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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

        Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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        Last Updated on July 4, 2019

        25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

        25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

        Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless.

        Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent free online education awaits on the following 25 sites.

        1. Coursera

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          Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.

          Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education, and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.

          Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups.

          2. Khan Academy

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            Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.

            Among the more well known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly useable, which may make it easier to keep learning goals.

            3. Open Culture Online Courses

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              If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos and podcasts from universities around the world. The site features a lot of material found only on universities private sites, all in easy to browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses, without having to visit and search each university’s own site.

              Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales and many state universities around the United States. A very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

              4. Udemy 

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                Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

                Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top quality content. This is another site however, that mixes free and paid content.

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                5. Academic Earth

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                  Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources, and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects.

                  Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

                  6. edX

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                    Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics.

                    7. Alison

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                      Unlike the previous sites on this lists, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.

                      It’s a great option if users need certification for their learning as Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

                      8. iTunesU Free Courses

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                        A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod, or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app.

                        Desktop users can access  iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes.

                        Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos, and paid content.

                        ITunesU does include courses on a pretty wide scope of topics, but does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

                        9. Stanford Online

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                          Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.

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                          Stanford Online is a great site for high quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school.

                          10. Harvard Extension

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                            Like Stanford Online, Harvard Extension features free online education courses from Harvard only. This is another excellent source for top notch course material, though the course variety is less rich than multi-school sites.

                            Additionally, Harvard Extension allows you to search for courses by professional certificate. This makes it much easier if your online education goal includes certification.

                            11. Open Yale Courses

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                              Open Yale Courses echoes Harvard Extension and Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses, but learn better by watching than by reading.

                              12. UC Berkeley Class Central

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                                Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

                                13. MIT OpenCourseWare

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                                  Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, plus includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

                                  14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

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                                    Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list, however, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics. But for the topics that are covered impressive, in-depth material is available.

                                    15. Codecademy

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                                      Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material.

                                      The courses at Codecademy are well written and easy to follow and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, plus organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

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                                      16. Code

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                                        Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids.

                                        In addition to kid friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics and Javascript.

                                        Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

                                        17. University of London Podcasts

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                                          The podcast page on the University of London website is another great source for free education. While the courses are limited to podcasts, the site features podcasts from it’s own campus, as well as eleven universities in and around London. This gives learners a wide base of topics and lectures, but still ensures in-depth material.

                                          18. University of Oxford Podcasts

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                                            Similar to the University of London, the University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available.

                                            The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. Another good site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

                                            19. BBC Podcasts

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                                              For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly, and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events.

                                              Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

                                              20. TED-Ed

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                                                Another great destination for more general learning is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all encompassing, motivational web series, comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.

                                                Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

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                                                21. LessonPaths

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                                                  LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

                                                  22. Memrise

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                                                    Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content.

                                                    Part of what makes Memrise special is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

                                                    23. National Geographic Kids

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                                                      The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keeps kids interested on this site.

                                                      National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

                                                      24. Fun Brain

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                                                        Fun Brain is another good option for kids who want to learn online, but focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention.

                                                        Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

                                                        25. Whyville

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                                                          Similar to the sites for kids free online education is Whyville a destination for preteen online learning. The site includes a variety of social features, with a focus on learning materials geared for young teens.

                                                          Whyville also mixes in educational games, to make the site a well rounded option for kids too old for simple games, but too young for heavy reading based material.

                                                          More About Online Learning

                                                          Featured photo credit: Dai KE via unsplash.com

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