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5 Budgeting Tips That You Should Never Miss

5 Budgeting Tips That You Should Never Miss

Who doesn’t want to feel more comfortable, less stressed out and be able to afford occasional luxuries, like travel, gadgets or some nice clothes?

Your finances can impact all areas of life, and can even put an unnecessary strain on your love life, so it is a good idea to learn a few useful things about effective budgeting. Living within one’s means isn’t all that difficult, nor does it require huge sacrifices – you just need to be realistic, ambitious and motivated to make some positive changes. Let’s look at some practical examples of things you can do to put a rein on your finances and start being more strategic with your spending.

1. Focus on prevention rather than the cure when it comes to maintenance costs

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Car broke down

    You see people do this with their health, their home and their car – they neglect regular maintenance and make do, until the moment something goes terribly wrong and they are forced to remedy the problem quickly. The problem here is that if you allow a small problem to grow out of control, you can end up spending a whole lot of money trying to fix it.

    Let’s say your car is chugging along just fine, but you’re not the first owner and have had it for a while. You may notice small problems creeping in if you just do some regular car maintenance, like replacing worn down parts, changing the oil and having a general checkup from time to time. These principles can be applied to any aspect of life – regular maintenance is a huge money-saver in the long run.

    2. Make sure to pay yourself for all the hard work you do

    Sometimes finding a bit of extra money in your budget that you can stash away is just a matter of perspective. Don’t see it as taking some money away from a salary that already has to cover plenty of expenses, think of it as paying yourself for the amazing job you do every single day. As financially savvy people have pointed out before, establishing that your comfort and financial security are a priority makes it easier to justify saving a decent part of your total income.

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    It can be as simple as taking about 5% of your income off the top as soon as you get your paycheck and putting it in a savings account. You can make such payments automatic, which is easier than always trying to resist temptations, and you can slowly increase the amount you set aside as you get more experienced with managing your budget.

    3. When you need something done, do it yourself

    Home repairs

      While certain goods and services are fairly complex and well beyond our own skill level, with many things paying top dollar is more about convenience than anything else. If you buy in bulk, look for sales and cook your own food you can save a substantial amount of money, but it will require some effort on your part.

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      In the same vein, if you devote some of your time and energy towards developing some basic DIY skills, you can take a few fairly inexpensive supplies and make whatever you need. Taking the time to learn how to do some basic repairs yourself is also a good idea. Creating a small monthly DIY budget allows you to stock up on supplies and tools needed for all the crafting and repairs you’ll be doing.

      4. Keep your monthly budget flexible and you won’t break the bank

      Now, as far as your income, in a majority of cases it stays the same throughout the year or is at least fairly consistent. This means that you either have to make some more on the side or rearrange your finances from month to month to face new challenges or afford certain luxuries without having to dip into your emergency fund or stall your savings.

      The simplest way of going about it is to do some budget fine tuning – e.g. if you want to buy a new TV or a fancy pair of shoes, you may have to eat out a couple of times less. Some expenses pop up every two or three months and some are seasonal, so you will have to divert funds from other areas during those periods.  The story of John Steinert, a man in his mid-twenties who is just about to pay off all his student loans and is on a good track to retiring before sixty, shows that you can manage to live comfortably while saving, just as long as you have a good plan and keep things flexible.

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      5. Expect the unexpected costs

      Injured Piggy Bank WIth Crutches

        Last, but certainly not the least, you have to have some kind of buffer, which allows you cover unexpected costs without needing to take out a loan or raid your primary savings account. As we already noted, regular maintenance costs should be covered by your monthly budget – e.g. problems with your car’s engine or a serious case of mold in the attic fall under maintenance costs as they are something you should expect to deal with from time to time.

        Unexpected costs include things like a long hospital stay due to injury, a friend announcing that he or she is getting married out of the bloom, theft, your phone falling down a flight of stairs and breaking, etc. Chances of things like this happening are not that high, but there are plenty of little things that can go horribly wrong, and you need an emergency fund separate from your main savings account to help you deal with these problems as painlessly as possible.

        Applying these tips in your day-to-day life will help you cover the broad strokes of your financial planning, but it is ultimately up to you to set priorities and fine tune your budget. With a bit of luck, you’ll be well on your way to achieving financial stability in the next couple of years.

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        Ivan Dimitrijevic

        SEO Consultant

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        Published on July 4, 2018

        Top 10 Recommendations on Money Management Apps

        Top 10 Recommendations on Money Management Apps

        Don’t want to overspend your budget, swipe your credit card too many times, and feel like a financial mess? Instead of beating yourself up for the bad financial decisions you’ve ever made, create a new plan!

        The solution is simple, save more and spend less. But, we all know it’s easier said than done.

        One problem is finding quality apps that save you time and money, and aren’t just hype.

        Luckily, there’re many great money management apps available at your fingertips. Here are 10 reliable money management apps that can help you save money, and crush debt.

        1. Personal Capital

          When was the last time you’ve tracked your net worth? Probably months ago or maybe never. Personal Capital allows you to easily track your net worth and plan for retirement.

          Here are some of its main features:

          • Sync many investment accounts, and expenses (mortgage, credit cards, etc.) in one place
          • Discover hidden fees and how much they’re affecting your retirement plan
          • Wealth management for investors requiring a long-term strategy

          With Personal you’re free to track your expenses and net worth.

          Available for: iOS and Android

          2. Mint

            If your smartphone could only install a few apps, Mint would be one of them. Why? Because Mint tracks all your balances and bills in one place.

            Here are some of its main features:

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            • Effortlessly track all your bills and balances in one dashboard
            • Categorized expenses to understand where you spend your money
            • Uncover hidden fees, and determine your investment style with sophisticated retirement tools.

            Feel at ease with managing your money by a reputable company that isn’t going anywhere.

            Available for: iOS and Android

            3. YNAB

              Everyone needs a budget, there’s no way around it. YNAB (You Need A Budget) is an easy to use app that will change the way you think about money. Their motto is to “give every dollar a job”, and you’ll quickly discover why.

              Here are some of its main features:

              • Easily sync all bank accounts in one place
              • Visually see your debt paying progress with eye-catching charts and notifications
              • Customized categories setting saving goals

              The best part about YNAB is the community that comes along with it. You can hop on the YNAB forum to receive support, listen to the YNAB Podcast or stay tuned for their weekly videos.

              Available for: iOS and Android

              4. Wealthfront

                Albert Einstein once said “compound interest is the eight wonder in the world”, and for a very good reason. The problem is, most people are scared or unwilling to learn the basics of investing. This is why Wealthfront is the perfect solution for the hands-off investors.

                Here are some of its main features:

                • Variety of investment account options including IRA, Roth IRA, and more
                • Your portfolio composed of 7 different asset classes
                • Automatically rebalanced portfolio
                • Daily tax loss harvesting

                Wealthfront is perfect for people requiring investment guidance, or prefer a hands-off solution.

                Available for: iOS and Android

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                5. Clarity Money

                  If you’re staying on top of your budget but want to take your finances to the next level, Clarity Money can help you. Clarity Money helps you stay under budget and build a personalized savings plan.

                  Here are some of its main features:

                  • Easily cancel subscriptions with one click
                  • Synchronize bank accounts fast
                  • Transfer money effortlessly between different accounts

                  Clarity Money isn’t an app that does it all. But, it does make transferring money and canceling subscriptions fast and efficient.

                  Available for: iOS and Android

                  6. Acorns

                    What if there was a way to quickly gain confidence in investing your money, without too much risk? There is, and Acorns is your solution. With Acorns’s technology, you’re able to make investments as small as $5.

                    Here are some of its main features:

                    • Automatic contribution option
                    • Customized portfolio tailored to your needs
                    • Low management fees ranging from $1-$2 per month

                    Stop wasting dollars on expensive coffee. Instead, invest them towards a brighter financial future.

                    Available for: iOS and Android

                    7. Albert

                      Do you budget by only subtracting your expenses from your income? If so, how would you discover any overpayments or extra money you could save? This is where Albert shines, and it does it all free.

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                      Here are some of its main features:

                      • Receive notifications for overpayments, hidden fees, and low balances
                      • An Automatic budget that’s built around your spending and income
                      • Easily track debt and set new financial goals

                      While Albert does offer a paid option, most of its core features are FREE. So, what better option to save?

                      Available for: iOS

                      8. Prism

                        Have you recently forgot to pay a bill because life got in the way? Prism automatically tracks your bills and syncs your bank accounts in one place.

                        Here are some of its main features:

                        • View all your account balances in one glance
                        • Bill due dates are automatically pulled and tracked
                        • Receive early reminders for upcoming bills

                        If your budget is on “fleek” but can’t seem to stay on top of your bills, Prism is your go-to app.

                        Available for: iOS, Android, Windows, Amazon

                        9. Mvelopes

                          Remember hearing about people using envelopes to budget their money? Well, Mvelopes is the new envelope system for this generation. Easily create monthly budgets and track your saving goals.

                          Here are some of its main features:

                          • Connect unlimited bank accounts
                          • Real-time budgeting with auto transaction syncing
                          • Low monthly $4 fee or $40 annual

                          Mvelopes can help you crush debt, save more, and help you stop overspending. With its low monthly fee, it’s worth a try.

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                          Available for: iOS and Android

                          10. Wallaby

                            Most people don’t have time to track their credit card’s changing rewards and interest rates. Because of this, you need help reaping the most of your credit card’s rewards. Wallaby is the app that will help you do just that.

                            Here are some of its main features:

                            • Automatic recommendations for the best credit card to use for each transaction
                            • A friendly user interface, displaying credit cards with their corresponding images
                            • Free to use

                            If you’re using the same credit card to make your purchases, you may be leaving money on the table. Give Wallaby a try if you’re ready to maximize your credit card’s rewards.

                            Available for: iOS and Android

                            Take control of your finances and experience financial freedom

                            Picture yourself staying on budget and saving more money than you’d ever imagined.

                            It took hard work and dedication but you’d finally learned how to manage your money. You have to start taking control of your spending and saving habits.

                            You now have a list of reliable apps that can help you build better money habits, what are you waiting for?

                            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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