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30 Budget Backyard DIY Ideas That Will Make Your Neighbors Jealous

30 Budget Backyard DIY Ideas That Will Make Your Neighbors Jealous

The idea of DIY has changed considerably in recent times, both inside and outside of the home. Creative thinking and the rise of online video tutorials have enabled home-owners to revamp their properties and make their homes look luxurious (for example), even if they are operating on a tight budget. This creates an even playing field throughout society. Now, even modest homes can be transformed into picturesque abodes.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the some examples of affordable, low budget backyard DIY ideas that will optimize your outdoor space. Consider the following options to make your neighbors jealous.

1. Create Grand and Innovative Outdoor lighting using Solar Power

Even if you are unfamiliar with how solar energy works, this technology offers a sustainable way of lighting the exterior of your home. With this in mind, consider replacing all outdoor bulbs with solar lights. Place this in a waterproof frame or case that can be hung from a tree or the facade of your home. If you use a simple wooden case, be sure to treat this with a suitable and protective varnish.

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    2. Install Exterior Mirrors to Create the Illusion of Space in your Garden

    While this may sound odd, clean and simple mirrors can be strategically placed in your garden to create the illusion of space. Whether you want to use interior mirrors or create a product that has been recycled from old windows is unimportant, as long as you fit them securely and position them in a way that makes your back garden appear bigger in size.

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      3. Create Mirrored Lawn Ornaments Using Looking Glass Spray-Paint

      On a similar note, you can also create an eclectic array of garden ornaments using looking glass spray-paint. Simply select ornaments of various sizes and shapes and apply two coats of the paint. Leave them outside to dry overnight, before giving them pride of place in your garden.

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        4. Make a Multi-Person Swing

        Here’s another breathtakingly simple idea. It is possible to take a pallet and some discarded rope to create a functional, multi-purpose swing. Pallets can be sourced for free from local warehouses or supermarkets. Brand new lengths of rope can be purchased for a nominal fee of between $5 and $15, depending on the size. You can then secure the rope to each corner of the pallet. Remember to ensure that it is hung safely from a sturdy tree branch.

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          5. Coat Planters and Plant Pots with Glow in the Dark Paint

          Whether you are an avid gardener or not, most households have access to large planters or smaller scale plant pots. Furniture brand IKEA stores even sell basic plant pots for as little as $1. You can transform these into affordable and sustainable night lights using glow-in-the-dark paint. The whole project can cost as little as $5 to add a definite wow factor to your garden.

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            6. Use Wooden Stakes and Material to Create Outdoor Lounge Hammocks

            Hammocks offer an ideal resting place during the summer. Homemade versions can be easily be made using wooden stakes and your material of choice. Simply take your wooden stakes and fix them securely in the ground, using a total of four to create a triangular shape. Then take your material, like recycled nylon hammocks or simply use discarded bed sheets, and attach them to the stakes to create three individual resting places.

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              7. Fashion a Makeshift Splash Pad Using Tarp and a Spinkler

              If you have a garden slide but are struggling to find a suitable landing space, you can create an effective splash pad using some tarp and a sprinkler. Tarp can be purchased for up to $20, depending on the precise area of material that you require. If you do not have sprinklers in your garden, you can achieve the same effect with an outdoor hose and running water.

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                8. Take Glow-in-the-Dark Necklaces and Bracelets and Create a Fun Outdoor Game

                Those long summer nights are ideal for outdoor entertainment. They also offer you an opportunity to develop a host of fun, interactive and creative games. If you want to challenge your kids to a few evening rounds of ring toss, for example, you can create this by fixing a wooden stake or metal pole in the ground while using glow-in-the-dark bracelets and necklaces to pitch.

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                  9. Create a Waterproof Frame filled with Flat Stones to Wash your Feet after Frolicking

                  Frolicking outdoors can create mess, and the last thing you want to do is tread this back into your house. So after a day playing with your children or gardening, why not rinse off your feet and hands outdoors with a DIY frame? Simply craft a wooden box and coat it in waterproof sealant before filling it with flat stones and placing it near your back door. You can then wash using a fresh water supply, while also giving your feet or hands a smooth massage.

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                    10. Paint the stones in your garden

                    While stones may seem like mundane garden objects, they often have smooth surfaces that are receptive to paint and color. This offers you a unique opportunity to infuse your garden space with brights shades and hues. You apply block colors or mix it up and paint intricate patterns. So long as each stone is painted as part of an overall vision and theme, you can create a colorful aesthetic that will be the envy of your neighbors.

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                      11. Spray-Paint Metal Outdoor Chairs for Outdoor Entertaining

                      Most of us own at least one or a handful of metal garden chairs, which tend to rust or deteriorate over time. They can be refreshed easily and cheaply, however, simply by spray-painting them in your choice of colors. Don’t forget the importance of a suitable and purposeful spray-paint. Rustoleum primer and Krylon are amongst the best for this particular task.

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                        12. Use Toilet Paper to Fashion Effective Seed Paper

                        Growing colorful plants and flowers remains the best way of embellishing your garden space, but it can be expensive to ensure that they achieve their full potential. You can use toilet paper to fashion cheap and effective seed paper, however. The tissues help to absorb moisture and space out smaller seeds, such as carrots or smaller vegetables. Considering how cheap toilet paper is, this can help you to save money without compromising on the look of your garden.

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                          13. Place Diapers in the Bottom of your Plant Pots

                          Interestingly, toilet paper is not the only money saving tip that can help you to effectively grow your plants. By placing diapers at the bottom of your plant pots, you can ensure that your plants retain their moisture and look fresher for longer. This will improve the overall look of your garden without forcing you to spend outside of your means.

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                            14. Repurpose your Tree Stumps

                            Tree stumps are often considered in a negative light, although they can be creatively re-purposed to create a unique garden feature. Simply by placing and securing plywood or oak over the top of an exposed tree stump, you can create a functional table for little or no cost. Alternatively, you can decorate a stump in attractive summer flowers or moss to create a unique exterior adornment.

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                              15. Use Exterior Latex Floor Paint to Bring your Patio to Life

                              The concrete tiles on your patio are an often overlooked aspect of your garden, but typically they can present a dull and faded aesthetic. You can correct this with a single tin of exterior latex floor paint. This will add color to your patio, while giving the surface tough and long-lasting protection. Be sure to apply two coats, and use non-glare paint to create a low level of sheen.

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                                16. Invest in Low Cost Rope Lighting to Line the Boundary of your Garden

                                Available online from sites such as Amazon, rope lighting is sold in fixed lengths. Consumers can usually purchase up to ten meters for as little as $30. This is waterproof and can be used to line the boundary of your garden, creating a chain of light that illuminates the space at light. You can even put it on an automated timer. You can also use ropes as dividers to separate the rope from the lawn or decking.

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                                  17. Integrated a Beer Cooler into your Patio Table

                                  If you want to add functionality to a stylish patio table, you should look to integrate a beer cooler into the surface. This is easy enough to do if your table is manufactured from a thick material such as oak. You can simply hollow out a small, rectangular section of the surface and line this with a standard cooler. Then add some ice and store your beers inside during summer barbecues and parties.

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                                    18. Use Part of a Dismantled Trampoline as a Makeshift Diving Board

                                    Sometimes, the best DIY ideas can be created free of charge using existing household items. If you have ever owned a trampoline, for example, you will know that this is a product sold in single parts that need to be fitted together to create the finished product. By taking the surface of the trampoline, you can align it with your pool to create a safe and makeshift diving board. If you do not own a trampoline, simply head online and buy a flat jumping mat for between $50 and $60.

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                                      19. Create an Outdoor Shower Using just a Hose and Homemade Rigging

                                      As recent reports concerning the dangers of radioactive exports from Japan prove, the U.S. and European nations are fortunate to enjoy an uncontaminated supply of water and food. If you want to capitalize on this to turn your garden into a makeshift campsite for the summer, you can use a standard hose and a ladder to create an outdoor shower. The hose itself will connect to an outdoor water supply. The ladder can be made with tree branches to create secure rigging.

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                                        20. Use Decorative Sheets to Create a Colorful Canopy

                                        Similarly, you do not need to invest in a high quality and expensive tent to make the most of the summer weather. These products cost a great deal as they are designed to resist wind, rain and adverse elements. Remember these properties are not an issue during warmer periods. So to reduce the cost of your homemade camp site, simply take decorative and colorful bed sheets and suspend them over a secured wash line to create a unique canopy.

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                                          21. Build a Wooden Bar and Drawstring Cover to Form an Outdoor Bar

                                          Whether you are relaxing or working in your garden, there is always a pressing need for liquid refreshments. To this end, why not create a basic wooden bar that can house your favorite tipples and a selection of glasses? You will simply need to construct a basic, wall-mounted shelving unit and easily attach this securely to an exterior wall. Then add a drawstring door using two pieces of rope. This way you can keep the bar closed when necessary and also provide a flat service to pour beverages.

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                                            22. Use Discarded Pallets to Create Additional and Diverse Seating

                                            We spoke earlier in the article about how full-size pallets could be used to create a multi-person swing in the garden. Discarded pallets also have additional purposes, as they can be sawed or cut into segments to create additional seats of various shapes and sizes. Simply use a wood-cutting tool to create the desired shape and number of seats. Then you just need to add some cushions so you can sit and relax.

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                                                  23. Install a Chalkboard Outside to Create a Multi-purpose Play Area

                                                  Rather than creating extravagant solutions to embellish your garden, you can sometimes make simple additions that will revolutionize the space and drastically improve the layout. Simply by buying a $20 chalkboard and securing it to a fence, for example, you can turn your garden into a recreational area with multiple dimensions where children can express their creativity. It can also serve as a positive focal point for their interaction and activity.

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                                                    24. Develop Dens and Play Pods from Shower Curtains and Hula Hoops

                                                    In terms of creating an interactive and fun space where children can play, it is important to offer them a colorful den or hide away. This can be created extremely cheaply, simply by suspending hula hoops from a tree branch using string. Then attach a shower rail using clips to the perimeter of the hoop. Now your children have a play pod that they can make their own. These can even be decorated to embellish them further.

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                                                      25. Build a Simple Table that Opens out from the Fence

                                                      Have you ever been hosting a barbecue and found it difficult to rest your beer while also cooking the meet? To solve and other garden issues, why not create a foldaway table that is connected to one of your fence panels? All you need is a flat piece of plywood (or preferably treated lumber) to act as the surface, and a set of hinges that are to be attached to the fence. Then you have a convenient table that can be used as and when you choose.

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                                                        26. Add Steel Pipe Edging Around the Perimeter of your Garden

                                                        When creating your garden layout, you may want to section off any designated planting areas. This can be done simply using discarded steel piping, which is cut into sections of a desired size using bench sheers. These pieces of pipe are then inserted into the ground and filled with soil, in which you are able to plant smaller seeds and succulents. If you are not keen on the rustic look, be sure to treat your pipes first using a colored primer.

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                                                          27. Offer Birds Comfortable and Colorful Nesting Materials

                                                          Birdhouses add a loving touch to any home exterior, but you can also create structures that add color and character. With this in mind, you can buy colorful yarn in bulk for a pittance and add it to your birdhouse or station. Gathering birds will then take this and use it in their nearby nests, adding dashes of color and hue to various areas of the garden. This is also a good way to reuse any excess yarn that you may have in the home.

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                                                            28. Create Tiki Torches for Illuminating the Garden

                                                            With an emphasis on creating variable shades of sustainable light, the construction of tiki torches offer an affordable and innovative solution. Simply take a clean empty wine bottle, add a tiki torch refill wick, a dash of citronella lamp oil, and a metal washer to hold your components in place. Then place them in elevated spaces throughout the garden and embellish them with flowers, decorative petals or moss.

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                                                              29. Turn Discarded Keys into a Stunning Wind Chime

                                                              If you have ever moved home or changed locks, you will find that your house is littered with useless and discarded keys. These can be put to use in your back garden, as they have the potential to be combined and turned into a stunning wind chime. Simply gather your keys and color them with primer. Now they’re ready to be hung up. Use yarn and attach them to a large branch. You can also choose to paint your chosen branch using an acrylic shade of choice, so long as this is part of a wider color scheme.

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                                                                30. Construct a Stream in your Backyard

                                                                While the sound of running water is restful and comforting, not everyone is fortunate enough to have a stream or brook in their garden. You can fashion a man-made stream in your backyard, by applying a little elbow grease and creative thinking. Simply dig a shallow trench that meanders through your garden space. Make sure to avoid any utility lines before bordering this with discarded wood or steel pipes. You should also construct the stream on a downhill slope, which will aid the natural flow of water. Then gather rocks, stones and other decorative elements of your choice to complete the project.

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                                                                  Last Updated on August 20, 2019

                                                                  How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                                                                  How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                                                                  Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

                                                                  In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

                                                                  5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

                                                                  Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

                                                                  1. Be Clear About the Objectives

                                                                  Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

                                                                  It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

                                                                  Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

                                                                  2. Keep Them Realistic

                                                                  It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

                                                                  It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

                                                                  3. Account for Inflation

                                                                  Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

                                                                  Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

                                                                  For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

                                                                  4. Short Term vs Long Term

                                                                  Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

                                                                  As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

                                                                  More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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                                                                  5. To Each to His Own

                                                                  The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

                                                                  It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

                                                                  By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

                                                                  11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

                                                                  Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

                                                                  • Ensuring healthy savings
                                                                  • Making smart investments

                                                                  You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

                                                                  Ensuring Healthy Savings

                                                                  Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

                                                                  This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

                                                                  1. Track Expenses

                                                                  The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

                                                                  Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

                                                                  2. Pay Yourself First

                                                                  Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

                                                                  Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

                                                                  The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

                                                                  Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

                                                                  3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

                                                                  Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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                                                                  Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

                                                                  At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

                                                                  Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

                                                                  You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

                                                                  4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

                                                                  Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

                                                                  If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

                                                                  Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

                                                                  All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

                                                                  5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

                                                                  In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

                                                                  Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

                                                                  Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

                                                                  If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

                                                                  If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

                                                                  So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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                                                                  6. Talk About It

                                                                  Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

                                                                  Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

                                                                  7. Maintain a Journal

                                                                  For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

                                                                  So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

                                                                  Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

                                                                  When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

                                                                  At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

                                                                  Making Smart Investments

                                                                  Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

                                                                  8. Consult a Financial Advisor

                                                                  Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

                                                                  Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

                                                                  9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

                                                                  Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

                                                                  Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

                                                                  Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

                                                                  It is here where that classification will help.

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                                                                  So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

                                                                  10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

                                                                  Einstein once remarked about compounding,

                                                                  Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

                                                                  So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

                                                                  Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

                                                                  11. Measure, Measure, Measure

                                                                  All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

                                                                  If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

                                                                  If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

                                                                  Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

                                                                  The Bottom Line

                                                                  This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

                                                                  As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

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