relationship for years to come.

canstockphoto9157930According to the 2014 Financial Literacy Survey, conducted by the Harris Poll, 61% of Americans don’t use a budget. If you’re in this category, you will be glad to discover that creating a budget is a lot easier than you think. It’s also a good way to take more control over your finances.

Creating a budget has many benefits. You can make solid plans to achieve your financial goals and live the best life that you deserve by adopting a budget. A good budget is easy to follow, create sound financial habits and it will also leave a bit of room to have fun instead of feeling deprived of the things you enjoy.

 

Follow these simple steps to begin your journey of creating a budget that best works for you:

 

1. Identify your source of income. You’ll need to know the amount of your total income before you make a decision on how to save and spend your money. Get started by creating a list of all of your income and calculate the total amount. Also include how frequently you’re paid off.

The most common sources of income include the paycheck from your regular job and monthly alimony payments. If you’re making additional income such as a yard sale or a side hustle such as dog walking, make sure this information is also included.

 

2. List and categorize all of the expenses. When you’re creating your budget, make sure to carefully categorize all of your expenses. Consider what portion of your income you’re going to use for various types of expenses.

Many budgeting templates classify expenses in two categories: fixed and variable. Fixed expenses are those that regularly occur for a set amount. Insurance premiums, monthly rent/mortgage costs and car payments are examples of different types of fixed payments. Variable expenses take place at different times or for irregular amounts of money. It is really important for you to estimate the amount and timing of your variable expenses.

If you’re having difficulty setting aside a portion of your money for emergency savings or  achieving other financial goals, categorizing your expenses in terms of wants and needs can be very helpful.

A great way to save more of your money is to consider whether each expense is a true want or need. For instance, do you really need to have cable services, a cell phone or perhaps a pedicure? After you  make a decision on things that you can do without, reduce spending on the items that are only “wants.” This is a bit tougher than it sounds. For example, most of us know that food is a necessity in our everyday lives, but the type of food that we choose to purchase may reflect a want compared to an actual need.

 

3. Leave room in your budget to enjoy a lot of freedom. Staying on top of your budget will help you achieve a balance between your spending and saving habits. It also allows you to do things that you enjoy while taking better control of your finances.

 

4. Boost your income. Just as you are tracking your expenses and setting short and long-term financial goals, look for ways to make some extra money.

 

Getting a second job, using your skills to start a home-based business or selling items around the house that you’re no longer using are excellent ways to increase your income.

 

 5. Use budgeting tools. Writing out a budget can be a tedious or boring task. Using budgeting software programs can make it easier for you to automatically record and track all of your financial transactions.

 

6. Keep a close watch your budget. It’s common to experience changes in your finances over time. For this reason, it’s really important for you to review and adjust your budget on a regular basis.

Whenever you create a budget, keep in mind that the price of food, gas and household bills are constantly fluctuating and there may be changes in your financial goals such as buying a new home or car.
Creating a budget is very important to stay on top of your finances. Use these tips to build a realistic budget that will help you to reach your financial goals while enjoying your the things you love to do guilt free.

 

canstockphoto0941498

If you’re constantly left with a few bucks or a zero balance in your savings account, the way you’re handling your finances may be the blame. Unfortunately, you’re not alone in not achieving your financial goals. According to a recent June 2014 survey conducted by Bankrate.com, 75 percent of Americans have no savings and are living paycheck to paycheck. If you are currently in this situation, there are steps you can take to get your finances back on the right track.

Use these methods to stick to your budget and achieve all of your financial goals:

1. Refrain from impulse shopping. Resist the temptation of impulse shopping if it’s your weakness. When you go shopping for an item that you’ll need, take along a shopping list or a responsible friend with you to help you stick to your budget. Only purchase items that you have on the list.

Leave your credit and debit cards at home and only carry enough cash to pay for the items that you need. This will help you to save money at the cash register and also avoid paying interest charges.

2. Find out what causes you to overspend. For example, if you find that you’re always tempted to spend more money when you’ve had a difficult day, only go shopping when you are more relaxed.

3. Recognize what specific items are hard for you to resist. For instance, if there is a particular store or even a website where you have a habit of going over your budget, find a new location to shop. You can also avoid going to certain aisles in the store.

4. Get more organized. Use a new method to organize your important documents and receipts if the bills that you forget to pay seem to pop up after the payment is due. This behavior may have you paying unnecessary money for late fees and interest charges. These expenses can add up very quickly!

Place your bills in a place where you you can easily find it like a folder or binder. Remember to always pay your bills on time.

If you have any magazine or any other subscriptions that’s not being used, cancel it before they are auto renewed. You’ll be amazed about how much money you’re going to save.

5. Shop around for better rates. If you are satisfied with the services from your current service provider, do some comparison shopping anyway. Consider reviewing your expenses and search for ways to reduce the amount that you’re paying for services such as the cable, telephone and even your car insurance. Contact the provider, and ask if you will save money by bundling the services or cut back on features that you hardly ever use. Even though you may not receive a discount, it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

6. Nip your weaknesses in the bud. Review your expenses periodically and see if you can identify areas where you tend to overspend. The most challenging categories for most people are clothing, food, housing, entertainment and transportation. Once you’ve identified which category of expenses where you exceed your budget, seek ways to make smarter spending choices when you purchase things in this particular category.

Changing your spending habits can be very challenging. For example, if your rent or mortgage is taking over your budget, the only solution may be moving to a smaller home or a less expensive location.

7. Seek advice from a professional. If you are frequently going over the budget, seek help from a professional as soon as possible. Most financial planners and accountants offer helpful advice and you will also learn how to take control of your finances. There are lots of free and low cost advice on financial planning and budgeting online. You can also find these services that are provided by churches and local chamber of commerce in your area that offer free or low cost financial planning and credit counseling for their members.

Becoming aware of your spending habits and selecting a strategy to deal with it is the first step to reaching your financial goals. Stick to your budget and you will increase your savings before you know it.

 Page 1 of 8  1  2  3  4  5 » ...  Last »