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15 Money-Saving Hacks We Can All Learn From Our Mums

15 Money-Saving Hacks We Can All Learn From Our Mums

1. Make do and mend

My mum is a one for making weird tube tops and horribly unfashionable dresses (or sacks…) out of old sheets. Maybe you’re not a dab hand with a needle and thread but I bet you can cut your old jeans into a new pair of hawt to trawt shorts, eh? They look way more unique, no one else will be wearing them, you’ve saved an arm and a leg and you’ve been a green citizen, all in a stroke of the scissors.

2. Bulk buy

Remember rolling your eyes at the pack of 15 toilet rolls your mum stuffed into the car boot? Well you may be the new nutter on the block with your crate deliveries of 50 tins of beans, but you’ll have more money in your pocket and you’ll never be caught short on the loo again.

3. Just keep walking

Remember those endless journeys, Mum’s empty promises of ‘just around the corner’, the constant ‘are we there yet?’s as you trekked towards a destination that should have been a ten minute drive? These days, we jump on a tube for one stop on the line (it’s genuinely quicker just to walk down the road most of the time) and that’s an expensive trip. So get your free on and take a walk in your mum’s footsteps.

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4. Nom nom, time for some tasty leftovers

The phrase ‘waste not want not’ is a permanent motto in my mum’s kitchen and bread mould is no match for a sharp knife. There’s something to be said for leftovers, ladies and gents. Don’t throw them away – drag out your golden god pasta bakes and your meatilicious lasagnas for lunches and dinners all week long if you want to avoid the dreaded total on your supermarket receipt.

5. A little bit of Lidl

I think every mum has a soft spot for a bit of bargain hunting, an excitement overload when the shelf price is below a pound, and all mum’s are fools for 3for2s and half price deals. We all love those crazy German cereals, those big yellow prices on the shelves, the questionable vodka bottles for under £5 (it all tastes the same once you’ve added some fifty pence a litre cola). And I’m only exaggerating a little folks. Lidl is the place to save your pennies.

6. Share your baths

We’ve all screamed at our mums for plonking our naked siblings in the bath beside us in those long lost times of yore, but did she have it right? I know, we’re not in the Victorian times, but I mean come on, how dirty are you? Leave the bath in for your housemates or, hey, why not have a sexy naked night in with your partner? Either way, forget about those water bill nerves.

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7. Bodge it

My mum with a screwdriver is a scary sight – so why not provide some free entertainment, and potentially, if you’re really really lucky, a free fix, and do it yourself? Sometimes, the perfections lie in the imperfections (or maybe that’s just how I like to think of it…) But folks, if you can fix it yourself, do it – save money, make your house your home, have pride in your work. And if it all goes to hell, well, it’s a funny story for later.

8. Make friends

My mum happens to be very good at this one. The ex husband’s sister’s boyfriend of Mary wotsit down the road is a painter, and he’s doing the house on the cheap because good old Mum is such an old friend… kinda… Isn’t that nice of him? Isn’t that nice for your bank account, too?

9. Show some self-restraint

Now this is a quality my mum entirely lacks, and hence the lesson that has stuck with me the hardest. When your mum comes home with a new handbag every day, a different pair of boots in a slightly different shade of black to the last pair, it’s all alarm bells that echo way into your adult life. Don’t throw your money away.

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10. Grow your own

Maybe your mum’s not as hipster as mine, but a herb box is always part of her garden. And it always saves us on ingredients. Grow your own veg and herbs and never go without again – it’s always economical when you can sustain yourself. Bear Grylls style, eh?

11. Pay your belongings some respect

My mum is always gasping when I drop my phone (which happens a few times a day) and rarely lends me her stuff (I wonder why…) She treats her books like prized artifacts, refusing to throw any away (EVER) and has trinkets and earrings that have survived even the eighties (a feat in itself). Unlike half of my friends, she will never, ever leave her phone in a taxi. And this will save her lots of money (oh how we have all learnt that the hard way…)

12. Manage your own books

It’s definitely a mum thing – a little notebook with numbers scribbled all over. Yours can be a spreadsheet on Excel but my mum will always be a pen and paper gal. She notes down every single transaction she makes and checks the figures against her bank statement. Good luck, fraudsters and con artists. My mum is on your case.

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13. A holiday is only a click, another click and a few hundred more websites away

Research can be key to saving your pennies. My savvy mother has trawled the internet for the cheapest getaways many a time. There’s a World Wide Web out there, folks, full of comparison sites and Google Shopping pages (sort by lowest price first? Yes please). So don’t splash out on the first thing you see, follow Mum’s virtual footsteps and do your research.

14. Be generous

This one may seem counterproductive, but mums everywhere will preach the same old pearls of wisdom: you get back what you put in. Help a friend in need with a cash loan and you never know how grateful they’ll be a few years down the line. Invest a large sum across companies and you could earn some impressive profits. Life’s a lottery so let’s give it all we’ve got.

15. Don’t forget that the best things in life are free

If my mum taught me anything, it was not to worry about money. Go for a picnic if you can’t afford a big meal. Enjoy the little things in life and remember – you can always make more money. It’s those memories rather than the pounds that will keep you going when you’re old and grey, and remembering all that sound advice your dear mum passed on. So thanks for all the help, my wise old ma, who has never cost me a single penny but is worth a million and more.

Featured photo credit: Compfight via static.flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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