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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 November 8, 2018

        How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

        How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

        After a few months of hard work and dozens of phone calls later, you finally land a job opportunity.

        But then, you’re asked about your salary requirements and your mind goes blank. So, you offer a lower salary believing this will increase your odds at getting hired.

        Unfortunately, this is the wrong approach.

        Your salary requirements can make or break your odds at getting hired. But only if you’re not prepared.

        Ask for a salary too high with no room for negotiation and your potential employer will not be able to afford you. Aim too low and employers will perceive as you offering low value. The trick is to aim as high as possible while keeping both parties feel happy.

        Of course, you can’t command a high price without bringing value.

        The good news is that learning how to be a high-value employee is possible. You have to work on the right tasks to grow in the right areas. Here are a few tactics to negotiate your salary requirements with confidence.

        1. Hack time to accomplish more than most

        Do you want to get paid well for your hard work? Of course you do. I hate to break it to you, but so do most people.

        With so much competition, this won’t be an easy task to achieve. That’s why you need to become a pro at time management.

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        Do you know how much free time you have? Not the free time during your lunch break or after you’ve finished working at your day job. Rather, the free time when you’re looking at your phone or watching your favorite TV show.

        Data from 2017 shows that Americans spend roughly 3 hours watching TV. This is time poorly spent if you’re not happy with your current lifestyle. Instead, focus on working on your goals whenever you have free time.

        For example, if your commute to/from work is 1 hour, listen to an educational Podcast. If your lunch break is 30 minutes, read for 10 to 15 minutes. And if you have a busy life with only 30–60 minutes to spare after work, use this time to work on your personal goals.

        Create a morning routine that will set you up for success every day. Start waking up 1 to 2 hours earlier to have more time to work on your most important tasks. Use tools like ATracker to break down which activities you’re spending the most time in.

        It won’t be easy to analyze your entire day, so set boundaries. For example, if you have 4 hours of free time each day, spend at least 2 of these hours working on important tasks.

        2. Set your own boundaries

        Having a successful career isn’t always about the money. According to Gallup, about 70% of employees aren’t satisfied with their current jobs.[1]

        Earning more money isn’t a bad thing, but choosing a higher salary over the traits that are the most important to you is. For example, if you enjoy spending time with your family, reject job offers requiring a lot of travel.

        Here are some important traits to consider:

        • Work and life balance – The last thing you’d want is a job that forces you to work 60+ hours each week. Unless this is the type of environment you’d want. Understand how your potential employer emphasizes work/life balance.
        • Self-development opportunities – Having the option to grow within your company is important. Once you learn how to do your tasks well, you’ll start becoming less engaged. Choose a company that encourages employee growth.
        • Company culture – The stereotypical cubicle job where one feels miserable doesn’t have to be your fate. Not all companies are equal in culture. Take, for example, Google, who invests heavily in keeping their employees happy.[2]

        These are some of the most important traits to look for in a company, but there are others. Make it your mission to rank which traits are important to you. This way you’ll stop applying to the wrong companies and stay focused on what matters to you more.

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        3. Continuously invest in yourself

        Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. Cliche I know, but true nonetheless.

        You’ll grow as a person and gain confidence with the value you’ll be able to bring to others. Investing in yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, you can read books to expand your knowledge in different fields.

        Don’t get stuck into the habit of reading without a purpose. Instead, choose books that will help you expand in a field you’re looking to grow. At the same time, don’t limit yourself to reading books in one subject–create a healthy balance.

        Podcasts are also a great medium to learn new subjects from experts in different fields. The best part is they’re free and you can consume them on your commute to/from work.

        Paid education makes sense if you have little to no debt. If you decide to go back to school, be sure to apply for scholarships and grants to have the least amount of debt. Regardless of which route you take to make it a habit to grow every day.

        It won’t be easy, but this will work to your advantage. Most people won’t spend most of their free time investing in themselves. This will allow you to grow faster than most, and stand out from your competition.

        4. Document the value you bring

        Resumes are a common way companies filter employees through the hiring process. Here’s the big secret: It’s not the only way you can showcase your skills.

        To request for a higher salary than most, you have to do what most are unwilling to do. Since you’re already investing in yourself, make it a habit to showcase your skills online.

        A great way to do this is to create your own website. Pick your first and last name as your domain name. If this domain is already taken, get creative and choose one that makes sense.

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        Here are some ideas:

        • joesmith.com
        • joeasmith.com
        • joesmithprojects.com

        Nowadays, building a website is easy. Once you have your website setup, begin producing content. For example, if you a developer you can post the applications you’re building.

        During your interviews, you’ll have an online reference to showcase your accomplishments. You can use your accomplishments to justify your salary requirements. Since most people don’t do this, you’ll have a higher chance of employers accepting your offer

        5. Hide your salary requirements

        Avoid giving you salary requirements early in the interview process.

        But if you get asked early, deflect this question in a non-defensive manner. Explain to the employer that you’d like to understand your role better first. They’ll most likely agree with you; but if they don’t, give them a range.

        The truth is great employers are more concerned about your skills and the value you bring to the company. They understand that a great employee is an investment, able to earn them more than their salary.

        Remember that a job interview isn’t only for the employer, it’s also for you. If the employer is more interested in your salary requirements, this may not be a good sign. Use this question to gauge if the company you’re interviewing is worth working for.

        6. Do just enough research

        Research average salary compensation in your industry, then wing it.

        Use tools like Glassdoor to research the average salary compensation for your industry. Then leverage LinkedIn’s company data that’s provided with its Pro membership. You can view a company’s employee growth and the total number of job openings.

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        Use this information to make informed decisions when deciding on your salary requirements. But don’t limit yourself to the average salary range. Companies will usually pay you more for the value you have.

        Big companies will often pay more than smaller ones.[3] Whatever your desired salary amount is, always ask for a higher amount. Employers will often reject your initial offer. In fact, offer a salary range that’ll give you and your employer enough room to negotiate.

        7. Get compensated by your value

        Asking for the salary you deserve is an art. On one end, you have to constantly invest in yourself to offer massive value. But this isn’t enough. You also have to become a great negotiator.

        Imagine requesting a high salary and because you bring a lot of value, employers are willing to pay you this. Wouldn’t this be amazing?

        Most settle for average because they’re not confident with what they have to offer. Most don’t invest in themselves because they’re not dedicated enough. But not you.

        You know you deserve to get paid well, and you’re willing to put in the work. Yet, you won’t sacrifice your most important values over a higher salary.

        The bottom line

        You’ve got what it takes to succeed in your career. Invest in yourself, learn how to negotiate, and do research. The next time you’re asked about your salary requirements, you won’t fumble.

        You’ll showcase your skills with confidence and get the salary you deserve. What’s holding you back now?

        Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

        Reference

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